Friday, February 14, 2014

I am becoming… unnameable


Eric Delcroix, my former lawyer, has just reminded me that the late humorist Pierre Desproges (1939-1988), in a skit for the television show “Le Tribunal des flagrants délires” (The Court of in flagrante delirio), once portrayed me as an unnameable character, unnameable at least for the French justice system. Announcing the accused’s appearance, the court usher let forth: “Mr Faurisson!”, whereupon the presiding judge sprang: “No, not that name! It’s forbidden!”

But that was only a comedy skit.

Most recently, French judicial reality has become stranger than fiction.

According to an AFP press release, on Wednesday, February 12, 2014, in a case brought against him by the union of Jewish students of France (UEJF), the humorist Dieudonné was ordered to remove two passages from his new year’s eve video “2014 sera l’année de la quenelle” (2014 will be the year of the quenelle), posted on his YouTube account and viewable at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hpEd9negE4.

Here is an extract:

The Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris considered in particular that one of the passages constituted a “disputing of crimes against humanity”.

In his video Dieudonné says to a character [in fact, addressing Arno Klarsfeld]: “Myself, the gas chambers, I don’t know anything about them. If you really want, I can arrange you a meet-up with Robert”, alluding to the Holocaust-denying historian Robert Faurisson. In a suit submitted to it “en référé” (emergency procedure), the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris held that this passage was a “disputing of crimes against humanity”.

A fine of 500 euros per day

In his ruling the judge considered that “the humour invoked by Dieudonné’s defence appears to be but the means of publicly conveying beliefs in testing the limits of the freedom of expression, exceeded in the case at hand, and not the spirit of a comical and provocative skit whose excesses might be allowed”.
 
The decision imposes on Dieudonné a fine of 500 euros per day of delay in withdrawing either of the passages after five days from service of the ruling (AFP).


So here I am, deprived of a surname and even of a Christian name.

Desproges saw rightly. Orwell too. 

February 14, 2014