Mayor of Paris gives segregated black festival a thumbs up
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, announced in a series of tweets that a "clear solution was established" regarding the organisation of the Afro-feminist festival Nyansapo, banning whites from participating: It would continue banning whites.
Published: May 31, 2017, 9:24 am
This week Hiladgo declared apartheid, saying that that the all-black workshops would go ahead anyway: “The festival organised in a public place will be open to all. Non-mixed workshops will be held elsewhere, in a strictly private setting.”
The mayor has called for a black feminist festival to be banned earlier because she said it was prohibited to white people.
A “compromise” was found in segregation after the “firm intervention yesterday [Sunday] with the organisers”. But the Mwasi collective explained soon after that the segregation had in fact been planned since the beginning.
The Mwasi collective, which organised the afro-feminist event, was caustic in their response: “So, basically, our original program has absolutely not changed. We are now awaiting a formal communiqué from the Paris City Council, and a public apology,” the members of the association told Twitter.
Hidalgo on Sunday had called for the Nyansapo Festival in the French capital to be postponed, which is due to run from July 28 to 30 at a government sponsored cultural centre.
The event was promoted as “rooted in black feminism, activism, and on a European scale”, and 80 percent of the festival area will be set aside as a segregated “non-mixed” space “for black women only” according to its French website.
The English version of the site does not use the word “non-mixed” but translated the racial apartheid with “reserved”.
Hidalgo, a Socialist, had said on Twitter that she “firmly condemned” the organisation “of this event, prohibited to white people” and added that she reserved the right “to prosecute the organisers for discrimination”. It turned out to be a completely empty threat.
Police prefect Michel Delpuech said in a statement that police had not been advised about the event by Sunday evening.
SOS Racisme described the event as “a mistake, even an abomination, because it wallows in ethnic separation, whereas anti-racism is a movement which seeks to go beyond race”.
The Mwasi collective was founded in 2014 by a group of African women and mixed race people who felt the need to express their views related to “oppressions” related to class, gender, sexuality or religion.
Of the four distinct spaces, three are reserved for black women, black people, and “racialised” women.
Not only SOS Racisme and the Licra were indignant at the separatist principles, but also the Front National had questioned the mayor of Paris about this “festival forbidden to whites”.
The Afro-feminist collective Mwasi denounced the complaints as “a campaign of disinformation and fake news orchestrated by the most outdated extreme right”.
They added: “We are saddened to see some anti-racist associations let themselves be manipulated. They find themselves paradoxically on the side of racists to stigmatize those who pragmatically advocate for the values of equality and respect.” The collective published the added text on Sunday on its site.
It is not the first time that such apartheid and segregation made the news in France. In 2016, the organisation of a “decolonial summer camp” in Reims had promoted a “training seminar on anti-racism”, reserved for victims of what they called “state racism”, excluding white people.
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