In January 1977, Gabriel Matzneff published in both Le Monde and Libération – two “respectable” French dailies – a petition defending sexual relations between adults and children.
The text had, at the time, been signed by personalities like Simone de Beauvoir, Louis Aragon, Roland Barthes or Bernard Kouchner. French weekly magazine Le Point questioned the latter on the matter and his defense was quite astounding.
“His petition? But I haven’t even read Matzneff’s petition! Daniel Cohn-Bendit and I signed it because Jack Lang asked us to,” argued the former minister of Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac.
“It was 40 years ago. It is a huge mistake. There was a whiff of pedophilia behind it, that’s clear. It was absolute bullshit. More than bullshit, a sort of search for oppression, ” he nevertheless admitted, recalling that he had been “the only one to say that he was a bastard [Matzneff] “.
But how does he explain the signatures of big names like Sartre, Aragon or Barthes? For Bernard Kouchner, “it’s difficult to explain”.
“Other times, other customs. The period was stupidly lax, permissive. Ideologies overwhelmed us. Do you know this phrase from Camus: ‘Something in them yearns for bondage’? ” he said.
This petition had been drawn up while the trial of three men, who had been tried for “indecent assault without violence against minors under the age of 15 years”, had been held and placed in pre-trial detention for three years.
The victims were 12 or 13 years old and had been photographed and filmed by the accused during various sexual games. The accused had been given a suspended five-year prison sentence. The petition, written the day before this trial, defended the right to have, as an adult, sexual relations with children.
It concluded with these words: “Three years in prison [preventive] for hugs and kisses, that is enough. We would not understand why on January 29 Dejager, Gallien and Burckhardt [the names of the three culprits] do not regain their freedom.”
Kouchner is the co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Médecins du Monde. From 2007 until 2010, he was the French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the center-right Fillon government under president Nicolas Sarkozy, although he had been in the past a minister in socialist governments.
In 2010, the Jerusalem Post considered Kouchner the 15th most influential Jew in the world.