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Martens Carlos Bilongo crowned by victimhood. Facebook

Statement in French parliament about returning Africans to Africa leads to uproar

Another day, another (racism) victim... A French MP has been accused of racism for a remark he made aloud in parliament. During a speech by black MP Carlos Martens Bilongo on migration, Grégoire de Fournas of the Rassemblement National shouted, "Let them go back to Africa!"

Published: November 7, 2022, 7:04 am

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    However, the statement could also be interpreted as, “Let him return to Africa”, because in French the pronouns “him” (il) and “them” (ils) are pronounced the same. Critics maintain that the statement is racist anyway.

    National Assembly Speaker Yael Braun-Pivet demanded that the agitator step forward and it turned out to be De Fournas.

    As emotions ran high in parliament, the debate was suspended:

    De Fournas said in a reaction that he had been misunderstood and that his utterance was not directed at Bilongo, but at boat refugees trying to get across the Mediterranean to Europe. Opponents of De Fournas do not accept that explanation.

    Afterwards, Bilongo responded. “Today I was turned away because of my skin colour. I was born in France, I am a French MP,” said the MP from the leftist party La France Insoumise.

    For his part, Grégoire de Fournas immediately reproached the “manipulation” of his words and said that he did not address his fellow deputy, but the discussion about a boat full of illegal migrants. “I expressed a perfectly legitimate sentence, which is not diabolical”, argued the man who is also a wine grower.

    French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne responded by saying racism has no place in a democracy. She called for measures to be taken against the MP.

    On Thursday evening, the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron said he was “shocked” by “intolerable words”, according to his entourage quoted by AFP. “Racism has no place in our democracy,” Macron commented.

    On Twitter, in the face of the outcry, Marine Le Pen defended her group’s deputy, saying that “the controversy created by our political opponents is crude and will not deceive the French.” And the RN leader considered that “Grégoire de Fournas obviously spoke of migrants transported in boats by NGOs that our colleague mentioned in his question to the government.”

    Meanwhile, the speaker of parliament has launched an investigation into De Fournas’ statement. The right-wing parliamentarian risks temporary suspension. He has refused to apologize.

    The highest disciplinary sanction entails the deprivation of half of the MP’s parliamentary allowance for two months and a ban on appearing at the Palais Bourbon for fifteen sitting days.

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