When Macron betrays France’s fundamental principles

in North Africa/Opinion

On Sunday, January 27th, Emmanuel Macron set foot on Egyptian soil for a two-day official visit. A visit to a “friendly country“, to which France has gradually moved closer since the bloody coup of Marechal Sissi in July 2013, despite the regime of terror instituted by Sissi and his henchmen.

Restrictions on basic democratic freedoms, repression of opponents, journalists and NGOs, arrests in the tens of thousands, enforced disappearances and deaths by the thousands: a known and documented brutality that did not prevent the self-proclaimed ‘country of human rights‘ to build tighter and tighter relations with dictator Sissi, a good client for French industries.

It is notably in the field of arms sales that the Egyptian military regime has proved to be a particularly generous friend, becoming France’s third largest client with around €6 billion in orders since 2015.

In such a context, Macron’s vague human rights statements in Egypt sound like a scornful joke, as Sissi himself has said, commenting on Macron’s claims that the country’s economic development was more important than the respect for public freedoms and human rights.

Why would he be deprived of it? Macron did not hide that one of the objectives of his visit was the development of economic partnerships with Egypt, with the signing of thirty agreements and commercial contracts in the short term, for an amount totalling nearly one billion euros and, in the medium term, the sale of 12 additional Rafale jet fighters to Sissi, who has already bought 24.

In such conditions, it is difficult not to be amused when Macron demands that Nicolás Maduro holds elections in Venezuela while, at the same time, he struts with his strategic partner Sissi.

Being the President of the rich also means, we all too often forget, being friends with dictators, on the sole condition that they buy French and/or preserve the so-called interests of France. That is to say, the interests of the French multinationals owned by Macron’s classmates.

3,000 Km away in the capital of Algeria

Whilst Macron was in Egypt, over 3,000 Km away, Macron tasked his Justice minion Nicole Belloubet with advancing yet another authoritarian regime’s agenda, through the signing of an extradition treaty whilst knowing that the Algerian judiciary is far from being independent; a judiciary that has been and continues to be instrumentalised by the regime in power. Over the past few months, this same judiciary put on equal footing and described by Nicole Belloubet as “guaranteeing the respect for the fundamental values of the two countries“, threw in jail a number of journalists, arbitrarily, with no evidence whatsoever.

A betrayal

Autocratic leaders need not be recognised and encouraged by France. When Macron legitimises dictators he betrays all the political prisoners, journalists, NGOs who operate in autocratic regimes, the ones alive and the ones who have been killed. More importantly, he insults and betrays the millions of people living in what is essentially open-sky prisons.

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