Nicolas Sarkozy on the Burkini Controversy

In an appropriate follow-up to the interview with Marine Le Pen, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy discusses the burkini controversy in a spirited French television interview. Mr. Sarkozy is considering another run for president in next year’s election, so he is positioning himself within hailing distance of Ms. Le Pen’s policies, apparently hoping to capitalize on the enormous popularity of her “racist” principles.

Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:


00:00   Let’s go back to the subject of the burkini, Nicolas Sarkozy. The state council
00:04   overturned the town ordinance forbidding the burkini.
00:08   In your opinion, is the law off target? The current law?
00:12   No! Was anyone expecting the state council to do anything else?
00:16   If you allow me two minutes: in 1989 Mr Jospin,
00:20   minister of the education, two young girls
00:24   in Creil, arrive veiled. The debate is exactly the same.
00:28   With an exceptional courage Mr Jospin says: “Let the school principal deal with it!”
00:35   and the state council says constantly: “Freedom, freedom, it’s all about freedom!”
00:40   What is freedom? When there’s a tyranny of minorities, “freedom”, for me, means
00:44   that on the territory of the Republic a man and a woman are strictly equal,
00:48   there’s not a tyranny of minorities; and a little more
00:52   than ten years after Jacques Chirac, they had to make the law.
00:56   When in 2010 I decided that we needed to forbid the niqab:
01:00   Same debate. —The burka —And today I’m asking for a law,
01:04   because you cannot leave mayors ON THEIR OWN in that situation,
01:08   a law forbidding — I don’t know, if you have to call it an “Islamic swimming suit” or a “burkini” —
01:12   I don’t know… — But it’s a law that would target… specifically… —It’s a law that would target
01:16   specifically the wearing of the burkini on the beach and in the swimming pools.
01:20   Beaches and swimming pools, yes. —Because you are a woman: what will come next? What would they demand?
01:24   Different schedules for men and women? But it would be unconstitutional… and Bernard Cazeneuve
01:27   will be breaking the law. Well fine, perfect! We’ll change the constitution. We have changed it about
01:32   thirty times already, no problem. The question being asked is:
01:36   is society adapting to the law, or the law to society?
01:40   What will be the next demand? I can tell you their next demand. —So, it’s a commitment… you are making.
01:44   It’s very simple: they will demand the schedules in the swimming pool for men and women.
01:48   And in the end, in ten years what will happen?
01:52   Young women, young girls of the Moslem faith who would like to go
01:56   to the beach in a swimming suit, who would like to be free, because, still,
02:00   freedom of women, it’s not nothing, it’s not a detail… —But what would it be saying, that law,
02:04   Nicolas Sarkozy: interdiction of the burkini or…? —Wait, I’ll finish: we’ll find ourselves
02:08   in a situation, where those who wouldn’t wear… —or interdiction of ostentatious religious symbols?
02:12   …the burkini, will be pointed to by their communities as guilty.
02:16   It’s what I’m calling the “tyranny of minorities”.
02:20   If we do nothing? —Those who don’t wear the veil or burkini.
02:24   So the Republic is being tested. —If we do nothing, does it mean shariah tomorrow in France?
02:29   No, listen, —Is it a formula of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan for example? [UMP politician center-right]
02:33   I’m not answering on my account. Everyone can clearly see
02:37   what’s going on in this case:
02:41   It’s a provocation. Whose provocation? Of a political and extremist Islam,
02:45   which is testing the resistance of the Republic. Behind it are
02:49   associations who finance lawyers
02:53   in order to finance appeals before administrative jurisdictions.
02:57   I think the rule has a calming effect and the absence of rule leaves everyone adrift.
03:01   We saw what happened. —The minister of the interior said this morning in La Croix exactly the opposite.
03:05   We saw what happened in Corsica, we saw what happened with that restaurant owner
03:09   who was saying unacceptable things… —This law would cause irreparable tensions…
03:13   But what causes tensions? —and the antagonisms, said the minister of interior this morning.
03:17   What provokes tensions is the absence of authority in our country,
03:21   the absence of rules, it’s the climate of masquerade, it’s the fear,
03:25   it’s what happened in Sisco in Corsica, where the mayor made a perfect decision;
03:29   He’s a mayor from the left, by the way.
03:33   And concerning the application of the laws of the Republic: I don’t make the distinction between
03:37   the ones and the others. There are the republicans; it’s the rule that
03:41   will be reassuring. We are in a situation that causes great concern.
03:45   The rule has to be applied. We have a way of life, we have our habits,
03:49   we have our customs, we have our principles, and I have absolutely no intention
03:53   of accepting the tiniest conceivable compromise on that matter. —One more word about the limit of that law,
03:57   because people are asking questions. It’s a situation with no precedent,
04:01   everyone is being careful, and looking for solutions —I disagree, we have experience,
04:05   we have experience… —If it were only about a burkini with very defined limits,
04:09   which would be, like you said, the beach. —The swimming pool… —so swimming, of course I imagine,
04:13   and the pool, and in the name of what?
04:17   In the name our customs, of the French culture, of the threats, of the provocation?
04:22   Of women’s rights? —First of all, I am sorry, first in the name of the strict equality between
04:26   men and women. Here, you see, it’s a conquest after a long battle,
04:30   and I would like some feminists to show themselves a little more.
04:34   A woman has the right to be on the beach or in the swimming pool
04:38   in an outfit she wishes to wear. We won’t put her behind
04:42   curtains, in a fabric prison. We DON’T accept it.
04:46   It’s the French identity that is the result of a culture,
04:50   of a language, of a way of life; here, we don’t imprison a woman
04:54   behind fabric. So you’re telling me “there’s no precedent”,
04:58   but how can you say that? The law about the veil caused a big debate!
05:02   Today it calmed down. —We are facing problems today
05:06   with terrorism and intimidation that have no precedent.
05:10   We are facing a provocation by political Islam,
05:14   which is testing the resistance of the Republic:
05:18   it’s about finding out whether the Republic is the stronger, and whether there is authority or not
05:22   in our country. I wish to personify this authority,
05:26   I wish to reestablish that authority, and I’m saying that it’s the absence of the authority … — Exactly.
05:30   …and absence of rules that is creating the feeling of a general chaos. — Exactly.
05:34   And which allows and explains all the problems we saw this summer.

4 thoughts on “Nicolas Sarkozy on the Burkini Controversy

    • This is the same man informing French women that they needed to breed with Arab and North African men, even hinting at compulsion if necessary, not so long ago.

      The French public have very short memories if they are taken in by this pipsqueak martinet.

  1. This is the guy who took money from his mate Colonel Gidaffi to fund his election campaign. A greasy opportunist.

  2. France is finished if this criminal retread is re-elected to la Presidence!

    The fact he is even a credible candidate is astounding.

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