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Joséphine Baker at the Pantheon or the dream of a reconciled France for Emmanuel Macron – archyde


Dec 1, 2021
By Claire Gatinois

Posted today at 01:23

In a France that is said to be tired and fractured, Emmanuel Macron wanted a “Great moment of national communion”. The entry into the Pantheon of Josephine Baker, Tuesday, November 30, with its procession of solemnity, was to offer the Head of State the opportunity to present himself as the unifier of this country bruised by a health, economic but also identity crisis. By bringing in the place of the “great men” the cenotaph of the star of the music hall, woman, black, resistant, French born American, came the time for appeasement.

Five months before the presidential election where, barring a dramatic turn of events, the President of the Republic will seek a second term, the artist gave him the opportunity to praise a France reconciled around common and consensual values: the humanism of ‘a woman “Black defending blacks, but first and foremost a woman defending mankind”, he described, insisting on “Universalism” and “The equality of all before the Identity of each “, Advocated by Josephine Baker.

The case was heard. Born in misery in a racist America, beaten, married at 13 before becoming an international star and a heroine of the resistance, Joséphine Baker, a Gaullist from the start, embodied the strength of those who refuse to surrender and choose to become masters of their own destiny, despite everything. “More politically correct, you die”, quipped, in 2013, in a tribune at World, the writer Régis Debray, pleading for the pantheonization of the star.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers The symbolic strength of the entry into the Pantheon of Joséphine Baker, “freedom fighter”

“My France is Joséphine”

Images of the artist and Martin Luther King are projected on the facade of the Pantheon, illustrating Josephine Baker's fight against racism.  In Paris, November 30, 2021.

It does not matter that the President of the Republic was not able to gather around him his predecessors on the left, François Hollande, and on the right, Nicolas Sarkozy, who both apologized, Emmanuel Macron was able, through this tribute, to exalt what he presents as the foundations of his thought: going beyond, daring and resistance. And no one, not even Eric Zemmour, now candidate in the 2022 poll and champion of declinism, did not dare to challenge this choice. Asked on TF1’s television news, a few hours after the ceremony, the nationalist essayist recognized him: “ Joséphine Baker, it’s France ”, when the head of state said: “My France is Joséphine”.

However, the country has never seemed more torn than this Tuesday, November 30. The date of 84e anniversary of the naturalization of Joséphine Baker – pronounced during her marriage to Jean Lion – was also that of the declaration of candidacy for the presidential election of Eric Zemmour. What if the former CNews columnist and the Figaro, who endorsed the xenophobic thesis of the “great replacement” dubbed the entry to the Pantheon of the “ebony Venus”, it is because he saw in her, more than a fighter for freedoms, a model of ‘integration. “You know, Josephine Baker had a French first name. Above all, it is the very example of the success of the old-fashioned model of assimilation that I want to restore and that our elites, and in particular Emmanuel Macron, hate and reject. “, He meant during his interview on TF1.

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