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Manouchian Armenians and their foreign comrades enter the Pantheon of France. And Le Pen is not welcome

2024-02-21T21:31:40.806Z

Highlights: Armenians and their foreign comrades enter the Pantheon of France. And Le Pen is not welcome. The extreme right, embarked on a 'normalization' process, attends the tribute against Macron's will. France, by welcoming this Wednesday the Armenian resistance fighter Missak Manouchian and his comrades fighting against Nazism, sends a message about the past and the present. For the first time, the communists. And the children of the 1915 Armenian genocide under the Ottoman empire: Missak and his wife, Mélinée.


The extreme right, embarked on a 'normalization' process, attends the tribute against Macron's will


France, by welcoming this Wednesday the Armenian resistance fighter Missak Manouchian and his comrades fighting against Nazism, sends a message about the past and the present.

For the first time, immigrants and refugees who resisted the Nazis during World War II enter the republican and secular temple.

For the first time, the communists.

And the children of the 1915 Armenian genocide under the Ottoman empire: Missak and his wife, Mélinée.

The remains of the Manouchians—and, symbolically, their comrades in the resistance, among them the Spaniard Celestino Alfonso, executed on February 21, 1944—entered the monument in the center of Paris in a ceremony with a high emotional charge.

In the midst of the rise of the extreme right and the debate on immigration, the political burden was also considerable.

The presence of Marine Le Pen and other leaders of the National Regroupment (RN), heir to a party founded by phil-Nazis and collaborationists, was an affront to many attendees.

President Emmanuel Macron had declared in an interview with the communist newspaper

L'Humanité

: “The forces of the extreme right would do well not to be present.”

Le Pen, officially invited as head of the RN in the National Assembly, ignored the president's request.

She found her “insulting.”

The Manouchian Support Committee in the Pantheon was also opposed to her presence.

For Le Pen it was important to be there too and demonstrate that she is a normal politician, like the others, identified with the values ​​of the Resistance and the Enlightenment.

His entire effort, since he took the reins of the nationalist and anti-immigration party more than a decade ago, consists of removing it from the corner of the extreme right and homologating it as a government party.

Macron, questioned by the recent immigration law, criticized from the left for excessively repressive, declared in a solemn speech: “Missak Manouchian, you come here always drunk with your dreams, Armenia freed from pain, fraternal Europe, the communist ideal, the justice, dignity, French dreams, universal dreams.”

The words of the actor and singer Patrick Bruel echoed in the rain on the winter evening, at the foot of the Pantheon: “My dear Mélinée, my dear little orphan, in a few hours I will no longer be of this world.

“They will shoot us this afternoon at 3 p.m..”

It was the letter that Missak Manouchian wrote to Mélinée before the Nazis executed him along with the members of the network he led and the French police had dismantled in November 1943. “At the moment of dying,” Missak continued in the voice of Bruel, "I proclaim that I do not feel any hatred against the German people or against anyone, each one will have what he deserves as punishment and reward."

Serge Avédikian, French-Armenian actor, read, in alphabetical order, the names of the 24 resisters of the Manouchian network, also known as the Red Poster group, after the Nazi propaganda poster that denounced them, which later gave the title to a poem by Louis Aragon and a song by Léo Ferré.

“Celestino Alfonso,” Avédikian began.

“Dead for France!” responded a chorus of students from a military high school.

Alfonso, whose name was inscribed at the entrance to the crypt where Missak and Mélinée Manouchian already rest, is the first Spaniard in the Pantheon.

Macron later invoked his name and his heroism in the speech.

The coffins of the Manouchians, carried by the Foreign Legion, went in procession up the avenue that leads to the Pantheon, while the stages of their lives were staged: exile, life in France as a Citroën worker, the resistance.

In the speech, Macron proclaimed: “Missak Manouchian, you enter here with your brothers in arms.”

In these words one could hear an echo of the writer André Malraux, who in 1964 read the entrance speech into the Pantheon of the great resister and martyr Jean Moulin.

“Foreigners and yet our brothers,” Macron quoted Aragon as saying.

“French of preference, French of hope.”

Ceremonies like the Pantheon are the mirror of a country.

A story and an ideal.

The France of Manouchian—and of Alfonso—is that of human rights, the anti-fascist, the open to the world, the universal.

France is this.

Or at least a part of France.

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Source: elparis

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