“If Marine Le Pen is elected, relations with Africans will inevitably deteriorate”

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Felwine Sarr is an economist, writer, professor of African philosophy at Duke University, North Carolina, USA. He is also with Achille Mbembe the co-founder of the Ateliers de la Pensée in Dakar and co-editor of the latest Goncourt The most secret memory of men, by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr.

Senegalese intellectual refusing compartmentalization, he is the author with Bénédicte Savoy of the report Restoring African heritage awarded in 2018 to Emmanuel Macron (ed. Philippe Rey/Le Seuil). His latest novel, The places where my dreams livewas published by Gallimard.

Marine Le Pen is once again in the second round. Parties whose central themes are the fight against immigration and the defense of a certain idea of ​​identity represent a third of voters in France. How do you view this situation?

Felwine Sarr From the African continent, we realize that the growth of the far right has been continuous in recent decades. It is a European tendency which is confirmed in France and which is extremely worrying for us, Africans, because of the intersociability existing with this country. There are families there. A large African diaspora is established there. But the themes of the extreme right are well known: the stigmatization of immigrants and the proposal of discriminatory measures.

Also read the column: Article reserved for our subscribers “Marine Le Pen’s intention is the opposite of the unifying and peaceful speeches of the candidate”

The big question here is to what extent can the relationship between France and Africa be made more balanced, fairer, when the extreme right is totally uninhibited in the public sphere and Marine Le Pen seems completely normalized.

What do you think his election would change in the relationship between Africa and France?

What would fundamentally change is the fact of assuming a discriminatory, exclusive and disrespectful statement. Far-right candidates already have problematic discourse about Africans, Africa, immigrants and diasporas. Discriminatory laws will be
surely taken, international relations could become non-existent and therefore everyone would be ordered to stay or return home.

I am aware, however, that the exercise of power is complex and that the constraints of government cannot be brushed aside. It will probably be difficult to enshrine a number of proposals in law, but from a symbolic point of view relations will inevitably deteriorate.

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