Acclaimed black filmmaker Raoul Peck accused France of being in denial of its racism, its colonial past and its wealth “built on the misery of others”.The Haitian-born, creator of the Oscar-nominated documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro,” said he was with young people who took to the streets in France and the United States to protest police violence at the following the death of George Floyd.
“They have the right to stand up. They have the right to protest, they can even have the right to break everything, “Peck wrote in a piece published Wednesday in the French weekly Le 1.
Entitled “I can’t breathe”, echoing Floyd’s last words like a white US police officer knelt on his neck, Peck said “France is in denial and its” falsified “children have more time to wait, ”he added, referring to his ethnic minorities.
“Every citizen has to take their share of the burden and stop looking at it from a distance,” he said.
“I thought another world was possible without burning it all,” said the director, who made his name with “Lumumba”, the story of the assassination of the Democratic Republic of the Congo chief independence, Patrice Lumumba in a plot involving the CIA and the countries of the former Belgian colonial masters.
“Now, I’m not so sure,” Peck added.
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Macron: more statues will fall
His comments come after French President Emmanuel Macron all but ignored the wave of protests at a large Sunday address, except to warn him that he would not take down the statues of controversial figures history of the country’s past.
“The Republic will not wipe away all traces or the name of its history … but lucidly look at our history and our memory,” he said.
His government backed down on Tuesday on a ban on police use of chokeholds after a backlash by police unions who deny allegations of systemic racism and violence.
The anger of the agents of the demonstrations organized through France and threw their handcuffs to protest against the ban on the very controversial technique of, Black who Lives Matter activists say can be fatal.
But Peck, who used to be minister of culture in his home country, the Caribbean island, said France could no longer hide behind denial.
“We have simply come to the end of an overly burdensome legacy of injustice, denial and profit built on the misery of others.
“He’s not up to blacks”
“France is in denial because it refuses to accept that it has lost its predominant place and made it worse,” said Peck, who has spent most of his life in the country.
Peck, who won a French Oscar, called a Caesar, for “I am Not Your Negro”, his portrait of the American writer James Baldwin, admitted that it was a “privilege of the black man”.
Even so, he was horrified to see how the “racists of words, gestures … decisions and laws” were becoming normalized, and called on society to change from the bottom up.
“We have to take it by the root, put everything on the table and rebuild everything. No institution should escape, ”he writes.
“It’s everyone’s problem, each institution’s, the press included… We have to start rebuilding and it’s not up to blacks, Arabs or women or gays or people with disabilities to solve this problem , ”Peck insisted.
In France, to denounce racism and police violence was carried out around the case of Adama Traore, a 24-year-old black man who died in a police station shortly after his arrest in 2016.
The family’s traore says he was smothered by the officers who made him, an accusation that assessments ordered by French investigators dismissed. Experts hired by his family, however, have questioned this. Prosecutors said this month that the investigation is still open.
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