Seine-Saint-Denis, according to Eric Zemmour? The emblem of the “great replacement”, a territory in which “most cafes are reserved for men”, “the ten first names given to children are Muslims or affiliates” and where the inhabitants live under “the reign of Allah and drug bosses ”.
The words of the polemicist, taken from his forthcoming book France has not said its last word, snap like punchlines. Never mind that his words are not supported by any study, no source. As for the nuance, it is not that which sells. Predictable allegations from the probable presidential candidate but which make the PS president of Seine-Saint-Denis, Stéphane Troussel, jump.
How do you experience these recurring attacks by Eric Zemmour, and the far right in general, on the department you chair?
It is unbearable to suffer these attacks for the territory but also, and above all, for the inhabitants. Eric Zemmour’s hateful remarks reflect on their daily lives, they suffer from the image we give of Seine-Saint-Denis. This stigma has consequences on access to employment, housing and leisure. Of course, there are difficulties linked to drugs, to the temptations of communitarianism, this is not to deny, but that also exists in other territories, and not only in sensitive neighborhoods.
What do you want to say to Eric Zemmour?
I refuse to enter into such a debate. How, faced with the caricatural violence of such remarks, imagine that we can come out of something constructive? Eric Zemmour talks about territories he does not know. I have lived there for 51 years, I went to school there, my children too. We face the difficulties of these territories every day, but with republican tools. The truth has nothing to do with what Eric Zemmour says. He is the representative of this radical far right which wants to divide the French, to stigmatize territories.
Why do you think Seine-Saint-Denis catalyzes so many fantasies?
Because we are a young, popular territory, made of diversity. Once again, there is no question of denying our difficulties, but I also know our wealth. We are, for example, in the top 5 of business creation departments. We are everything that hates Eric Zemmour: we symbolize France as it really is, and not fantasized. We are a country where people from all over have made common society thanks to a promise of republican equality.
Do you plan to file a complaint?
We are indeed studying our interest in acting, from a criminal standpoint. We have already lodged a complaint, we have already joined as a civil party and we will do it again if necessary. We will not give up an ounce of ground in the face of this type of individual, even if there is obviously weariness, fed up with this hate speech.