Caribbean Slave Descendants Sue French Philosopher

AFP, Jan. 10, 2006

PARIS, France—Descendants of slaves from France’s Caribbean islands are suing a leading French philosopher for making allegedly offensive remarks about the islands’ black populations, a lawyer said on Monday.

The Association of Sons and Daughters of African Deportees (COFFAD) accuse Alain Finkielkraut of making the “biased” comments during a Jewish community radio show last March.

Commenting on an ongoing debate about France’s historical role in the slave trade, the Jewish philosopher is accused of referring derogatorily to “Caribbean victims of slavery who now live off French state hand-outs”.

Finkielkraut came in the firing line during France’s autumn riots, when he was accused of racism for arguing there was an “ethnic-religious” dimension to the violence that hit largely black and Arab neighbourhoods.

The Paris criminal court will hear the case against both Finkielkraut and the radio station, Radio Communaute Juive, on January 17, according to the group’s lawyer Philippe Missamou.

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