Posted on December 20, 2006

Niger Brings Racism Case Against French Writer

Abdoulaye Massalatchi, Reuters, Dec. 16, 2006

The government of Niger said on Saturday it would bring a court case in France against the writer Pascal Sevran, a TV presenter on the France 2 channel, for racism and “fascist theories” concerning famine in Africa.

The government of the poor, former French colony, where food shortages last year grabbed world headlines, said passages in Sevran’s book “Le Privilege de Jonquilles” (The Privilege of the Daffodils) contained “insanities” worthy of Germany’s Second World War Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

“They could not be more racist and they praise eugenics, in which Mr Sevran is a thorough believer,” said a statement from government of the West African nation.

“The government of Niger . . . has decided to appeal to French courts so that justice and reparations can be handed out.”

Anti-racism movements in France have already called for Sevran to be dismissed by broadcaster France Television.

An immigrant association in France has called on President Jacques Chirac to strip Sevran of his Legion of Honour award and said it would bring a court case against him. In the book, Sevran describes Niger’s birth rate — one of the highest in the world — as a crime in what is also one of the world’s poorest countries.

Located in Africa’s arid Sahel belt just south of the Sahara, the majority of Niger’s 12.6 million people live on less than a dollar a day. Seasonal food shortages affect hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Sevran links Africans’ sexual habits and fecundity and the poverty on the continent.

“The guilty are easy to identify, they sign their crimes by copulating. Death is at the end of their penis,” reads a passage from the book.

Sevran has defended his work from criticism. “Africa starves those children who are born there without their parents having the means to feed them. I am not the only one to say so. It is necessary to sterilise half the planet!” he said in an interview this month.