When a WW2 Resistant tells a newspaper that in French politics, Le Pen represents the negation of all that the Resistance fought for and calls on everyone to vote Emmanuel Macron next Sunday.
Daniel Cordier is 96 years old. He is one of the last eleven Compagnons de la Libération still alive today. He was also the former secretary of a one of the most famous heroes of the French Résistance during WW2, Jean Moulin, who died after being tortured by the Gestapo, the Nazi police. In France, Jean Moulin is seen as a model of civic virtuousness, moral rectitude and patriotism, and as the symbol of the Résistance.
In an interview he gave to French Sunday newspaper Journal du Dimanche last Sunday, he explains that he had never before spoken about politics in public.
However, because of the alliance between Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Marine Le Pen for the second round of the Presidential Election, the man who says he "always voted on the left, even the Communist once, against De Gaulle!", felt compelled to speak.
"In French politics, Le Pen represents the negation of all that we have fought for."
"When I imagine Marine Le Pen representing France, when I realise the risk she might be elected, I find it horrendous. Le Pen, I say no!" He explains. "In French politics, Le Pen represents the negation of all that we have fought for."
Daniel Cordier finds the return of far-right ideologies such as the ones preached by the infamous French anti-Semite and nationalist Charles Maurras in the 20th century "frightening." A man Politico reported last month that Steve Bannon, the White House Chief Strategist in the Trump administration, has "expressed admiration for" and "parroted several ideas from". A hero to the European Far-Right.
Of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan claiming he is a Gaullist, the Resistant says that "in their mouth, these are only words, hollow words that mean nothing. They speak without knowing what Gaullism was in the 1940s. When I hear them claim this heritage I feel it is a deceit."
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan's party 'Debout la France' (France Arise) is actually a member of the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe at the European Parliament, together with Nigel Farage's party, Ukip. Since Mr Farage made his views very clear last month on the French Presidential Election and on who he was supporting, it should not have come to anyone as a surprise to see his French protégé jump when he would ask him to. It is clear that Dupont-Aignan's candidacy always was about splitting the vote of the Centre-Right candidate, Francois Fillon, so that he would not reach the second round of the election.
Macron "without hesitation and without reservation."
Daniel Cordier didn't need any more convincing to call on everyone in the country to vote for Emmanuel Macron on 7 May, "without hesitation and without reservation." He explains that to the newspaper that he voted for Francois Hollande in 2012, but found the result "disappointing." And even though "his reactions were good, he speaks well, he is a nice and intelligent man, there is a great void, a lack of presence."
In his opinion, the Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has a lot of presence. "When he went to visit the Whirlpool factory in a hostile atmosphere, he put up a good fight. He was better than I would have imagined."
Mr Macron had been forced to brave a picket line to talk to some furious factory employees, after Marine Le Pen had beaten him at meeting them first, whilst he was meeting their trade union reps.
The European Union, "it is the antidote to war, of course."
To finish, Daniel Cordier was asked about his views on Europe. As one of the last Compagnons de la Libération still alive, he answered that there is no other solution than the European Union. "It is the antidote to war, of course," he said, before describing Britain's Brexit as "something shocking, unthinkable."
"I think about it every day," he added. "We fought together, we won together. We made peace and then Europe together. Their departure, I find it terrible. To imagine that France could leave Europe is just as shocking."
Reading Suggestions (in French):
- Alias Caracalla, a biography of Daniel Cordier, 2013, Folio.
- Jean Moulin - La République des catacombes (Vol. 1), a biography of Jean Moulin by Daniel Cordier, 2014, Folio.
- Jean Moulin - La République des catacombes (Vol. 2), a biography of Jean Moulin by Daniel Cordier, 2014, Folio.
- De l'Histoire à l'histoire, a conversation with Daniel Cordier, 2013, Gallimard.
- Jean Moulin : Artiste, préfet, résistant 1899-1943, a biography of Jean Moulin, 2013, Editions Tallandier.