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Le Monde
Le Monde
5 Aug 2023

Rapper Médine on hand to demonstrate alongside striking Total Energies employees outside the Gonfreville-l'Orcher refinery in northern France on March 24, 2023.

It's summer, and left-wing parties in France are looking to attract the best headliners for their summer conferences at the end of August. For the time being, Europe Écologie Les Verts (EELV, France’s green party) takes the cake for the most talked-about invitation, with rapper Médine coming to Le Havre (Seine-Maritime department, northern France) on August 24.

The singer's critics, primarily EELV's political opponents on the far right, blame him for a 2015 track, "Don't Laik," which includes the lyrics "crucifions les laïcards" ("let's crucify the secularists"); a 2005 album entitled Jihad; and a 2014 photo showing him performing a "quenelle," a gesture popularized by French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, who was convicted of anti-Semitism.

Greens party leader Marine Tondelier has admitted to disagreeing with Médine's positions. But upon listening to his latest songs, she noted that "he writes about female genital mutilation, proclaims himself an environmentalist" and works against police violence.

As for his provocative side, "If we only want people who look like us and who tow the party line, we'll be stuck amongst ourselves," said Tondelier, who is promising to break the party out of a certain self-segregation. And she added that it was "going to be a big hit" with young environmentalists. Furthermore, she insisted, "it's not the far right who decides who gets invited to our summer conference."

The invitation has nevertheless rekindled the "Islamo-leftism" accusation leveled against the party. Rassemblement National (RN, far right) MP Sébastien Chenu saw it as the work of a "red and green extreme left," accused of "Islamism" and "homophobia."

For several years now, the rapper from Le Havre in northern France has been engaged in an increasingly head-on battle with the far right and is regularly targeted by requests from the RN to cancel his concerts. During an April concert in Agen (southwestern France) and on May 1 during a counter-demonstration in opposition to a rally organized by the RN in Le Havre, the artist had his audience destroy piñatas bearing the party's logo.

Targeted – like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader and founder of La France Insoumise (far left) – by a planned neo-Nazi terrorist attack in 2018, the rapper has since adopted rather consensual left-wing views. In an interview with the anti-capitalist magazine Ballast on July 15, he proclaimed his admiration for actress and Révolution Permanente (far left) party member Adèle Haenel. He said that "we want social justice, we want to fight the far right, we want to put an end to the mechanisms of oppression that are simultaneously attacking LGBT populations, racial minorities and feminists." In September, he will also be performing for the Communists at the Fête de l'Humanité, a festival held by the Communist newspaper L'Humanité.