Tag Archives: France

Paris attacks: ‘My entire body was trembling’

By Marianne Camerer The Paris police said stay put where you are, don’t go out unless absolutely necessary. The streets were starting to empty. My hotel was about a 20-minute walk away from the Odeon restaurant where my Parisian friend, Pierre, and I were having supper. Should we take a back street to my hotel,…

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Paris again: Has Huntington’s thesis been vindicated?

The recent events in Paris (not long after the Charlie Hebdo attacks), which have understandably shocked everyone who values peaceful interaction between people of different cultural orientations, will no doubt fuel renewed intercultural distrust instead. This is to be expected, particularly after reports that one of the attackers might have entered France a few weeks…

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Midnight in Parys: A journey into the dark heart of the South African platteland

I have never been to Paris, even though my forefathers hail from France. Yes, as my real so-called Christian name (André le Roux du Toit, or André Letoit for short) suggests, I am of exactly 50% French ancestry. This, in spite of the fact that the only few snippets of French I know consist of…

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Spaces of power and spaces of gentleness

Today we experienced two kinds of space that are diametrically opposed, or mutually exclusive. The first was the palace and gardens of Versailles, known as the residence of a succession of French kings, of whom Louis XIV and Louis XVI are probably the best known (the latter with his equally well-known queen, Marie-Antoinette, who was…

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I love Paris in the springtime…

How many people still know that song, I wonder. Or the one where Dean Martin sings “Oh, what I’d give for a moment or two, under the bridges of Paris with you … ” The point is that Paris is, and has been for a long time, one of — if not THE — most…

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Let them eat cake

This morning I crawled off an overnight flight from Paris, gave thanks for unlimited bandwidth, and started scrolling through Twitter. There I found an opinion piece by Peter Delmar on the Times Live site. I paused to read it because he had obviously been to Paris for a family holiday, just as I had. I…

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A journey to France

In April 2012 I found out about the Campus France grant for study in France. By then I was an LL.M student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. I didn’t speak a word of French but the opportunity to explore a new world and a new culture was irresistible. I applied and was…

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Stealing rooibos

It has recently been reported that an unidentified French firm is attempting to register a number of trademarks including the terms “South African rooibos” and “rooibos”. It is not the first time a foreign company tried to trademark rooibos tea. I have two problems with the fact that the French want to trademark rooibos. Firstly,…

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Have jihadists crossed the Rubicon in Mali?

A maxim of President Francois Hollande’s election campaign was to reduce France’s overseas interventionist activities. Since the 1960s France has intervened militarily on nearly 50 occasions, mainly to evacuate foreigners as it did in 1990 and 1991 in Gabon and Zaire and in 1994 in Rwanda. Until 2011 France continued to act as the ”policeman”…

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The economic week in review: More troubling signs

Europe’s woes continued to weigh heavily on global markets this week. A summit of European leaders on Wednesday failed to reassure economists and investors that politicians can contain the growing risks of Greek exit from the euro and continental banking crisis. Here at home, data showed that the rate of price rises facing consumers rose…

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