Monday, August 11, 2014

Libération on Gaza Firm

This is a translated article from Libération on the French pro-Palestine group, Gaza Firm.  Thanks to Hugh McDonnell for the translation.

Mathias Cardet, at the centre of the Gaza Firm Group
Willy Le Devin and Dominique Albertini. 6 August 2014
The inveterate anti-Zionist is moving in the same direction as Alain Soral.

If he denies being the ‘leader’ of the Gaza Firm, Mathias Cardet – real name Thomas N’Lend – is certainly its most prominent figure; yet another avatar of this mild-mannered 39 year old, born into a French-Cameroonian family in 1975, whose CV is nonetheless explosive. Two books from the start of the 2010s gave him a degree of notoriety.

In the first, Hooliblack, he presented himself as a former ultra of Paris Saint-Germain – this is questioned by certain frequenters of the club – as well as an ex-member of the anti-skinhead group Black Dragons. In the second, l’Effroyable imposture du rap (The appalling imposture of rap), he reinterpreted the history of the genre to present it as a political-commercial manipulation of American derivation, which aims to disarm the impulses of black rebellion and divert them towards consumption.

Virulent yet peppered with scholarly references, the work sparked the interest of many in the mainstream media. Few picked up on the fact that it was published by Kontre Kulture, the publishing house of Alain Soral – from which one can also procure, for instance, the books of the neo-Nazi Hervé Ryssen. Since then, Cardet and Soral’s relationship has blossomed. The discourse of the ex-ultra is indeed quite compatible with that of the far-right essayist. Cardet presents himself as a patriot for whom the stands of the Parc des Princes were a school in ‘national fervour’. Attaching himself to the claim of ‘dissidence’, he also advocates ‘reconciliation’ between French of native stock [de souche] and those from immigrant backgrounds. This has earned him the criticism of the black supremacist Kémi Séba.

Like Alain Soral, finally, he makes no secret of his unwavering anti-Zionism, for example by sporting an ‘anti-SS’ t-shirt (standing for anti-suceurs de sionistes – Against Zionist cocksuckers). The strengthening relationship between the two men has also seen them organise talks together, for example on the theme of ‘con of rap, con of anti-racism’. Cardet also appears regularly on the website of Soral’s organisation, Equality and Reconciliation. He has also just launched his own platform on the internet. Named the V-sign [bras d’honneur] – another code of the Soralien school – it is dedicated to promoting ‘dissident artists’.

Less well known is his ambiguous role in the Georges Tron affair, which saw the mayor of Draveil and former junior minister accused of rape by two of his female colleagues. The following episode was reported in the French cultural magazine, Les Inrockuptibles. A former neighbour of one of the alleged victims, Cardet met her in June 2011 and, without her knowing, recorded a conversation in which she boasted of being supported by the Front National, and said that she was expecting to get material reward out of the affair.

Flanked by a good-for-nothing by the name of Noël Dubus, Mathias Cardet immediately canvassed several media outlets to try to sell them the document, before going to Tron’s lawyer, Olivier Schnerb. ‘I succeeded in convincing him to give up the idea of profiting from his recording and to hand it to the police’, the latter recounted, while describing a man ‘looking for redemption’. Cardet took his advice before going off the radar. Which makes even more mysterious a person who, while seeking redemption, seems ever to amass reincarnations