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Guest Speaker Azouz Begag at Franklin University Switzerland

Guest Speaker Azouz Begag at Franklin University Switzerland

At the end of June and beginning of July 2023,  France was subject to riots following the death of Nahel Merzouk, a seventeen-year-old Franco-Algerian who was killed by a policeman in  Nanterre, a Paris suburb. 

These riots reminded French people of the  riots in 2005, following the death of two young adolescents trying to escape the police. At the time, Azouz Begag, Minister for Equal Opportunities in the Dominique de Villepin government under the Presidency of Jacques Chirac, produced a report that warned about these potential uprisings in France. The report was not published in France, but it was published in the USA under the title Ethnicity and Equality: France in the Balance (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007).

Professor Patrick Saveau invited Begag to campus so that he could discuss the similarities and differences between these two events. The talk followed a Q&A  format. It included topics such as the French political climate, the rampant discrimination against France’s Franco-Maghrebi population, the  rise of the far-right with Marine Le Pen (leader of the Rassemblement  national) and Eric Zemmour (leader of Reconquête), and police violence.  

In addition to the political, the conversation also drifted toward the literary, as Professor Saveau is teaching literature this fall semester,  and his course includes one of Begag’s books (Le gone du Chaâba)  in his FRE 324 class entitled “From Beur to Post-Beur Literature: Exile, Margins and Re-territorialization.” The talk was co-organized by Stefania Banfi, who teaches at Liceo Galileo Galilei in Lugano.

Azouz Begag is a novelist, sociologist (member of the CNRS [Centre  National de la Recherche Scientifique]), and politician. His best seller is the first novel he published in 1986, Le gone du Chaâba  (translated into English as Shantytown Kid). 

Students majoring in Political Science and who speak French attended the event with great interest.

Guest Speaker Azouz Begag at 
Franklin University Switzerland
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