All posts by Annie McDonough

French Rapper Wears the Veil

A few weeks ago in France there was a bit of a tabloid scandal when a photo surfaced of female French hip-hop artist Diam’s (’s) wearing a hijab in public. The rap star, known for speaking out about gender equality and poverty, recently married a Muslim man and converted to Islam.

A spokewoman for French feminist organization “Ni Putes, Ni Soumises” stated, “It’s very sad to see her convey a message to a generation who expects her to speak of equality between men and women.”

The rest of the article, including the music video for her single “Ma France a Moi” and a news clip about the burqa sighting, can be found here.

I found this article fascinating because Diam’s is confronting two issues that seem black and white in France: promoting gender equality while wearing the burqa.  There is definitely a lot of overlooked gray area to the issue (whether or not wearing the hijab is a choice, for instance).

Rights of Colonial Veterans

Last week in class we discussed the irony of Nazi resistance heroes fighting in the French colonial wars following World War II.  Another irony existed simultaneously: thousands of soldiers serving in the French army in WWII, Algeria, and Indochina were native citizens of French colonies which gained their independence soon after.  I found this NYTimes article from last year that discusses the discrimination many of these foreign-born French army veterans have faced over the years and continue to face today:

Here is a photo slideshow related to the article:

One thing I found interesting was how several veterans admitted they joined the army to “escape colonial oppression.” The fact that there are still disparities in retirement pensions fifty years later seems to be a legacy of the discrimination they were attempting to escape.