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The hills are alive…….

Posted on October 9th, 2012

The hills are alive, with the sound of …. gunshots. The hunting season has begun again. Each morning intrepid hunters, armed only with double-barreled shotguns, enter into mortal combat with dangerous deer, hares and small birds. Crossbows are also permitted, which somehow seem more frightening than guns. Our brave guardians of the countryside spend more on weapons, cartridges, dogs and camouflage gear than the average family spends on groceries in a year, so while most prey does appear on the dinner table, that is not the true motivation. Hunters do it for pleasure; all 1.4 million of them registered in France. Last year there were 143 shooting accidents including sixteen people killed. The good news is that 31% of these were self-inflicted and that hunters were…

La honte

Posted on October 4th, 2012

Seventy years ago, on September 10th 1942, the last train left Camp des Milles, completing the deportation of 2,000 Jews bound first for Drancy, then Auschwitz. During the previous three years more than 10,000 people were interned at this former tile factory, just five kilometres from the centre of Aix-en-Provence. Camp des Milles was first opened by the French Government in September 1939 to detain “enemy aliens”, German and Austrian artists, actors and intellectuals fleeing Nazi persecution to seek sanctuary in the south of France. In July 1940 the newly-formed Vichy Government broadened internee categories to include “undesirables” such as former Spanish International Brigades fighters and Jews expelled from Germany. In August 1942 it became a deportation camp for Jews. In the early days many internees…