An art performance that saw over three thousand youths trample the graves of the war dead at Verdun and “fight” with each other has been widely condemned.
To mark the 100 year anniversary of the World War One Battle of Verdun the ruling Socialist party, headed by French President François Hollande, organised a performance that has been condemned for being in poor taste and disrespectful.
Some 3,400 French and German teenagers ran across the graves of the war dead at the Verdun memorial where they pretended to play fight with each other to the sound of drumming. French politicians from the Front National to the Republicans expressed their outrage at the performance, Le Figaro reports.
The performance, choreographed by German film maker Volker Schlondorff, was meant to symbolise the battle of Verdun but many felt it made a mockery of the war dead. Leader of the Front National Marine Le Pen wrote on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the performance: “at Verdun, the ‘show ‘ is jogging among the tombs. Indecent, really indecent”.
Her comments were followed by those of her niece, rising star of the French right, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen who condemned the ruling Socialist Party in particular, tweeting: “desecrating the graves to the sound of drums to commemorate Verdun: the honour of our ancestors was violated” and then later :”I feel great contempt for the Socialist leaders who organised this event.”
— Marion Maréchal (@MarionMarechal) May 29, 2016
The centre right party of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, The Republicans, also expressed their disdain for the performance. Spokesman of the party, Guillaume Peltier, said the ceremony was full of “indecency and bad taste”. Member of the French National Assembly Eric Ciotti lamented that the event “should have been a moment of dignity,” and a chance to rally the country; but instead, thanks to President Hollande, he said the performance fractured French society even further.
The German reaction to the event wasn’t positive, either. Veteran journalist Thomas Schmid wrote that Sunday’s anniversary was “a naive simulation of death”. “Cemeteries are not just any place, they are neither sports fields or places of entertainment,” he said, and blamed Mr. Hollande’s and Ms. Merkel’s attempts at engaging young people in the history of the battle for the distasteful stunt. Criticising the mock fighting, he wrote: “The fake wrestling of casually dressed athletes had nothing to do with the atrocious misery of the soldiers who died there a hundred years ago.”
The original performance at the ceremony was supposed to involve a rapper named “Black M” but his participation was dropped from the event after it came out that he referred to French people as “kuffar” (“infidels”) in one of his songs.
The protest against the performance of the rapper was led partly by Marine Le Pen and by other right wing anti-mass migration groups such as the hipster-right youth movement Génération Identitaire who organised a mass protest Saturday in Paris against the Islamisation of France and Islamic terrorism.
Speaking to host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon on Breitbart News Daily on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125, Breitbart London’s Oliver Lane Discusses the Verdun commemorations this morning: