Episodes

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01Le Divide - Liberte20200311

France's motto of "liberte, egalite, fraternite" - liberty, equality and fraternity - is also the battleground for its most divisive issues. The BBC's Paris correspondent Lucy Williamson travels around the country to examine the key challenges facing the country, and ask whether President Macron's policies are helping to heal divisions, or make them worse?
Since the beginning of his campaign, President Macron has talked about France's unique role as a beacon of liberty and human rights. Protecting those rights in a changing world is at the heart of his fierce commitment to a stronger, closer Europe. But the far-right nationalist party of Marine Le Pen is promising the French a different kind of freedom: protection from Europe itself - its open borders and open markets. So how far will Macron go to stop her support from spreading? And what concessions is he making in pursuit of Liberté?
Producer: Arlene Gregorius

How France is facing new divisions over liberty, fraternity and equality. Today: liberty.

How France is facing the challenges of three key issues: liberty, fraternity and equality.

02Le Divide - Egalite20200318

France's motto of "liberte, egalite, fraternite" - liberty, equality and fraternity - also sums up some of the key challenges facing the nation today. The BBC's Paris correspondent Lucy Williamson travels around the country to find out more about the issues and asks: are President Macron's policies helping to heal divisions, or make them worse?

France may be less unequal than many of its neighbours, but there is a deep and growing fracture between increasingly wealthy cosmopolitan elites, and the inhabitants of a "peripheral France" who say they feel left behind. Lucy travels from Versailles in the north to the former mining town of La Grand-Combe in the south, to ask why anger there is so strong, what the gilets jaunes protests achieved, and whether President Macron has delivered on his promise to heal the economic divisions in France.

Producer: Arlene Gregorius

How France is facing the challenges of liberty, equality and fraternity - today: equality.

How France is facing the challenges of three key issues: liberty, fraternity and equality.

03Le Divide - Fraternite20200325

France's motto of "liberte, egalite, fraternite" - liberty, equality and fraternity - represents key challenges dividing the nation today. The BBC's Paris correspondent Lucy Williamson travels around the country to find out more about the issues and asks: are President Macron's policies helping to heal these divisions, or make them worse?

"Fraternite ? requires French citizens to be treated with “brotherliness ?, regardless of origin, background or religion. And laïcité – separation of state and religion – is seen today as a key tool to ensure that. But there are battles over where the line between state and religion, public and private, really is – and most of the time, it’s about the Muslim headscarf. With little of France's ethnic or religious diversity on display in public life, and a ban on the French state collecting this kind of data on its citizens, how is its model of integration working in modern-day France? Former World Cup-winning football player Lilian Thuram argues that some people are happy with the racist status quo. Lucy travels to the city of Marseille, famed as a "melting pot" for its diversity - and its football team - to look at what keeps the city together, and why divisions are appearing even there.

Producer: Arlene Gregorius

How France is facing the challenges of liberty, fraternity and equality. Today: fraternite

How France is facing the challenges of three key issues: liberty, fraternity and equality.

France's motto of "liberte, egalite, fraternite" - liberty, equality and fraternity - also sums up some of the key challenges facing the nation today. The BBC's Paris correspondent Lucy Williamson travels around the country to find out more about the issues and asks: are President Macron's policies helping to heal divisions, or make them worse?
"Fraternite” requires French citizens to be treated with “brotherliness”, regardless of origin, background or religion. And, laïcité – separation of state and religion – is a key tool to ensure this. But there are battles over where the line between state and religion, public and private, really is – and most of the time, it’s about the Muslim headscarf.
Those with Muslim names or non-white faces are reported to be four times less likely to get job interviews. But the French state doesn't collect data by ethnicity or religion, nor does anyone want to change that. Former World Cup-winning football player Lilian Thuram argues that this means people are happy with the racist status quo. Lucy travels to the diverse city of Marseille, famed as a "melting pot" and so far spared from the jihadist violence that's afflicted places like Paris or Nice, despite having extremists among the large Muslim population. So what is the city's secret?