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French history erased in new wave of revisionism

Published time: October 03, 2011 06:26
Edited time: October 03, 2011 12:49

France, Marseille: Pupils wait for entering their classroom at Fraissinet school, on the first day of the school year. (AFP Photo/Gerard Julien)

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Parents and teachers across France are up in arms over new textbooks which carry accounts of French history revised to avoid insulting ethnic minority pupils. They say common sense has been sacrificed to political correctness in French schools.

­Natives of France now fear their identity will soon disappear along with their history.

A modern French history textbook now boasts no less than 20 pages on the history of black slavery while devoting a mere six pages to the achievements of Napoleon – shown here sitting on a toilet.

France's new history textbooks are enraging parents and teachers who call it political correctness gone mad.

Dimitri Casali, history professor and best-selling author on the newly-banished giants of France warns of dire consequences of the new educational policy.

“If we don't teach our minorities the history of their adopted country, they won't feel French. We're already seeing riots on our streets,” Casali exclaims.

In the new textbook, the Crusades are now called insulting to Muslims, the Sun King Louis 14th is labeled imperialist and Napoleon is mocked as the Colonel Gaddafi of his day. The star of the new school books is  Mali's previously little-known King Kankou Musa  who ruled over the West African country in the 13th century.

The purge even extends to literary giants like Victor Hugo, author of the world classic, Les Miserables.

France is already breaking up, believes Professor Casali, because its young people have no sense of identity. Parents are deeply concerned too.

Father-of-three Jean-Noel Villemin from Paris says, “We need to study even the worst pages of our history because you cannot understand politics today if you don't understand history, if they want to understand and vote properly.”

Legal action is seen as the only way to stop the erasure of France’s national history.

“Schools now give 10 per cent of their schedule to the medieval African Mali Empire. I've studied it, and what exactly is its contribution to world development?” asks Parisian lawyer Marcel Ceccaldi.

Thousands signed a petition after lessons on the French Revolution were replaced by study of the African kingdom of Monomotapah, which many say they have never heard of. The Ministry of Education refused to be interviewed, but gave RT this statement:

“We are changing the school curriculum to reflect globalization. Monomotapah is being taught because it is important to have a view on other world cultures such as Egypt, China and India,” the statement reads. 

A new European Parliament report has backed compulsory school lessons on the benefits of the EU, from “a very young age.” Critics say pupils are learning less and less about their own countries and warn that states which stop teaching their past will simply consign themselves to history.

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