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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  April 15, 2019 12:30am-1:00am BST

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i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: tiger woods wins the us masters, more than ten years after his last one of sport's greatest golfing major title. ever comebacks, a decade after his last major he has had personal victory, tiger woods difficulties in that time, wins the masters. including a divorce my mom was here. and major back problems, hampering his form. she was there in ‘97 as well so i couldn't be more a powerful tornado has ripped happy and more excited. through the south east of the united states, i'm kind of at a loss destroying buildings for words, really. singapore's fake news crackdown, we hearfrom the minister and leaving many injured. at least four people including two responsible for the new law. children have been killed. and this candidate is gathering traction i'm kasia madera in london. in the united states. also in the programme: a liberal, openly gay mayor has a powerful tornado rips formally launched his bid to become the democratic through the south east presidential nominee of the united states — in the 2020 election. destroying buildings pete buttigieg has risen from relative obscurity as mayor of a small town to being a possible contender. that's all. now on bbc news, stephen sackur speaks to french
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writer edouard louis on hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, every so often a writer emerges with the voice so original, distinct event strong that it is heard far beyond the confines of the book buying public. so it is of the book buying public. so it is of my gas today, edouard louis, produced overall, account of his own up produced overall, account of his own up hanging in a working—class town and the north of france five years ago. since then, he has written two more books, one from his own experience of class discrimination, homophobia and violence and a fractured france. it's tempting to see him as the voice now of the generation. his anger, the fuel that propels him.
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welcome. you were born and raised in a working—class town on the north of france. you've escaped as a teenager to make a new life but it seems to me ever since then, you've been in a sense, faced with an impulse to go back, to make sense of your own past. because i know, you have the feeling that while i was living my childhood, i wasn't understanding it. i was living kind of next to my childhood, as a child. it's only when i took a distance with my past
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that i was suddenly able to understand it. for example, as a child, as i describe in my last book, i hated my father because i thought that he was a bad person because of his homophobia. because of his violent urges and violent behaviours. it's only when i left the place that i was able to understand that his behaviour, but it was saying to me is behaviour towards gay people, towards women was conditioned by something bigger than him. by socialforce was conditioned by something bigger than him. by social force at his place in the world. it took for me a long time to understand it so really, yes i come back in order to understand what i didn't understand asa understand what i didn't understand as a child. interesting. because you've written most recently about your father and the political context in which your father lived. his working—class, very difficult life stop but your first book was a ferociously honest, raw, painful
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uncovering of all the terrible things that happen to you. in the small community in the north of france, i'm just wondering if your own family and people in the face are so angry own family and people in the face are so angry about what you exposed and wrote about, that they don't wa nt and wrote about, that they don't want you back. it's kind of difficult because for me, to fight for someone, to fight for some people, defied for a category of people, defied for a category of people, doesn't mean fluttering this people. it doesn't be there better that they are good, that are authentic, there is a very old—fashioned tradition, traditional way of talking about the working class and presenting them as better people, more 13th, more funny, compared with the hypocrites and playing roles. i wanted to share in what i wanted to say as i confide for someone like my father and of
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the same time i can say he's a homophobic person and he was waiting for the far right his whole life because it was true. it's what he was doing, for me there is a problem when we start mixing love and politics. as if fighting for someone meant to say this person is lovable. for me, it has nothing to do. when you fight against violence, you fight against objective violence, no matter if the people are good or not, no matter if they deserve it or not. you talk about your father's homophobia, and your sexuality. and your identity was at the heart of why you felt different from a young age pretty much everyone else. in that small town, now, is a difficult subject. but you described homophobia that was constant, that was both physically violent and mentally abusive. at what point did you first realise in yourself that
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you first realise in yourself that you were gay? it happened immediately, as soon as i was born i understood that i was different. other people around me including my family, they were making me understand that i was different and the story that i recount in this book, the story of the relationship with my father, it's the story of an impossible relationship because i grew up in this media where the value of masculinity and strength was so value of masculinity and strength was so strong and i was born a gay boy. as soon as i was born, my family and me, we couldn't talk together. he was saying, why you like this? why are you so feminine? why are you attracted by boys? why you like this, you are bringing shame on our family. you like this, you are bringing shame on ourfamily. and so, as soon as my life started, this impossibility emerged, immediately.
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ifi impossibility emerged, immediately. if i may, your honesty about the degree to which you didn't want this identity. in many ways, you didn't wa nt to identity. in many ways, you didn't want to be gay, you were abused co nsta ntly a nd you want to be gay, you were abused constantly and you reacted to that by trying your very hardest to be a quy: by trying your very hardest to be a guy, to be tough, to be much like everybody else. i wanted to fit in. my everybody else. i wanted to fit in. my dream is to fit in and when i started to recount the story, when i started to recount the story, when i started to recount the story, when i started to write about the story, i wa nted started to write about the story, i wanted to kind of break free from the myth of the different child, the kind of early elliott, the wonderful kid in the media were people are not wonderful. i wanted to show that, i was just a wonderful. i wanted to show that, i wasjust a child wonderful. i wanted to show that, i was just a child who wanted to be like anyone else. and my father was telling me, why are you different, you are bizarre, way you like this? a major investor fit in. you are bizarre, way you like this? a major investorfit in. my dream was to be masculine, at some point i
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had to escape because i felt that i had to escape because i felt that i had no choice. it was my only way to survive. but before you escaped, perhaps for readers, some of the most shocking passages, in your first book, the memoirs of your childhood. the passages concerned you're ina childhood. the passages concerned you're in a sense, complicity with your violence against you. for example, there were two kids in your school in the small town who repeated the, day after day, beat you up. and they also humiliate you ina you up. and they also humiliate you in a dozen different ways, which i don't have and want to go into, they are so don't have and want to go into, they are so painful to even remember. but you didn't hide from those kids. in fa ct, you didn't hide from those kids. in fact, you sort of, agree to meet them every day in a corridor so that could easily do it to you all over again. no, because the thing is, what i was scared of, i was scared there would beat me up in the middle of the school in front of everyone else so i would hide so they could beat me up in a secret place when
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no—one would see us because the me, i was ashamed of being insulted, i was ashamed, maybe that's worth —— worse than the insult. i was ashamed of saying i suffer. it's a more general thing, it also works on a class issue during my childhood, a lot of people are going to poverty. they were going through misery, going through very difficult things, they would very rarely see that i suffer because they were ashamed of suffering. because of the dominant class and the government make poor people believe that if they suffer it's because of them. they didn't work enough, they didn't study enough, at the end what it is created? it created a situation in which people who suffer don't want to say, i suffer. that's why i write books. i want to show people a space where they feel safe to say, i suffer. i want to go to the politics that came to you as you thought
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about what had happened to you through childhood and adolescence. politics is very bottom to you, but before we get there, i want to keep this personalfor a moment longer. i'm intrigued to know, as you have written so intrusively, intimately and intrusively about your mother and intrusively about your mother and father, your siblings, your widerfamily and father, your siblings, your wider family and community, and father, your siblings, your widerfamily and community, do and father, your siblings, your wider family and community, do you feel any sense of responsibility for the hurt you have caused them and for some of the damage you appear to have done to some of them by talking about the neglect, the abuse, the intimidation, the violence that was a part of your daily life. it was pa rt a part of your daily life. it was part of my story to, it was part of my personal history so not saying what it meant to me, not talking about my past or my own experience, ididn't about my past or my own experience, ididn‘t want about my past or my own experience, i didn't want to stop because of that. in a right, ithink i didn't want to stop because of that. in a right, i think i write for gay people, i write for working class in general, i write for people
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who suffer. i did write to please my mother, father, i don't like to be, for me it's much more important to think this way. if i may, what about personal relationships? your mother was furious apparently after the first book came out because apart from anything else, he portrayed her life is so poor and she rejected the notion that she was truly as poor as you had portrayed. and your brother for example, comes out quite badly. you said that he later came to paris looking for you with a baseball bat. this suggests to me that your family with asian ships are extraordinarily difficult. no, in a way, in fact it changed. at the beginning it was very difficult for my mother that is exactly like you said, i saw my mother at that time when i published my first book about my childhood, my mother told me, why do you say we are mother told me, why do you say we are poor? and for me it was very
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striking because in the book i talk about the racism, homophobia, the masculine domination but the most shocking thing for my mother was that i was saying that she is poor. and as i was saying before, she is ashamed of that. she doesn't want people to see that she is poor because she is afraid people will put the responsibility on a shoulder for that. afterwards we started to talk again and when i wrote a book on my father, it's because after published my first novels, one day my father called me and told me, i wa nt to my father called me and told me, i want to see you again. i miss you and i'm proud of you. i'm proud of what you have done and at that time we went speaking for five years. five years of silence. the relationship was much more complex than what they try to make you believe. the book, who killed my father, is an explanation on your terms on how the system killed, not killed because he still alive, but
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damaged your father. he was a working class man who worked in a factory, injured at work, he could no longer work and the government withdrew his benefit so he had to go back as a street sweeper onto the street. your contention seems to be that not just him street. your contention seems to be that notjust him but a whole swathe of working—class people have a sickly been profoundly damaged by the system. the same the way the economic system works, the working class, it is impossible for the poorest people in france to make anything of themselves. at least it's extremely difficult. as we were saying, when my father was 35 years old, he had an accident at the factory, something fell on him and destroyed his back. several years he was in bed, he was not able to move, he wasn't able to work, he slowly started to work again and at that moment, the french state through the french administration told him, you
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have to go back to work or you will lose your welfare. it was either go back to work in spite of your disastrous health and you will destroy it even more, or we take the wealth that does welfare from you. it's what is going on everywhere. the same thing in great britain with the working class, there was a wonderful movie about that call daniel blake in which a man was sick, he was sick because he is a poor man. he is forced to go back to work in spite of his help. this is structural history, it's collective history, i write in order to fight against that anti— fifa people like my father, not only my father but these people in general. is it not also dehumanising way of looking at working—class people whether it be in britain or france? you're saying they have no agency. it's impossible for such people to make better lives for such people to make better lives for themselves. i don't say that they have no agency, the system is
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withdrawing the agency. what i'm saying is not that they don't have agency, what i'm trying to articulate is how is it possible to give these people the agency again. the freedom, what does it mean, agency when someone was the freedom, what does it mean, agency when someone was destroyed by an accident at a factory? like my father, he is not able to do what he wa nts, father, he is not able to do what he wants, has not able to work he wa nts, wants, has not able to work he wants, of course there are situations and conditions in which the system takes the agency from the people. if we say that the migrants are in the mediterranean and we have to help them, saying they have no agency is saying that europe is not welcoming them and letting them die. you at times seem to be providing excuses for brutality, abuse, all forms of discrimination. going back to your home town, you seem to be saying that many of these people even the two thugs that brutalise you school can be explained by class status. the oppression the system
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put upon them. isn't that simply giving them individually terrible behaviour? what are try to do is understand why they do like this. it doesn't mean to excuse it. i do not like this child who was picking on me during my entire childhood because it was gay. no, he them. but love and understanding are nothing to do with each other. i can try to understand the situation, even if they don't necessarily have personal empathy for the people in this situation. right, but how do you explain that while two kids spat upon you and beat you up every day, the vast majority of kids in your school, who were just as poor and working—class as those two, did not do it. surely then you have to consider a whole bunch of individual circumstances and factors, which sit outside your structural deterministic view of how society works. mm-hmm. no, you are right.
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they know that other people were not doing that. i'm glad. it is less interesting to write about them. it is more interesting to write about the problem and the issues and the issues of violence. for me it is less interesting to write about it. i'd truly believe that all the big very important political movements and the important political writers in the 20th century talked about violence and in talking about violence and in talking about violence they were i'm doing it. like, feminism was a statement about violence. you're saying is a woman you were a victim of violence. antiracism was about violence. and in talking about violence we somehow succeed in and doing it. that is what attracted you in my books when they talk about the most violent situation it is because they truly believe that the more we talk about violence and the more chance we have to undo it. and so the other people,
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let them be, let them exist. let's talk about your association with the yellow vest movement. some have called your most recent book, who killed my father, a manifesto for them. it expresses some of the anger for the system which we see on the streets. are you right behind the form of street protests, even the burning down of banks and shops? wrote this book a year and a half before the movement started. it was published one year before the movement really started. it is not really a manifesto, but probably because of my background and because of my body and my experiences, eye was sensing some things that gilets jaunes are now experiencing —— are expressing, which is this a sense of violence, social exclusion, the
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discrimination against poor people, against working—class people. and also the fact that poor people, politics is a thing. so in talking about my father, took about the day my father met my mother, his relationship with me, and they talk about the political decision made by sarkozy or macron, and watto try to say and address for my father a political decision as intimate as his first kiss. people often say that we have to make the personal political. i'm showing the opposite. the political is intimate and personal. for example, if you are a migrant in germany, where angela merkel said she would welcome i million migrants and if you have your sister or your brother, on days in the mediterranean, because this person will be welcome in germany, this is part of your personal history, part of your intimate history, part of your intimate history, the fact that not going to lose the person you love, you're not
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going to lose your brother... surely thatis going to lose your brother... surely that is angela merkel pursuing a policy which is i was humane and save lives. your message in france is that mainstream politics has utterly failed the working class, the poor of your nation, of france. and you seem to ignore the fact that amongst the gilets jaunes in recent weeks we have seen examples of outright violence, we've seen racism, we've seen homophobia, taunting of gay people, of black people, of muslims. you had your own life blighted by such horrible abuse and discrimination now you to be forgiving it from the gilets jaunes. no, no, i'm very sensible to these things. as a gay man, for me, it is very important. but also for me it is two separate things. if there are some racist people among the lgbt movement, in part of that movement, im demonstrating for lgbt people
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very often about if there are racist people among the lgbt movement you won't say we have to fight against the lgbt movement, you say we have to fight against the the racism. you have to fight against racism, not feminism. so why does it work this way for poor people? it works only when it is for people that we are talking about. we say there is some anti—semitism, which exists, there are some forms of homophobia in the yellow vest movement so we have to fight against the yellow vest movement, we have to fight against poor people, no, we have to fight against anti—semitism, we have to fight against homophobia. it does not mean we have to support these claims of yellow vest for more equality, for a better life, for better... it is about the role populist politics which the gilets jaunes always was from the very beginning. you have dismissed the whole political elite class in france from the socialist alliance,
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to the centre—right chirac. you say they are not interested in helping they are not interested in helping the working class of france. you wa nt the working class of france. you want more populist politics, but my contention is that is a deep danger with populist politics and it can be manipulated. no, i'm not talking about populist politics. i'm talking about populist politics. i'm talking about like more equality and i'm talking about the ability to think at the same moment, the struggle against homophobia and the struggle for poor people and against anti—semitism and for people of colour. watto tried to do is articulate all those together and not dismiss poor people in saying there are some racist and anti—semitic people. it is a com pletely anti—semitic people. it is a completely different struggle. that is why im supporting this movement from the very beginning. from when the yellow vest movement immersed those things that people are saying,
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i cannot pay my rent, cannot feed my child, you know, soon it will be christmas and i'm not able to buy gifts for my children, for christmas, so for me it was the emergence of reality, finally, within the political field. emergence of reality, finally, within the politicalfield. and of course this emergence of truth comes with ugly violent things like homophobia and everything, but we can fight for both and against one and for the other both at the same time. the interesting thing is you have made a better life for yourself in the france of today. you began life as eddy bellegueule, the working—class kid from the north of france. now you are edouard louis, who lives in france as a successful writer. you made it. do you have a strong sense of your own identity today? do you feel working—class and middle—class? today? do you feel working—class and middle-class? no, i'm clearly not working class anymore because they escaped. and they would be very naive and that would be almost violent and lying to say im still a
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working—class boy, but it is likely because they state that they want to fight for people who didn't get the chance to escape. it would be so helpful to say i did it, i'm happy, everything is fine. you escaped, but have you arrive somewhere else? do you now have a sense of belonging somewhere else? i'm a little bit in between everything. that's why our use the fact that a changed my name in order to have a different look at society, at what is going on. and im objectively, in terms of social structure, im part of the dominant class. but the fact that they come from the working class, a use it to challenge the dominant class. and to show the violence they are producing against poor people, people like my mother, people like my father, and against the working class in general. really, tried to be in between in order to be the more just, the more fair that i can be.
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edouard louis it has been a pleasure to have you on hardtalk. thank you very much indeed. thank you. thank you. hello. it has been a largely dry weekend. there's been a bit of sunshine, but it's also felt pretty chilly for this time of year. this was the scene taken on sunday in gosport in hampshire. so some blue skies, some sunshine. but we've had quite a chilly breeze and temperatures have been below par for the middle of april. as we move through this week, still some sunny spells, still some dry weather on the cards. things will be gradually turning warm over the next few days. it won't stay completely dry. we have got a weather front moving in from the west.
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but higher pressure sitting across scandinavia is really winning out at the moment. we've still got quite a cool breeze blowing around that area of low pressure. so the winds coming in from the east of the south—east, but milder air not far away. that will be more of a player later this week. now, we start off monday morning still on quite a cold note. could be a touch of frost in the countryside, with temperatures below freezing in a few spots. through the day, though, lots of sunshine for many areas. not everywhere. particularly in the west, we've got more cloud. outbreaks of patchy rain for parts of northern ireland, west wales, the south—west of england. also a bit cloudier for the east coast of england and eastern scotland with a few spots of drizzle. temperatures just 8 degrees or so in aberdeen. in the sunnier spells, 13 or 14 celsius. a little warmer than it has been through the course of the weekend. through the week ahead, eventually we wave goodbye to the blue colours and we welcome in a return to this milder and a drifting up from the south. bringing that increase in the temperature. it won't be dry everywhere on tuesday. because we've got a weak front
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which isjust lingering through the irish sea, bringing some patchy rain to the west of scotland, northern ireland, wales, and the south—west of england. either side of that cloud and rain, we'll see some drier weather with some sunshine. temperatures in the warmer spots up to 15. still rather cool around some of those exposed north sea coasts. with a little bit of patchy mist, particularly for wales, the south—west of england. that should clear. a bit of patchy cloud here and there. all in all a dry and fine day. the top averages up to 17 or 18 in the south, even the mid—teens for the north. certainly a bit of a warmer spell of weather. that warmer drier theme continues into thursday does a warmer spell. so we've got a gentle breeze coming in from the south—east. just the chance of an isolated shower. but i think for the vast majority of places it is dry and bright. and we could well see 19 or 20 celsius by the time we get to thursday, particularly in the south. even further north. temperatures in the mid or even the high teens. so doing well for the time of year.
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and it looks like the mostly dry warm weather continues with the easter weekend, just the chance of light rain in the far north—west. 00:28:06,696 --> 4294966103:13:29,430 bye for now.
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