By Evi Tsakali,
When applying for a position at a conference I participated in a few months ago, one of the questions in the application form was to write who we would like to invite to the conference as a guest speaker if we could invite anyone in the world; my answer, without any hesitation, was Christiane Taubira. Unfortunately, we did not have her as a guest speaker, but apparently, 2022 would surprise me with her announcing her candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections on Saturday, 15th January, in Lyon. In her speech, she also stated some of her priorities, including “youth emancipation” via a monthly stipend of €800 for students without the condition of financial resources, the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers for public hospitals, and —regarding ecological matters— a 0% VAT on bioproducts.
Who is Christiane Taubira?
Christiane Taubira was born on February 2nd, 1952 in Cayenne, in French Guiana, one of the French overseas territories (Territoires d’Outre-mer, or TOM). She has been an MP of the Assemblée Nationale (the French National Assembly) for the French Guiana from 1993 to 2012 and an MP of the European Parliament from 1994 to 1999. She has also served as France’s Minister of Justice (Garde des Sceaux) from 2012 to 2016 during François Hollande’s presidency.
Her contribution to French politics and its humanitarian impact
Christiane Taubira played a pivotal role in the adoption of the May 21st 2001 law that recognized the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as a crime against humanity. She is also known and appreciated for introducing, as the Minister of Justice in 2013, the law that legalized same-sex marriage in France usually referred to as “Loi Taubira” (the law of Taubira) or “Mariage pour Tous” (Marriage for All).
As a woman of color in office in such a prominent ministry as the Ministry of Justice, Taubira has been a victim of racist rhetoric and hate comments. One of the most characteristic incidents was when the right-wing weekly Minute published a photo of Christiane Taubira under the caption “Clever as a monkey, Taubira finds the banana”, which was condemned by the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights.
These days, only some months away from the presidential elections of France in April, with the conservative candidate of the Republicans Valérie Pécresse and the extreme right candidates Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour gaining ground, we are only intrigued to see how the addition of a personality like Taubira in the electoral arena will affect the polls as well as how she will realize her vision of uniting the fragmented Left until April. The elections’ outcome, even that of the first round, will be indicative of whether France is actually ready for a progressive female President of color, and what awaits the country the next day…
- À Madame Christiane Taubira, pour son futur gouvernement, huffingtonpost.fr, Available here
- Présidentielle: Officiellement candidate, Christiane Taubira veut remporter la primaire populaire, lejdd.fr, Available here