Fixing France w/ Nabila Ramdani & Barbara Serra

20 Mar 2024 – 18:00 GMT
Oxford Literary Festival
Oxford Martin School
Lecture Theatre
University of Oxford
34 Broad Street

Join Nabila Ramdani as she probes the fault lines of the Fifth Republic with journalist and Sky News presenter Barbara Serra.

Ramdani was born and brought up in a neglected Paris suburb and says the romanticised and revolutionary land of liberté, egalité and fraternité is failing its citizens and its admirers around the world. She examines the fault lines in the nation and finds an all-powerful president with little interest in democracy, the danger of a far-right figure as head of state, segregated suburbs, institutional rioting, economic injustice, discrimination, paramilitary policing and a duplicitous foreign policy. She says constitutional reform is needed to fix it.

About the book

France—the romanticised, revolutionary land of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity for all—is failing. Reform is urgently needed. This book is a powerful indictment of the status quo, and a highly original perspective on the challenges to which the nation must rise.

Nabila Ramdani is not from the establishment elite: she is a marginalised insider, born and raised in a neglected Paris suburb. With unflinching clarity, she probes the fault lines of her struggling country, exposing the Fifth Republic as an archaic system which emerged from Algeria’s cataclysmic War of Independence.

Today, a monarchical President Macron shows little interest in democracy, while a far-right party founded by Nazi collaborators threatens to replace him. Segregation, institutionalised rioting, economic injustice, the debasement of women, a monolithic education system, deep-seated racial and religious discrimination, paramilitary policing, terrorism and extremism, and a duplicitous foreign policy all fuel the growing crisis.

Yet Ramdani offers real hope: the broken French Republic can, and must, be fixed.

About the speakers

Nabila Ramdani works as an academic and journalist covering France and the Arab and Muslim worlds. She has worked in the BBC Paris bureau and for Sky News, Al Jazeera, and CNN. She has also taught at the University of Michigan and at Jesus College, Oxford.

Barbara Serra is an award-winning journalist, TV presenter, documentary-maker and author. She’s been presenting on Sky News since October 2023. From 2006 to 2022 she anchored Al Jazeera English’s flagship NewsHour programme from the channel’s European headquarters in London, and reported extensively from Europe and the Middle East. She is currently writing a book based on her award-winning documentary Fascism in the Family.

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