François Hollande denounced “a decline in understanding” of secularism, which is according to him “the consecration of freedom”, on the sidelines of a trip this Wednesday to a college and high school in Courbevoie (Hauts-de-Seine) , where he came to talk to the students about this topic.
“It can be learned, secularism, it does not go without saying, not like freedom, equality, fraternity, which are values that we feel very young”, said the former head of the State. Following the assassination and beheading of Samuel Paty, a history teacher, who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a course on free speech, the former president embarked on a tour of ‘establishments that ask for it to explain the values of the Republic to students.
A “chance”, not a “hindrance”
He was in several colleges in Brittany last week and plans to visit New Aquitaine next week. “I think there is a decline in the understanding of what secularism represents, such as luck and freedom. It is often experienced, and not only by young people, as an obstacle to freedom when it is precisely the consecration of freedom ”, he said.
The former head of state explained that he went to establishments which ask for it “to show students that they have the chance to live in France, compared to other countries which do not have the same conception as us. secularism, where there is a state religion, where we cannot necessarily believe in everything we want, where we are pursued, chased and even sent to prison because we have convictions ”.
Materials intended for teaching
“I’m doing it also because I think it’s my role as former president, in a very difficult time – the Covid crisis, the attacks, what happened with Samuel Paty – to go to young people to make them understand what our institutions are and what they can represent for them, in terms of freedom and the possibility of emancipation ”. “Do we have to change the law of 1905? Certainly not ! ”, He also affirmed.
François Hollande has written two books in recent months, aimed at a young audience, one on the Republic, the other on the state, and has recorded eleven videos of one to two minutes each, in which he explains the role of the State, institutions or the values of the Republic, which it makes available to teachers who wish to do so “to serve as a support” for their teaching.