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Le Pen Bests Jospin, Will Run Against Chirac

April 25, 2002

Re "Far-Rightist Le Pen Is Mighty in France," April 22: Before we are inundated with lamentations about the second-place showing of rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of the French election for president, permit me to give a little of the other side.

The French were given a terrible set of 16 candidates. Three were Trotskyites. Where but in France could this happen? And Prime Minister Lionel Jospin is an ex-Trotskyite. He is also a cold, Red Protestant, thus very un-French. Jacques Chirac, the incumbent, is a crook but at least a Catholic, thus a bona fide Frenchman.

The French are most appalled by the activities of what I would call Islamo-Bolsheviks. The attacks by Muslims on Jews and synagogues were appalling to the French, even if most of them don't give a fig for Israel or for Jews. But Muslim violence, both political and criminal, is a threat to French identity. Immigration is a real issue and Le Pen is a sort of French Pat Buchanan. One can deplore populist, anti-immigrant voters, but excessive immigration can pose a threat to national identity in this country as well as in France. To fear immigrants does not make one a fascist. Leftists always call their opponents fascists.

Norman Ravitch

Professor of History, Emeritus

UC Riverside

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Isn't it interesting that when reporting the elections in France, The Times refers to Le Pen as the "far-right" or "extremist" candidate. I noticed that you did not refer to the socialist candidate as the "far-left extremist" candidate. Perhaps your paper could work on confining your bias to the opinion pages. I'm not holding my breath.

Marte Amato

Huntington Beach

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Le Pen pulled an electoral upset in France because he opposes the leftist policies that have flooded his country with Third World immigrants who drain the economy and contribute mightily to the explosive crime rate in that country. Perhaps there is a lesson for us here. Vive Le Pen!

Arthur Hansl

Santa Monica

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While your April 23 article ("Europe's Drift to the Right Is Seen as a Wake-Up Call for Democracy") is sobering, we also have a "rise of right-wing nationalists who are playing on voters' fears of crime, unemployment and immigration." These right-wingers seem to have taken over the Republican Party and are presently exerting undue influence in the White House.

Maybe you need to do a parallel article on the development of this phenomenon in the United States. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft is only the most visible of this extremely conservative group. There seems to be a frightening abandonment of American democratic principles and institutions. I think our drift to the right is also a wake-up call for our democracy.

Katherine Rotherham

San Diego

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