At the Maison des Métallos in the 11th arrondissement, a poster announces a play that is currently running at the theatre inside. Nothing exceptional about that, but pasted on the window outside is a second banner from a feminist pressure group. This has not been put here in protest at what is playing inside, but rather in support of the writer and actress of the play, Rayhana, who last week was attacked on her way to a performance. The play, called 'A mon age je me cache encore pour fumer' ('at my age I still hide when I smoke') discusses the role of women in Algeria, and is critical of men in this society.
Taking such a position should not present any problems in France, but the Maison des Metallos just happens to be opposite one of the most radical Mosques in Paris. Rayhana was attacked from behind, covered in white spirit, then had a cigarette thrown at her, by people, she believes, who knew who she was and what she had produced.
On a more trivial note, in the Metro, a striking poster but with something very clearly missing. If you can't guess what is absent, scroll down to the same poster that is visible just about everywhere else, including just outside the Metro station concerned.
"Dieu est un fumeur de Havanes" sang Serge Gainsbourg, but not in the Paris Metro. The producers of the film had carefully designed a poster that showed the singer smoking, but without a cigarette. Not acceptable to the RATP though who feared attacks from anti-smoking groups for promoting tobacco'.
Smoking kills so we hide it away. Stupidity kills but it is all too visible.