French retain humor though shocked, shocked by extent of NSA espionage

Le Monde online debuts a novel feature today: articles en anglais. Prompting the presence of some English-language items is the Paris daily’s exposé of the degree to which the United States’ National Security Agency has been monitoring, well, everybody – including citizens of France.

patateNSA: un système géant d’espionnage mondial,” declares the banner headline. Beneath it are several sidebar articles, including, in a welcome mat from readers across the Channel and across the Pond, many with English titles and text. Examples: “Inside the NSA’s web of surveillance” and “France in the crosshair: Wanadoo and Alcatel targeted.”

There is much anger reported at these revelations. A leader of the National Assembly admitted that the fact that the NSA is surveilling France is not surprising. But he continued (my translation):

‘[T]he real discovery in this affair is the extent and the systematic nature of these wiretaps. These practices … damage considerably the image of this great democratic nation and question its conception of the world and of fundamental liberties.’

Despite that dark apparent reference to the United States’ global stature, a few cartoonists have approached the news with humor, telling the story “en patates.” The video published by Le Monde recounts the experiences of the “Lafrite” family  – the mother who works for Alcatel, the son who uses social media to keep in touch with a buddy in Turkey, and the father who stays clear of electronics (except to watch webcasts of “Game of Thrones”) – not to mention the sunglass-sporting NSA agent (above) who watches them. The video ends with President-Hollande-as-potato, peering at his own presumably compromised computer.

Comment la NSA vous surveille (expliqué en patates)” is here; Francophones, enjoy.

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