Bitch Nation

Musab Younis

  • Sex, France and Arab Men by Todd Shepard
    Chicago, 317 pp, £37.50, February, ISBN 978 0 226 49327 5

‘It is usually agreed in France,’ the poet and essayist Edouard Roditi wrote in 1962, ‘that Arabs have been gifted with greater manliness than us.’ Algeria had recently won its independence after a long war of liberation, and the loss was experienced by some French men as an emasculation, a feeling reinforced by stories of French soldiers castrated and disembowelled by Algerian fighters. ‘In Africa, it’s OPEN SEASON on Whites,’ the far-right monthly Europe-action proclaimed in 1965. Worse, France was now prey to an ‘Arab invasion’ that was turning France into a ‘bitch nation’.

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