Camu o'r Cysgodion: Louise Weiss


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Camu o'r Cysgodion: Louise Weiss

Hanes Louise Weiss - newyddiadurwraig, awdur, gwleidydd ac ymgyrchydd dros sicrhau y bleidlais i ferched yn Ffrainc. Louise Weiss - journalist, author, politician and French suf...


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-On 17 July 1979...

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-..the first directly-elected

-European parliament sat.

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-An 86-year-old woman came forward

-to deliver the opening speech.

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-She was the oldest MEP.

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-She was a pro-European campaigner

-and fought for women's rights.

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-Her name was Louise Weiss.

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-The late 19th century was

-a turbulent time in French history.

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-After the Franco-Prussian War,

-Germany had annexed Alsace.

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-As natives of Alsace, Louise Weiss's

-family was very patriotic.

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-They chose exile over being Germans.

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-Louise was born in 1893

-in the city of Arras.

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-She achieved good grades at school

-and longed for her father's praise.

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-Unfortunately, her father thought

-a woman's place was in the home.

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-This was a wealthy

-upper middle class family.

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-It meant that Louise Weiss

-could afford to study.

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-But to her father, one thing

-was wrong - she was a girl.

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-At the time, women were considered

-to be inferior citizens.

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-The only right they had

-was their social duty.

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-Marrying and bearing children.

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-They weren't expected to study.

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-The Weiss family

-had lived in Paris since 1899.

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-Louise had been a fine student.

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-She studied at Lycee Moliere

-and won awards...

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-..but had to hide them

-from her father.

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-This was what she wrote.

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-I was raised in a passionately

-secular atmosphere...

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-..but the moral principles

-mirrored that of the Gospels.

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-But my thirst for knowledge was such

-that it eased the fire of my youth.

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-Her mother was aware

-of her daughter's talents.

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-She encouraged her to succeed

-in her civil service exams...

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-..and keep it from her father.

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-In the summer of 1914, aged 21,

-Louise became the youngest person...

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-..to earn France's highest

-educational diploma.

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-On 1 August,

-the city bells rang out...

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-..to signal the start

-of the First World War.

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-Frenchmen were called to battle.

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-As the German army drew closer,

-the people of northern France fled.

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-Like thousands of others,

-the Weiss family fled from Paris...

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-..to a house they owned

-in Saint-Quai-Potrieux, Brittany.

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-As a civil servant...

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-..Louise Weiss didn't want

-to carry on as a teacher...

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-..so she resigned.

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-She was eager to help refugees

-who were pouring into Brittany.

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-This was the start of her work

-as a humanitarian campaigner.

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-To understand the motives

-for the killing...

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-..and hoping to find solutions

-to secure a peaceful future...

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-..Louise returned to Paris.

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-She started work as a journalist

-and attended conferences.

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-At a conference, she met a Czech

-officer called Milan Stefanik.

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-He was the man who showed Louise

-how to dedicate herself seriously...

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-..to a cause about which she was

-passionate, and change situations.

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-Stefanik was an advocate

-of free and independent states.

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-Louise seized upon a dream of

-an Europe based on people's rights.

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-In January 1918, Louise established

-a magazine called L'Europe Nouvelle.

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-The New Europe.

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-On 11 November 1918,

-the war came to an end.

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-But the young journalist

-was betrayed by Milan Stefanik.

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-He chose to play a part

-in the creation of Czechoslovakia...

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-..alongside an Italian woman.

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-Louise never saw him again.

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-For Louise Weiss, it was

-the end of a glorious romance.

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-Afterwards, she found it difficult

-to form another relationship.

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-Heartbroken, Louise Weiss focused

-all her energy on her magazine...

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-..and the fight to establish

-an European confederation.

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-In 1919, she was present when

-the Treaty of Versailles was signed.

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-But she disagreed with the way

-France belittled Germany...

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-..and how victorious states

-oppressed the defeated states.

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-Her magazine echoed her opinion

-that Europe couldn't move on...

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-..without its people

-being reconciled.

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-Weiss dreamt of a humanitarian

-and cultural Europe.

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-An Europe of the people.

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-For Louise Weiss, a stable Europe

-had to conquer xenophobia...

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-..and required a supranational

-Parliament to change existing laws.

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-Her magazine became a laboratory

-for new ideas and innovation.

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-If only the politicians and leaders

-could understand and negotiate...

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-..then a Parliament could become

-a genuine political option.

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-The desire for peace

-had to be promoted.

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-The elite had to be educated

-about that desire.

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-Louise Weiss was a supporter

-of the League of Nations...

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-..which favoured talks

-over waging war.

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-She became friends

-with Aristide Briand...

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-..who led

-Franco-German reconciliation.

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-They both believed

-that nationalism led to war.

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-Aristide Briand was called

-an apostle of peace.

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-His ideas appealed to others

-and suited Louise Weiss.

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-He knew that she could

-ensure good publicity.

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-Louise Weiss knew

-that she had to educate people.

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-Near the Ministry

-of Foreign Affairs...

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-..she established

-the College of Peace.

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-She hoped it would influence

-the leaders of the future...

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-..and persuade them

-to be unconditional pacifists.

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-We want to know

-why wars occur, and when...

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-..and under what conditions.

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-If we understood this, maybe

-we can learn how to prevent wars.

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-30 January 1933.

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-To everyone's surprise,

-Hitler came to power...

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-..and shattered

-the European dream.

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-In France,

-Aristide Briand's hopes were dashed.

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-There was now no hope of peace.

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-War loomed on the horizon,

-and Louise Weiss faced a choice.

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-If her magazine carried on...

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-..it could have become a voice

-for Nazis and Fascists.

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-Louise Weiss

-didn't consider that a choice.

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-She preferred to give it up.

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-The title of her final editorial,

-on 3 February 1934, was...

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-..."We will never

-make a pact with Hitler."

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-Then she left, her dream of a united

-and peaceful Europe in pieces.

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-In the 1930s, France suffered

-a deep economic recession.

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-Unemployment was high,

-and living conditions had plummeted.

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-The country was on its knees.

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-Women remained without a voice.

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-Fighting for women's rights

-at that time would seem crazy.

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-But Louise Weiss began her new

-campaign, in the name of justice.

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-Aged 40,

-independent and childless...

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-..she threw all her energy

-into the fight for women's suffrage.

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-Political equality

-between men and women.

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-She wanted to be politically active,

-but found she couldn't do much...

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-..because women

-didn't have the right to vote.

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-Maybe she campaigned for women's

-suffrage out of necessity.

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-But male politicians weren't ready

-to change the electoral system.

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-Their answers to the calls

-from feminists were definite...

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-..but also shameful.

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-They gave the impression...

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-..women were stupid and incapable

-and would cause chaos.

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-They created caricatures of women

-who dared to insist on their rights.

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-In 1934, to support

-her commitment to feminism...

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-..Louise Weiss established

-La Femme Nouvelle, the new woman...

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-..a centre to publicize

-women's suffrage.

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-The journalist

-who fought in the shadows...

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-..was about to emerge

-into the light.

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-Women the world over

-have the right to vote...

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-..except in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia,

-Switzerland and France.

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-How can such a situation continue?

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-She proposed female candidates

-in some elections...

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-..even though the system

-didn't support them.

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-She also encouraged women

-in Paris to vote.

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-In 1935, she decided to stand

-in Paris's civic elections...

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-..even though this was illegal.

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-She set up her HQ in a cafe

-that was usually frequented by men.

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-Equality between the sexes had

-become more important than ever...

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-..especially political equality.

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-Securing the vote would enable women

-to introduce measures...

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-..to allow them take their rightful

-place in the economic hierarchy.

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-On election day, accomplished orator

-Weiss set up stalls on streets...

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-..to encourage women to vote.

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-Her efforts were met

-with a savage reaction.

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-There was a lot of facetiousness,

-and much press attention.

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-Louise Weiss

-wasn't afraid of the journalists.

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-The attention actually suited her.

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-The police decided that she was

-a public nuisance, and stopped her.

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-She responded by trying to persuade

-her fellow pacifists.

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-There was no better persuader

-than Louise Weiss.

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-.

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-Subtitles

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-Subtitles

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-In 1936, equality was on the agenda

-of the Popular Front party.

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-Three women were appointed

-to posts in government.

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-But politicians refused calls

-for a universal vote.

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-The left believed

-that giving women the vote...

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-..would be like

-giving the vote to priests.

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-The right feared...

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-..that women would fall into

-the clutches of the trades unions.

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-Louise Weiss viewed the left and

-right's opposition as hypocritical.

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-She was angry, and couldn't fathom

-her fellow campaigners' silence.

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-Why wouldn't they rebel?

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-These workers who were paid less

-than men doing the same jobs.

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-These shop owners

-who couldn't litigate...

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-..without their husbands'

-permission?

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-These mothers who had no authority

-over their children?

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-All these women who were wronged

-but still paid their taxes.

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-For Louise Weiss,

-it was a constant battle.

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-She increased her activities.

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-She and a handful of campaigners

-occupied Longchamp racecourse...

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-..before the Grand Prix race.

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-She wanted to bring the campaign

-for women's suffrage to the fore.

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-In July, she organized a big protest

-at the Place de la Bastille.

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-Feminists burnt chains in front

-of the memorial to people's freedom.

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-All the protests were non-violent,

-dignified and enlightened.

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-After the government

-refused to give women the vote...

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-..Louise Weiss

-took the matter to the Senate.

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-The senators used to go to brothels

-after their meetings.

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-The feminists jumped into vehicles

-reserved for the senators...

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-..and chastised them.

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-"You know you are at fault."

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-One senator complained

-during a Senate speech.

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-"These women are terrifying,

-they disturb us all very much."

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-For the male politicians...

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-..these women were transgressing

-in the worst possible way.

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-Louise Weiss

-was a tireless campaigner...

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-..but history impeded her.

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-War broke out after Hitler

-attacked Austria in 1938...

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-..then destroyed Czechoslovakia.

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-When fighting started, she felt

-that she had failed in every field.

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-Europe, peace and women's rights

-had all gone up in smoke.

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-When the Germans

-reached Paris in 1940...

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-..Louise Weiss

-had to consider her own safety.

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-Her mother was Jewish.

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-Her name was on a list of people

-to be arrested and exiled.

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-Her flat and her property

-was to be seized by the government.

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-Consequently, Louise Weiss

-needed anonymity and false papers.

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-Was this to oppose the regime

-or in order to disappear?

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-It remains a mystery.

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-In her autobiography, she states...

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-..that she founded a resistance

-magazine called The New Republic.

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-This must have been a risk for her.

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-She was both Jewish and well-known.

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-She claims to have found a network

-to publish her secret magazine...

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-..but there is no evidence of this.

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-This murky period in her life

-would be an obstacle to her forever.

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-It seems that Louise Weiss lost

-her place in history at that time.

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-In 1944, she witnessed victory...

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-..in a cause

-for which she had long battled.

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-On 21 April in Algiers, foreseeing

-the French democracy's future...

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-..General De Gaulle announced that

-women would be allowed to vote.

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-They did so for the first time

-in the 1945 elections.

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-With no cause to fight for,

-it was time for a new campaign.

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-Louise Weiss

-felt a need to be acknowledged.

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-Maybe, after WW2, she would find

-a field where that would happen.

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-Weiss liked to travel.

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-As a journalist, she liked

-to describe the world to people.

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-She turned to film-making.

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-To do that,

-she had to choose a director.

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-She arranged interviews

-for someone to operate the camera.

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-Unexpectedly,

-she chose Georges Bourdelon...

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-..who would work with her

-for over 20 years.

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-Georges was only 23

-when he attended the interview.

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-At the end of the interview,

-she said...

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-.."I expect you in Beirut

-in a week's time."

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-Louise Weiss travelled the world...

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-..from India to Japan,

-from Madagascar to Alaska...

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-..via Djibouti,

-China and even Zanzibar.

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-Distance or difficult filming

-conditions, nothing would stop her.

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-She was an instinctive adventurer.

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-Georges was always amazed

-by this woman's resilience.

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-She had an incredible capacity

-to persevere.

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-Due to her journalistic

-background...

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-..she had a wide network

-of connections.

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-As a diplomat, doors opened for her.

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-She successfully filmed

-where few had previously done so.

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-One of Georges's favourite scenes

-was an Indian choura ceremony.

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-Usually, self-flagellation

-at a choura is very private...

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-..but the local imam

-gave Louise permission to film.

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-Her only remaining campaign...

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-..was the idea

-that clashes could be avoided...

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-..if we became more familiar

-with other people and cultures.

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-We can't stimulate general peace

-through anthropomorphic religions.

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-Mankind in the future...

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-..will need a changed relationship

-with the divine.

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-But her films didn't attract

-the audience she desired.

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-Around then, in Paris, she began

-to write novels, plays and essays.

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-She tirelessly sought her place

-in history through her literature.

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-She wanted to share her story,

-either via fiction or memoirs.

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-This was also a tribute

-to her political ambitions.

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-But despite her perseverance,

-her publications and awards...

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-..Louise Weiss' literature

-wasn't the success that she craved.

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-Once again, this was her fate.

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-But history was kinder

-in her battle for Europe.

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-In 1979, the first European

-Parliament elections were held.

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-They put her in the spotlight.

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-Jacques Chirac, the Paris mayor,

-was seeking credible candidates...

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-..to change his party's

-nationalist image.

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-Jacques Chirac had a problem

-with the 1979 European elections.

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-He opposed direct votes

-for the European Parliament...

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-..and he only had a handful

-of female candidates on his list.

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-Chirac invited Louise Weiss

-to be a candidate on the list...

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-..that would build the new Europe.

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-It would silence

-those who claimed that his list...

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-..was populated by opponents

-of a united Europe.

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-Louise Weiss would underline their

-support for the European dream.

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-But his strategy

-inspired a scheme by Weiss.

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-She insisted

-on being fifth on his list...

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-..in order to be present

-during the vote.

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-She knew that she would be elected

-a member of the European Parliament.

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-The first one

-to be directly elected.

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-Furthermore, she was 86

-at the time of the election...

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-..she knew she'd be the oldest MEP

-and would make the opening speech.

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-Louise Weiss was spot on.

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-She was elected a Member

-of the European Parliament.

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-For the lifelong campaigner

-for a united Europe...

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-..delivering the opening speech

-was the greatest honour of her life.

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-She took great care

-when writing the speech.

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-As usual, Louise

-took the matter seriously.

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-She rehearsed her speech

-in front of a film director friend.

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-After a light breakfast

-at her home, she said...

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-.."I'm going to read my opening

-speech for the European Parliament."

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-I felt she was about to cry

-because she spoke as actors do...

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-..when they convey

-a great depth of feeling.

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-Even though she was emotional,

-she was also very restrained.

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-17 July 1979.

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-As a journalist, author

-and film producer...

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-..neither my ink nor my images

-ever betrayed my faith.

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-At this moment, it doesn't feel

-that I have spent this century...

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-..or travelled the world

-in order to attend this meeting.

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-She really enjoyed the experience.

0:22:220:22:24

-It was the realization

-of a childhood dream...

0:22:240:22:27

-..but at the end of her life.

0:22:280:22:31

-Louise Weiss remained an MEP

-until her death in 1983...

0:22:350:22:40

-..when she was over 90 years old.

0:22:400:22:42

-Europe, this idealistic

-20th century idea...

0:22:430:22:46

-..had become reality.

0:22:460:22:48

-Even so, few in Brussels

-now remember this woman...

0:22:490:22:52

-..who campaigned so hard

-for her dream.

0:22:520:22:56

-Not by admiring our forefathers

-should we choose our actions.

0:23:010:23:05

-Nothing should diminish

-our vision of the future.

0:23:050:23:09

-We should avoid being

-classical versions of ourselves.

0:23:090:23:13

-History moves forward.

0:23:140:23:15

-What was impossible yesterday

-becomes possible tomorrow.

0:23:160:23:20

-S4C Subtitles by Testun Cyf.

0:23:520:23:54

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0:23:540:23:55

Hanes Louise Weiss - newyddiadurwraig, awdur, gwleidydd ac ymgyrchydd dros sicrhau y bleidlais i ferched yn Ffrainc. Louise Weiss - journalist, author, politician and French suffragette.