The concert of tributes to Gisèle Halimi (Tunis, July 27, 1927-Paris, 28 July 2020) has unanimously stressed the magnitude of the causes in which the lawyer franco-tunisian has devoted her life to.
as a lawyer, member of parliament, a writer, she took hold of affairs that it has managed to gain through his way of pleading, while contributing to make the move, over a long time, a political order and sexual that she has experienced in his own flesh.
This woman, figure of the Twentieth century in the boil, has encountered situations that have left a trace, both written and oral, and dug furrows in France, in north africa and to Palestine.
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Becoming a lawyer in Tunisia colonized
The childhood and adolescence of Gisèle Halimi, born Taïeb, are taking place in a jewish family, tunisian, traditional, and conservative. His character and his revolts are carved by class and gender structuring a society colonized, which opened up, thanks to the French nationality of his father, the doors of the school. His family situation, structures their aspirations of emancipation, and its culture is being shaped with the struggles of field.
The Kahéna, heroin, judeo-berber of the Seventh century opposed the umayyad occupation, inspired him to a "novel" (2006) from the information available.
Gisèle Halimi mentions it in his Memoirs, the anti-semitism of his teacher, and recounts episodes become memorable. she remembers, among other things, the mobilization nationalist of April 9, 1938.
Kaïs Saïed, a candidate at the second round of the presidential elections in tunisia October 2019, recalled that his father would take him to bike for the young teenager to the high school to protect her from the German police in occupied countries (17 November 1942-13 may 1943). Thanks to a scholarship and money earned through individual courses, the bachelor of 17 years continues at the Sorbonne to study law and philosophy, and the experience of racism in metropolitan france.
She obtained her law degree in 1947 and enrolled in 1949 at the bar of Tunis, dominated by the French lawyers.
She saw the outbreak of violence and repression that took place in 1952 as a trainee of the military courts assigned to the defence of nationalist tunisians, including Habib Bourguiba, president of the Republic of tunisia between 1957 and 1987.
a Lawyer in the trial of El Alia (near Philippeville/Skikda), the name of the massacres that occurred in 1955 between guerrillas of the FLN, and then, in retaliation, by the French army in the region of the Constantinois of Algeria, she became aware of the practice of torture and of the use to obtain confessions, to justify death sentences.
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She moved to France in 1956, just before independence, and the promulgation of the personal status Code, which contributes to give to the young Republic of tunisia the reputation of a pioneer on the place of women in the family and in society.
a Witness, while being the object of discrimination, it is committed to working alongside the national liberation Front (FLN) of algeria and defends, in 1958, thirty activists algerians with the military Tribunal of Algiers, and then, in 1960, Djamila Boupacha, who was accused of having planted a bomb, tortured and raped in the jails of france.
The lawyer gets of the painter Picasso, a portrait for the campaign that she organised for his release in favor of the agreements of Évian in 1962.
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take Action and write for the rights of women
Of France, Gisèle Halimi continues his stance against torture, and undertook many steps to obtain the grace of insurgents and militants sentenced to death.
After May 1968 (and not changed the relationship of gender), the political struggle of the lawyer borrows another frame : the right of women to control their bodies and reproductive freedom.
She joins Simone de Beauvoir and Jean‑Paul Sartre, to found, in 1971, the movement to Choose the cause of women and sign, with many celebrities, the " Manifesto of the 343 sluts who have had abortions ".
Despite the risk of sanctions, it puts itself bravely in the camp of the accused in the trial of Bobigny (1972) : "I had an abortion, I committed this crime" is to try to strike the conscience of judges and explain to them the necessity of leaving this medical procedure in the country illegally.
She managed to obtain the release of Marie-Claire Chevalier, a young girl of 17 years old who admits to having had an abortion after her rape. While treating his technique and his rhetoric of defense, it continues to spill over the walls of the courts and, without overstepping the strict rules of the avocature, to raise awareness of the whole society by publishing in 1973 The Cause of women. The law legalizing voluntary interruption of pregnancy (the so-called Veil law) was passed in 1974 and became refundable by the social Security when Gisèle Halimi became member of parliament for Isère in 1982.
during the trial in Aix-en-Provence in 1978, she defends two belgian tourists have been raped by three men in Marseille. It mediates wisely the trial, continuing its strategy to change the look of the company against a violation of human dignity and to evolve the French law. It declares, indeed, in 1980 the crime of rape as a crime punishable by prison.
feminism tunisia, for its part, advanced to the force of law, with the stroke of the investigations, pleadings and the drafting of a text.
the 12th Congress of the tunisian Association of democratic women, in Tunis, on 13 April 2018. © Omegatak, CC BY
Several women activists in tunisia, like the mp Bochra Belhaj Hmida and lawyers, Sana Ben Achour, Hafidha Chekir or Monia Ben Jemia, belonging in particular to the wave of protests in the 1980s, were marked by the efficiency of this politician who, as a French mep, is calling for the abolition of the death penalty (1981), and the decriminalisation of homosexuality (1982). These words are today echoed in the claims of organizations such as the tunisian Association of democratic women.
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anti-colonialist until the end
a Native of a colonised country, it has forged a sensitivity to the oppressed of the world system. As for abortion, rape and torture, the commitment of Gisèle Halimi for the occupied countries denotes a breath and a continuity.
Member of the international Tribunal for war crimes Bertrand Russell, she is an observer of the Vietnam war in 1967. Later, in quality of ambassador and permanent delegate of France to Unesco (1985-1986) and chair of the committee on conventions and recommendations of Unesco (1985-1987), it contributes to advancing the equality of women within these international organizations.
In the wake of the social struggles in France (1988-1998), she participated in founding the Association for the taxation of financial transactions and for citizens ' action (Attac) in 1998 and has been involved in the drafting of the articles of association to develop a vision which tries to counteract the inequalities of the neoliberal system.
the name of the same ideal of freedom, it defends the palestinian cause, through several fora, including in 2010 and in 2014, condemning the armed intervention of Israel. In order not to be complicit in the silence to " people with bare hands ", the lawyer's associates committee Bertrand Russell to Palestine in 2009 and has joined the committee for the defense of palestinian activist Marwan Barghouti.
Master Gisèle Halimi leaves a world in upheaval, in particular in the relations between the sexes. His experiences as a jewish feminist, internationalist and "intersectionnaliste" before the letter, as his actions, have changed the presence and visibility of women in the public space.
Goldsmith is passionate about political communication, she deserves that one or more of his fifteen books are translated into Arabic in order to fill a vacuum as amazing as a sterilant, so that the generations share the evolution of the complex relationship between law and justice in the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries, and the steps in the slow march towards equality between men and women.p>
* Kmar Bendana is a research fellow at the Higher Institute of History of National Movement (ISHMN), professor of modern history at the University of Manouba (Tunisia) and research associate at the Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain. She is a specialist in the history of culture and intellectuals in Tunisia in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries.