He is the man who divides France. L’Express went to interrogate the infectiologist at length in his office. An exciting, uplifting … and electric interview!
From the Marseille Saint-Charles station, in line with the taxis, the small assembly of drivers is barely cheering when we have pronounced the address: IHU, 19, boulevard Jean-Moulin. “Raoult ?! They are going to see Raoult! No need for your masks, huh, keep them for Paris! Here, we don’t have the corona, we have Raoult!” The tone is set. Since the beginning of the epidemic, with his blouse, his long hair, his skull ring and his glasses, Professor Didier Raoult has embodied one of these Roland Barthes-like characters from whom national mythologies are made. An image he maintains, in his charges in good standing against Paris, the mainstream or studies – “hacked!”, he thunders – which pile up, each time more mixed as to the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19. The reading of his works had intrigued us: how does a great infectiologist, claimed elitist, libertarian, pro-immigration, pro-globalization, suddenly find himself an icon of antisystems? Who is Didier Raoult? And what exactly does he think? It was with the project of questioning him also on his ideas – and not only on the medical controversy – that we sought and obtained a long interview.
READ OUR INTERVIEW >> Didier Raoult: “Politicians are all holograms”
Marseille, therefore. “I finished a monument more durable than brass.” In the sheltered alley which leads to the IHU, the sentence of Horace graffiti (in Latin!) On a wall plucks the visitor. Punctual, the master of the premises immediately showered the hopes of the photographer, who hoped to obtain a photograph posed for the cover: “I am not an actor.” Certainly. One would swear however that it happens to him to play the comedy, when it storms, lustful and morigene before leaving (sometimes) in a burst of laughter. He did not spare us: one fan per question approximately (we chose to leave them). His office is Ali Baba’s cave for those who want to find signs to analyze. There are so many, moreover, that we end up wondering if that is not to confuse the counter semiologist who would like to attempt a Chinese portrait: paintings in his effigy, framed Latin quotes, memories of trips, photos with the last four presidents of the Republic – “I also have my father’s with de Gaulle; I did with what I had on hand, huh” …
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The man drinks from a screen-printed mug of two photos – side by side – one of him, one by Emmanuel Macron – which states “Raoult 1 – Macron 0”. And yet he is rather lenient towards the head of state – it must be said that the latter came to his office to see him, with the aid of cameras. For the rest, Raoult sulfate everywhere.
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“I am a caricature of French”
The media? “This ‘right to say’ that you enjoyed, we dispute it, we steal it from you. We don’t care about you. Now, we say things ourselves.”
How dangerous is his treatment? “How can we invent that one of the most prescribed drugs in the world is something frighteningly toxic? We have repeated it so much from morning to night that we have fallen into madness. Doliprane, the leading cause of intoxication in the world, is much more dangerous than hydroxychloroquine! ”
Paris? “There is a brain drain. The current level of people at the College de France, compared to its past, is incredible. You would have to put Piketty and Todd there. At the time, they went to look for Bourdieu and Foucault. We will have to realize this Parisian decline. ”
The obligation to vaccinate? “It was made in a Stalinist logic.”
Policies ? “For three five years, I find that the casting is holograms.”
We pass, and still greener. Whoever defines himself as “a caricature of French” likes to invoke the figures of Cyrano or d’Artagnan. For over an hour and a half, we asked him the questions. And insisted when he eluded. Now for the readers to get their idea.
Find Anne Rosencher in the C dans l’air program on France 5 at 5:50 p.m. on the subject.
* The interview was carried out before publication,in The Lancet, of a large study which concludes that no benefit from hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for patients with Covid-19, but points to higher mortality and an increased risk of heart rhythm disorders, in particular for the hydroxychloroquine and azythromycin association defended by Didier Raoult.