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When Madeleine Chapsal denounced in Saintes...

Published 16 March 2024

Madeleine Chapsal, born in Paris on September 1, 1925, died on the night of March 11 to 12, 2024 in Pouliguen (Loire-Atlantique) in her 99th year. Her funeral is held on March 16, 2024 in Saintes, his favorite city.

Madeleine Chapsal lived a long and rich life as a writer and journalist, notably at L’Express. She was the wife of Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber from 1947 to 1960, and remained very close until his death in 2006. In 2008, she participated in the 3rd International Conference for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Disarmament (RID-NBC) held in Saintes from 9 to 11 May, close to her home. On this occasion, she left her testimony for the film "Disarm and Live!", produced by the Citizens’ Action for Nuclear Disarmament (ACDN), which organized these meetings.

Here is her testimony.

Madeleine Chapsal. I happen to have lived in Saintes for four generations, if I may say so, and when I knew that meetings were taking place there, in addition to the street that bears the name of my grandfather, Chapsal Street, I went there, all the more interested as my exhusband, who was Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, who died two years ago, had written about it -I brought books- and especially had fought against nuclear tests in the Pacific. He had just been appointed Minister of Reforms in the Chirac government, he went to Papeete with General de Bollardière, Father Avril, another religious, deputies, and he said what he thought about it everywhere -he had the Express and when he returned, when he returned to Paris, he was disgusted. He was asked to resign on the grounds that he had not respected the duty of restraint. But when we read everything he writes in his book, which is called Les Fossoyeurs, which appeared in Fixot in 1993, we realize that we have not made much progress, in any case in France. And one of his key arguments is that the power of the military and the military industry, of the subcontracting of armaments, is so powerful that even the best-intentioned politicians have a hard time opposing it, alas.

ACDN-Mikaël Mounier. Yes, these are things that have been denounced for many years. One can take the case of Eisenhower in 53 who denounced the growing influence of the military-industrial lobby.

MC. He mentioned it, Jean-Jacques, in his book, yes—

ACDN-MM. We are now seeing that 55 years later it has only increased, with disastrous consequences for truth, democracy and peace in the world.

MC. Because there is terrible misinformation, and this is what these Rencontres want to fight, it is against disinformation. And I put hope in the Internet, it already serves many things, the Internet, good and bad. But it can be used so that isolated people, individuals who share our convictions, who know the harm that can be done by the slightest atomic explosion and even already nuclear power plants, they can meet, they will be able to cause each other, They can make a move. And it seems to me that it will not come from politics, but that it will come from the people since no one wants what happened in Hiroshima or even in Chernobyl to happen to him. This is terrible.

Later, in a workshop of the Rencontres, she reports about JJSS: "He was Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor. He was so shocked by these nuclear tests and even by what had happened in Algeria that he returned his legion of honour.”


* "Disarm and Live!", French-English bilingual DVD. 83 minutes.
Order: ACDN, 31 rue du Cormier, 17100 - Saintes
Price: 15 €, shipping included. Check payable to: ACDN.

Eliminate all nuclear weapons? In Prague, in April 2009, Barack Obama proclaimed: "Yes, we can!"
A year earlier, the citizens of about twenty countries gathered in Saintes (France) had reached the same conclusion.
"Disarm and Live!" tells these amazing Encounters: a Croatian physicist, a Cuban diplomat, an Iranian ambassador who answers an Israeli pacifist, a Chilean singer, a British clown...
And many other striking voices, from here or from the antipodes.
A sharing of truth, hope, life. Another world is emerging.