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Perpigna, Visa pour l'Image 2016, i controlli e la relativa coda all'ingresso del Couvent des Minimes. © FPmag. The controls and the corresponding queue at the Covent des Minimes. © FPmag.

Perpignan and the anti-terrorism controls

France, as we well know from the chronicles, has been hit much harder by the terrorist attacks of Islamic origin. Therefore it is Inevitable to expect an increase of general controls and even more so in a country that, in addition to being the subject of bloody attacks, also saw the controversy over safety rise, especially in the aftermath of the tragedy in Nice last July.

Perpignan, Visa pour l'Image 2016, il fotografo Karl Mancini, dell'agenzia Echo Photojournalism, sottoposto ai controlli all'ingresso del Palais des Congrès. © FPmag. Photographer Karl Mancini, from the agency Echo Photojournalism, subjected to checks at the entrance of the Palais des Congrès. © FPmag.

It was surprising then, this summer the fact of having crossed six European state lines without even seeing a shadow of a trace of control. The same can be said in the context of events with a large entry of public such as Les Rencontres d'Arles, or the festival of La Gacilly. The logic of things has come back to be seen, however, in Perpignan during Visa pour l'Image. Controls, in the city at the foot of the Pyrenees, there have been indeed. Every entrance was guarded by at least a couple of employees who, with hand-scanners, controlled every entrance by opening bags and whatever else could potentially host objects designed to cause damage to others.

Perpignan, Visa pour l'Image 2016, blocco stradale all'angolo di rue François Rabelais, dove ha sede il Couvent des Minimes, sede della maggior parte delle mostre di Visa pour l'Image. © FPmag.Roadblock at the corner of rue François Rabelais, where the Couvent des Minimes is located, home to most of the exhibitions of Visa pour l'Image. © FPmag.

But the controls are certainly not limited to the entrances of the exhibitions. Even the streets of the old town were patrolled with lots of barriers, checkpoints and spiked bands ready to use. In short, a very quiet air inspite of the policemen, civilians and military involved in the controls, this time France means business. Or at least they wanted to flex their muscles. Moreover, the situation in Perpignan had all the characteristics of being considered at risk, even if, because of this, it was unlikely that something really dreadful could happen.

Perpignan, Visa pour l'Image 2016, blocco stradale serale in place de la Révolution Française. © FPmag. Evening Roadblock in Place de la Révolution Française. © FPmag.

In the city the Arab component of the Muslim religion is indeed considerable, especially in the central areas where the social unease is palpable as in few other places. It cannot therefore at first glance be considered unlikely that in such a condition extremists can find fertile ground for proselytism. Besides this, to find that the foundation would require a more detailed analysis that cannot find space in these pages, the coincidence with a photojournalism festival obviously has brought to town a considerable number of journalists. Being able to carry out an attack in this context would have dramatically boosted the media effect, the strategy that we have found to be sadly dear to international Islamic terrorism. Therefore it is only right the effort put in place by the French public security forces. Even though...

Perpignan, Visa pour l'Image 2016, Stefania Biamonti, caporedattore di FPmag, sottoposta ai controlli all'ingresso Chapelle du Tiers Ordre de saint Dominique. © FPmag. Stefania Biamonti, editor in chief of FPmag, subject to the controls at the entrance of Chapelle du Tiers Ordre de Saint Dominique. © FPmag.

Even if we must say that during the past week in Perpignan going around the exhibitions some controls have left us at least a bit puzzled. Apart from the distracted glance followed by a drawn-out «Allez-y», which has frequently accompanied the entrance to the exhibitions of which I write, frequently the questions were between the grotesque and the comic. This is why we could not resist the temptation of reporting in closure the five most puzzling questions (and a little funny), which we were asked by the workers. Here is the list:

● What is your name? (holding the Press pass in their hand that I had hanging round my neck, with the name of the bearer)
● Is this a jacket? (holding up the jacket, and perfectly recognisable as such after having just taken it out of the bag)
● Have you got any perfume? (pointing to my colleague’s bag)
● How many days ago were you here? (addressing my colleague)
● Where are you going? (at the entrance of an exhibition)

Now, aside from the seriousness of the argument that underlies the origin of these notes, if one side it is difficult to resist the temptation to be ironic on such questions, the other is alarming that this is the content of the controls. How annoying is the tendency thoroughly Latin of some employees to take on the role of the Latin lover, even with relative courtesy, taking advantage of the position at that moment the institutions had bestowed him. [ Sandro Iovine ]

_ _ _

◉ [ FPtag ] VISA2016: the point of view of the editorial staff
◉ [ contest ] The Visa d'Or Magazine goes to Peter Bauza
◉ [ meltingpot ]
Echo Photojournalism and Visa 2016
◉ [ exhibitions ] Escape from ISIS
[ events ] Visa pour l'Image 2016: an overview
[ video ] Dread and Dreams by Zalmaï
[ FPtag ] Visa pour l'Image 2015
[ FPtag ] Echo Photojournalism

Visa pour l'Image

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published on 2016-09-07 in NEWS / MELTINGPOT

VISA2016 SandroIovine


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editor in chief Sandro Iovine | - senior writer Stefania Biamonti - web developer Salvatore Picciuto | - linguistic coordination Nicky Alexander - translations Nicky Alexander, Rachele Frosini - contributor Davide Bologna, Mimmo Cacciuni Angelone, Laura Marcolini, Stefano Panzeri, Pio Tarantini, Salvo Veneziano - local Lazio correspondent Dario Coletti local Sardinian correspondent Salvatore Ligios - local Sicilian correspondent Salvo Veneziano - editorial office via Spartaco, 36 20135 Milano MI | - phone +39 02 49537170 - copyright © 2015 FPmag - FPmag is a pubblication of Machia Press Publishing srl a socio unico, via Cristoforo Gluck, 3 20135 Milano MI - VAT no. 07535000967 C.F. (TAX code) 07535000967 - Copyright © 2015 FPmag - Registered at Tribunale di Milano No. 281 on the 9th September 2014

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