Michel Houellebecq's book sparks off controversy

Paris- France (PANA) -- Several anti- sexual and racial discrimination organisations have reacted angrily against Michel Houellebecq's book, "Plate-forme" published by Flammarion in Paris, on the eve of the world conference against racism (WCAR).
"Plate-forme" is the story of a 40-year old civil servant in the Ministry of Culture in Paris who decides to take a 15-day trip to Thailand to escape boredom and high living standards in the West, where drugs are prohibited and where the quality of prostitution is poor.
Michel arrives in Pattaya, a Thai holiday resort, where he Falls in love with a young sensual and ambitious French girl.
However, the love affair is short-lived because the Western woman was incapable of loving.
The French civil servant then embarks on sex tourism, the virtues of which he highlights throughout the book.
Denouncing the "elitism" of those who discourage this form of tourism, Michel claims that sex tourism is a Godsend for people of the South who "die of hunger and have nothing else to sell but their bodies.
" "Publishing a book that depicts the woman as a simple pleasure object for men on the eve of the Durban conference is an insult to common sense," remarked an enraged Nathalie Revenu of the Movement against Racism and Friendship among Peoples, who promised to convince her friends not to buy it.
On her part, Claire Brisset, the official protector of women and children in France, said that it was unacceptable to promote sex tourism in poor countries of the South.
"This book illustrates an absolute contempt for women, a deep-rooted hatred for children, a totally cynical vision of the Third World," the former French UNICEF Committee spokesperson added.
Meanwhile the director of the Backpacker's Guide review, Philippe Gloaguen has decided to sue the book writer for "commending prostitution and paedophilia".
In 1998, Michel Huoellebecq had published a best seller entitled "Les particules élémentaires" (the elementary particles).
While the "Plate-forme" was expected to be the season's best book, it has earned the wrath of organisations opposed to all forms of discrimination.

29 august 2001 19:54:00

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