France needs another brand of leadership that embodies French culture, defends its language and civilizational values. Otherwise, as former president François Hollande warned, the outcome will be Partition
By Nita Chicooree-Mercier
Two most valued principles which are guidelines in the modern world are under assault even in countries which have been staunch defenders of lofty ideals. The celebration of the French Revolution on 14th July is a grand occasion for politicians to laud the ideals which guided the founders of the modern state and inspired so many countries. Those ideals are under attack by a myriad of hostile forces in its territory of origin.
The celebration of the French Revolution on 14th July is a grand occasion for politicians to laud the ideals which guided the founders of the modern state and inspired so many countries. Those ideals are under attack by a myriad of hostile forces. photo – www.geopolitica.ru
For the past years American-style political correctness in France has been nibbling away at the freedom to express opinions and ideas even in academic circles. The battle of ideas has shifted from the failing attempts to address economic gaps which affect low-income groups and the shrinking power of the middle-class. Instead, opinion makers and academics in the west spend lot of energy on identity issues, selective minority victimhood, ethnicity, race, colour, gender, ultra-feminism, transgender, etc. Impassioned and partisan defence of such causes leads to intolerance and stigmatization of those who hold different ideas and attempt to place such issues in their larger context.
Instead of promoting reason, rational thinking and historical truth, the trend is to give much media space to a set of self-righteous individuals from political, judicial and academic circles who resort to name-calling, randomly labelling others as ‘fascists’, ‘reactionaries’, ‘racists’ and so on with a view to muzzling free speech.
Overall, it gives the impression that the 20- to 30 year-old generation is dictating its rules to the rest of society. Discourses on American campuses are parroted in Europe and trigger similar mob demonstrations. Universities in France are pressurized by students to cancel cultural events which offend so and so, to forbid access to high-profile intellectuals to give talks on issues which should be debated but are labelled ‘sensitive’ and might offend a few groups. There are cases of universities calling for police protection to accompany intellectuals, activists, journalists, secular figures whom student lobbies might not like, or resort to go on rampage and block access.
Recently, an association of African-origin citizens managed to gather a crowd of 20,000 people in memory of a 24-year-old delinquent Malian young man whose death occurred under police arrest, a case in which the tribunal has up to now found no evidence of direct police responsibility. The case drew noisy media coverage. In sharp contrast, four French people were victims of anti-French hatred this week and their death did not trigger media outrage in France or at the international level. The culprits are of North-African origin. A young man was stabbed to death, a policewoman was deliberately run over by a car and died from her injuries, a driver was lynched, another one was violently attacked on the 10th of July for having simply asked a man to show his ticket and for the rule of face mask to be respected. He suffered severe brain injuries and did not survive.
Most media do not mention the identity and names of the attackers. It reflects the denial of delinquency, crime and violence perpetrated by a radicalized section of migrants. An Afghan young man killed two people in a small town shop during confinement, a crime which went unnoticed in mainstream French media.
Leftist parties took in shady individuals hailing from North African stock as allies in the March municipal elections in some areas. The fortunes of the totally unqualified new councillors with a record of drug dealing, prison sentences and membership in extremist movements changed overnight. From social aid of around 450 euros for unemployed, the dimwits started earning 4000 euros, a reward for having garnered minority vote bank. Once in office, those individuals favour the recruitment of relatives, cousins, brothers-in-laws, etc., of poor educational level to join the municipal team and earn high salaries. The ambitious criteria of high intellectual level in key posts which characterizes French administration takes a severe blow and goes to the dogs.
In a bid to be inclusive of ‘minorities’ a leftist political party took on board Mps of below the average academic level by French standard. President Macron himself set the wrong example by recruiting individuals of questionable credentials as advisers. One of them, a comedian acting as adviser for minority and suburb-related issues displayed poor knowledge of politics, sociology and all; he had to resign in a case of sexual offence pinned on him by French justice which still harbours honest judges and magistrates.
Otherwise, the judiciary in France is showing signs of being politicized and targeting right- wing politicians and prominent figures among intellectuals, journalists and members of civil society who do not embrace far-left wing ideology. An elderly writer was dragged into a case of sex with a minor more than 40 years ago. The man is nearly 9O now. A right-wing politician is currently being chased for sexual harassment. A former prime minister has to serve two years in prison for a fake job benefiting his wife when he occupied another post – at a time when he was earning 5000 euros, which political observers concede was underpaid in those days. Though it is illegal, many opine that a fine should be enough. He is the only candidate who had a firm stand on unchecked immigration and defined the country’s European and Catholic identity.
Lest we forget, the French Revolution greatly inspired the birth of communist ideology in eastern Europe. For decades left-leaning élites in France were in denial of the atrocities committed under the rule of Stalin and his followers. A big part of the academia and teaching profession still stand as the last ideological hangover and stronghold of the Soviet era. French justice harbours a few elements whose anti-capitalist stance drifts towards bias against successful upper-middle class bourgeoisie, anti-rich, anti-globalization, anti-Establishment with an anti-Catholic slant and a lot of anti-this and anti-that. International finance bears an underlying anti-Jew prejudice. Ideological divides in this country border on fanaticism. The utopia of a fraternal society based on sharing and confused ideas on economic sustainability still feed ideological romantic minds. The real threat to democracy and peace is when the most extreme elements go on a rampage of smashing shops, monuments, businesses and attack policemen.
Decades of peace in Europe have created a panem et circenses prosperous society which cling to their material comfort, leisure and pleasures of the mind which a wide array of cultural activities provides. In the process they have been attuned to thinking in terms of universal values of what they cherish. Identity, cultural ethos and civilisational topics were made irrelevant while hostile radical forces and foreign-imported religious fanaticism have been very active in undermining the ideals of French society.
More than a Brussels technocrat at its helm, France needs another brand of leadership that embodies French culture, defends its language and civilisational values, and clearly defines the development of society along these lines. Otherwise, as former president François Hollande warned, the outcome will be Partition, territorial claims by radical groups who are bent on tearing down the founding pillars of the country.
* Published in print edition on 14 July 2020