I hope everything is fine with you.
I just read your piece on Freedom of Speech & Holocaust Denial. It was like a breath of fresh air in the putrid atmosphere choking us around here. I don’t think you follow the situation in France, but things are crazier than ever since the gruesome murder of a teacher, Samuel Paty. In the name of Free Speech –because the only country criminalizing the slightest questioning of the Holocaust’s official version thinks he’s the world leader in this area– all Muslims are now explicitly branded as fair game, and the public debate revolves around Charlie Hebdo’s pornography and the alleged courage & wisdom it takes to publish their hateful caricatures or show them in class to 13 years-old pupils, many of them Muslims.
Let me fill you up with the details as they unfolded.
In the first days of October, in a Middle school located in the Paris suburb, a History-Geography teacher showed Charlie Hebdo caricatures of the Prophet to his 13-years-old pupils in a Moral & Civic class devoted to Free Speech. A pupil and her father denounced it on Facebook videos, stating that the following had happened:
The teacher told his pupils that he was about to show some depictions of the Prophet that might shock some of them. Before doing so, either he asked the Muslims in the classroom to identify themselves and get out, or merely allowed them to do so. Most of the Muslim pupils got out, but this particular girl chose to stay and then protested against this outrageous display. One of those drawings was among the most offensive ones, showing the Prophet totally naked in a lascivious position, zooming on his hairy testicles & dripping penis, and depicting his anus as the Islamic five pointed star, with the legend “A star is born”. The pupil claimed that she got expelled 2 days for refusing to leave the room that day. The father denounced this teacher online as a “thug” who “ought to educate himself before educating others”, and called on people to protest by contacting the Middle School, giving its address and the name of the teacher. He said he was submitting the case to the CCIF, the Collective Against Islamophobia in France. He also went to the police and filed a complaint for display of pornographic images to children (rightly so in my eyes, there is no other way to put it).
Later it was said that this particular pupil wasn’t even in class that day, and that she was expelled from the school for 2 days for other (unspecified) reasons. But the teacher’s account to the police is roughly the same as to what happened, and he just denied having asked Muslims pupils to identify themselves or go out, saying he only suggested those who might be shocked to look away. He filed a complaint against the father for defamation.
The case got some attention on social media. From here, I suppose that the murderer, an 18-years-old of Chechen background living 50 miles away, saw the case online and decided to come and kill the teacher. On the afternoon of October 16th, he went to the school and asked some pupils to show him the teacher, paying them to do so according to the police (they are now indicted for complicity in the murder, though they had no way to imagine he intended to kill him). He followed him as he was going home and murdered him. He beheaded him and posted the severed head on Twitter with this message: “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. From Abdullah, the Servant of Allah, To Marcon, the leader of the infidels, I executed one of your hell dogs who dared to belittle Muhammed (peace be upon him), calm his fellows before you are inflicted harsh punishment.”
Police found him right after the killing and as he refused to surrender and “opened fire” (with an “Airsoft gun”, as the media puts it, instead of using the much more common “soft ball gun”), they killed him.
From here, the collective anti-Islam hysteria reached new depths. News shows are awash with hatred against Muslims (most of the time, only the right, far right and extreme right are seen debating on BFM and CNews, our CNN & Fox News channels), the Charlie Hebdo caricatures of the Prophet are shown on TV (though the most offensive one shown by the teacher is rarely to be seen), cities project some on buildings, and the government wages war on the most prominent Muslim organizations, branding them as “enemies of the Republic” and vowing to banish them for the most preposterous reasons (anonymous comments on social network mentioning them, etc.). A mosque that merely shared the father’s original video is already shut down.
The police arrested the father and another man who denounced the case online –as well as the killer’s family and some pupils–, indicting them for complicity of murder & terrorism (while only defamation seems relevant if they indeed lied). Macron came to the place of the killing right away and made a fiery speech, vowing that “They shall not pass” –a few weeks ago he had devoted a whole speech to denounce “Islamic Separatism” and vowing to reform it (a project Law against Separatism was rebranded Law for Secularism for fear of being censored by the Constitutionnal Council, as had happened shortly before with the Avia Law against online hatred that was rejected as violating free speech, as it was forcing websites to preventive censorship of all suspected contents). Our Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin (accused of rape & abuse of a vulnerable person: he asked for sexual favours in exchange for providing social housing to a woman in need when he was mayor; despite multiple blowjobs, she never got the house), vowed to dissolve 51 Muslim organizations, including mosques, private schools, a Charity called Baraka City, and the CCIF, merely because it was mentioned by the father in the video. It’s a real crackdown against Muslims, linked or not to the case. Darmanin clearly said that Police operations have been launched against “dozens of individuals” who are not “necessarily linked to the investigation but to whom we want to send a message”. Here is the reaction of VIGI, a very tiny & marginal Police Union (most cops are with the fascist Union “Alliance”): “We are not thugs who pass a ‘message’, at the request of a mafia godfather, but law enforcement police, dear @GDarmanin. The nuance is important.”
Darmanin went as far as saying that he is shocked that supermarkets have shelves with exotic food, thus shaping a new concept: culinary separatism. I didn’t believe it at first. Things got so far it’s hard to tell between the real news and satire.
What happens with the Collective Against Islamophobia, is revealing: simply because they were mentioned and informed of the case by this angry father, the government wants them banned. It’s an all-out, blind witch-hunt, chasing any display of Islam. It’s like they are encouraging terrorists by blocking the way to any kind of defense or legal complaints in cases of Islamophobia. The far right coined a nice concept years ago, “judiciary djihad”, but now it has gone mainstream. If you kill you are a terrorist. No problem with that. But even if you protest legally and file a complaint to the police, you are a djihadist & complicit of murder. If you denounce something online, it means you called for violence, even if you didn’t, so you’re still an “online terrorist”, the “intellectual author” of a future crime. The media & government clearly denounced the two men who went online with the case as being complicit with the terrorist, without any proof whatsoever (“The video was made to lead to something violent”, claimed the Education Minister, as if he was the public prosecutor). I guess following this logic, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists could be indicted as well, if the one making things public is responsible for any reaction of any madman. I’m sure that if you were French, your own article comparing Charlie Hebdo to Der Sturmer would have gotten you into trouble.
And don’t dare criticize the police. The Interior Minister himself filed a complaint for defamation against an obscure, anonymous blogger who denounced the systematic killing of terror suspects even when they pose no threat (the murderer was on foot and had a knife and toy gun, clearly identified as such by the police officers who surrounded him before the shooting began; he was riddled with 9 bullets, and killed -or “neutralized” as the bashful media put it- as he laid on the ground, Elor Azaria style).
The irony is that the murderer had the status of political refugee (he came with his family from Chechnya at 6 years-old). And some of his tweets simulating a decapitation were signaled months ago to the authorities who did nothing and didn’t even have him on their radar (I guess they’re too busy tracking Unionists, bloggers & Muslim charities), so it’s a clear fiasco for the Interior Minister. Our government is allied with the beheaders of Wahhabi Saudi Arabia & creates and supports terrorists everywhere, from Afghanistan to Chechnya to Libya to Syria to Yemen. In 2013 our Foreign Minister Fabius famously said that “Al-Nosra does a good job in Syria”, when he was protesting the US decision to brand them as terrorists. And when these terrorists come back home and attack the wrong innocents, they pin the blame on the main victims of the West’s plots, Islam and Muslims, before anyone can blame them. The Yellow Vests & awful management of the pandemic made them the most unpopular government in France’s history, and their last hope before the next elections is to capitalize on the tragedy and steal electors from the racist Far Right whose anti-Islam, anti-Immigration speech is now mainstream.
Thank God it’s holidays. Blanquer, the Education Minister, is preparing a “strong, powerful and strict educational framework” for November 2, when pupils will get back to school. Will he make the Charlie Hebdo pictures mandatory? We can’t rule out anything with such a world-class opportunist (in 2007, when Sarkozy was campaigning and cozying up with the UOIF, a Muslim’s organization, Blanquer kicked out a prefet, Alain Morvan, because he was delaying the construction of a Muslim school out of security & extremism concerns), considered as the grave-digger of what remains of school and teachers’ status and rights (for one, they have no right to express themselves, and can be disciplined for online comments or strikes). This man casually wears the kippa in the synagogue, along with all the government, but publicly said that the Islamic veil “is not desired” not only at school but in any part of society because of “what it says about women”. Funny conception of secularism that allows him to have the final word about what a religious item means. Blanquer also denounced the “ravages” of “Islamo-leftism” in Universities, in the student’s Union UNEF (I guess it’s because their spokesperson, a French-born convert, wears the Islamic veil) and teacher’s radical Union SUD, and in the France Insoumise, Mélenchon’s leftist political party allied with the Communist party, the only strong opposition besides Marine Le Pen’s neo-fascist far right: just because the left denounces Islamophobia, they are explicitly accused of paving the way for the terrorists (“These people favor an ideology which then, ultimately, leads to the worst.” Blanquer said.)
Even a Teacher’s Union, published a Charlie Hebdo caricature and called on teachers to use them in class, and all High Schools will have books devoted to them. It’s insane: do they want to make out of schools, supposedly neutral and peaceful, a violent battlefield? Given the racism & islamophobia of many teachers, many zealots will certainly show the Prophet’s pictures to their pupils, even in places with a majority of Muslims, and it’s asking for trouble. Here is how Pierre Tevanian, a High School Philosophy teacher, rare drop of wisdom in an ocean of madness, put it:
Then, just a few days after the terrible attack, without any consultation on the ground with the concerned profession (i.e. teachers), there was astonishing news in the press (that’s how we got the information, as usual): all the Regional Councils of France have decided to distribute a “collection of caricatures” (we do not know which ones) in all High Schools. “If one has to give his blood. Go give yours”, says the song. So let these elected officials go and distribute their little Republican Bibles themselves in the markets. But no: it is our own blood, shitty little teachers, despised, underpaid, insulted for years, that must be shed, it was decided in high places. And possibly the blood of our pupils as well.
Because we have to face the facts: if this information is confirmed, and if we accept this role of heroes and martyrs of a power that plays little tin soldiers with teachers and pupils of flesh and blood, we officially become the preferred target of terrorist groups. To an enemy which functions, in its choice of targets and in its political communication, only with challenge, symbol and the invocation of the honor of the Prophet, our leaders answer in full irresponsibility by challenge, symbol, and targeting the image of the Prophet. What should we expect? Are we ready for it? I am not.
All this is done in the name of Free Speech, Secularism & the Republic’s values. While Jules Ferry, the father of the so-called “Republican School” (and godfather of French colonialism and theory of “superior races having the duty to civilize inferior races”), stated in a famous “Letter to teachers” in 1883, about Civic and Moral classes (the very one Samuel Paty chose to illustrate with Charlie Hebdo):
“If at times you were embarrassed to know how far you are allowed to go in your moral education, here is a rule of thumb that you can stick to: before offering your students any precept, any maxim, ask yourself: Is there, to your knowledge, only one honest man who could be offended by what you are about to say? Ask yourself if a father, I say only oma single one, present in your class and listening to you, could in good faith refuse his assent to what he hears you say. If so, refrain from saying it; if not, speak boldly, because what you are going to communicate to the child is not your own wisdom, it is the wisdom of the human race, it is one of those ideas of a universal order that several centuries of civilization have made part of the heritage of humanity. However narrow such a circle of action thus drawn may seem to you, make it a point of honor to never go beyond it, to stay within this limit rather than expose yourself to crossing it; you’ll never touch with too much scruple this delicate and sacred thing, which is the conscience of the child.”
I can’t believe I miss this reactionary imperialist.
“Fear is going to change side… Islamists won’t sleep peacefully” said Macron. Since “Islamists” clearly means “Muslims”, he nailed it all right. My wife is afraid to go out with her hijab, especially after she heard that two Muslim women were savagely attacked next to the Eiffel Tower and stabbed a dozen times shortly after Samuel Paty’s murder. First the mainstream media ignored it completely, and it was only seen on militant social media –because Muslims cannot but be the aggressors. Then the main media outlets mentioned it as semi-fake news, denying the attack had anything to do with the women’s hijab. Then when the police opened a case for aggravated racist aggression, they were forced to accept the fact reluctantly (and without apologies, of course).
We’ll see what happens in November. I am really worried. I hope for the best but try to prepare for the worst.
PS: Here are a few examples of the constant hatred heard on TV:
A BFM TV anchor deplored that he didn’t see many Muslims at the funeral of Samuel Paty, as if they all had visible features like beards and veils or represented more than 10% of the population; if they had come ostensibly anyway, it would’ve been denounced as a provocation, as happened with Muslims (veiled women) or pro-Muslims (UNEF members) who were insulted for their presence.
Eric Ciotti, official from the right party Les Républicains, said that the Islamic veil is a weapon, and that bearing arms should be forbidden to Islamists. Thus the veil is to be banned altogether. CQFD.
Ivan Rioufol, far-right columnist, stated about the Covid-19 that he is sick of hearing alarming news about the health situation, and that we should stop scaring people for nothing –after all, it’s merely a life-and-death matter– and care about what really matters, meaning France’s cultural death. Better dead than “colonized”!
Elisabeth Levy, far right anchor in Cnews, said that Muslim women should stop wearing the veil for 1 week to pay tribute to Samuel Paty.
Manuel Valls, former Interior Minister and Prime Minister, said that France should’t be afraid to trample on the rule of law and the European Convention on Human rights. “We are in a state of war. Now is the time to act, strike”, he said. Indeed, there is such a thing as blasphemy in European law, and France know they’ll be condemned if the case gets there. So they speak of forgetting the rule of law and forbidding Muslims’ legal defense groups like CCIF.
Marine Le Pen said the hijab should be forbidden everywhere, and that any person suspected of radicalism and holding 2 nationalities should lose his French nationality right away, without any kind of judicial procedure. However, it is known that Police’s files on terror suspects (“fiches S” as they call them) are merely a tool, encompassing the most innocent (like someone not shaking hands with women) and the most dangerous (like having fought with Jihadis in Syria) forms of radicalism, and often targets Unionists and bloggers.
Among the many questions of the TV debates, there was the expulsion of all women wearing the hijab (not only from schools & administration jobs, but also from universities, public places, streets and the country altogether), the forfeiture of nationality for those wearing it who would be French, the reopening of the “convicts penal colony” “in the Kerguelen Islands”, the reinstatement of the death penalty, and finally the “criminalization” of all conservative Muslim ideologies, “not only jihadism but also Islamism”.
PPS : Here are some pictures / cartoons I am sure no teacher will show his pupils, except if he wants to be disciplined (or indicted for apology of terror & incitement… against Charlie Hebdo!):
THE AYLAN KURDI CASE & CHARLIE HEBDO’S REACTION
He was so close… Mc Donald’s discount: 2 children’s meal for the price of 1
Migrants: What would Aylan have grown up to be? A sexual harasser in Germany.
OTHER CASES OF RACISM & HATRED
In 2015, a French teenager who posted the picture on the right was indicted for apology of terror.
UNEF’s spokesperson, Myriam Pougetoux, shown as an animal.
Simona Halep, Roma winner of Roland Garros, shown yelling “scrap metal, scrap metal” (because the Roma are metal-stealers, it’s well-known)