French politics have become such a farce that it’s getting difficult to know where to start.
Thankfully, popular author Emmanuel Todd, has just come up with a new essay entitled “Who is Charlie? Sociology of a religious crisis”, in which he denounces the January 11 grand march (following the January 7 Charlie Hebdo and Hypercasher attacks in Paris) as an incredible event of “false consciousness”, where millions of “sleep-walkers” ran behind a president flanked by the world oligarchy for the right to trample on Mohamed, the central figure of a feeble and discriminated group. He further argues that the apparent sense of unanimity was a facade, that in reality the young periurban generation – Muslim or not – was “not Charlie”, neither were the provincial working classes.
He warns of a french authoritarian elite, completely disconnected from its population, wraping itself in yesteryear’s revolutionnary apparel and seeing itself so beautiful in the mirror of it’s supposed principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, marching forth towards the edge of the cliff. He went as far as calling Prime Minister Manuel Valls a petainist.
This has drawn Todd much flak and criticism, starting with the Charlie Hebdo survivors who felt very insulted by Todd’s attack on the righteousness of “being Charlie”. I personnaly broadly agree with Todd’s analysis although it was clear from the beginning that a large part of the January 11 demonstrators where not “running behind François Hollande and the oligarchs” but were sincerely protesting for their right to criticise religion, a hallmark of French culture, and mourning well-known caricaturists who had been on the satyrist press scene for decades. I wrote about this in my french chronicle “After Charlie Hebdo“.
I also take his views, that french muslims are “a feeble group” and that France should be more flexible in its principle of secularity to accommodate them (which it is already, for example by providing non porc alternatives in school refectories), with a pinch of salt: it is up to Muslims to accommodate themselves to secularity and french laws, as is the case for any other group. Give a hand here, and you soon loose an arm.
Which brings us to another best-selling author, Michel Houellebecq, who recently published a novel called “Submission” relating the political takeover of France by an islamist party, “Muslim Fraternity”, with well-known center-right politician François Bayrou as Prime Minister. Seen through the eyes of an asocial university student who witnesses the islamisation of his country and institutions, before himself turning to Islam to gain access to polygamy and better pay, the story is presented by Houellebecq as a “credible possibility” and has helped break a kind of taboo on what islamisation – in this case, peaceful – really means.
But all of this is folklore compared to the May 5 vote by the National Assembly, by a large majority, of the “Big Brother”, Patriot-Act style law aiming to facilitate all manners of spying on French residents. This move, promoted by – yes, him again – PM Manuel Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, is a total disgrace, a tapestry of lies, a flagrant disrespect for civil society, and paves the way for an even more autocratic political system, regardless of its “left” or “right” label – mostly meaningless slogans today anyway.
It is quite clear that Manuel Valls intents to run for President in 2017, and he will be playing the security card to the full, the new law – if it passes the Senate reading, which it probably will – being a useful tool to dig up all kinds of suitable “enemies of the State”.
Talking of the President, François Hollande has been busy burying all remaining elements of political sanity (from a socialist perspective at least) by selling advanced Rafale aircraft to Egypt and Qatar, and back-slapping with the Saudi leadership at the recent Gulf Summit. All are countries with dismal (the word is feeble) records on human rights. Saudi Arabia is the leader of a catastrophic attack on Yemen, and locked in a proxy war with Iran – which is supposed to be more or less on our side to fight Daesh.
But at the same time Hollande refused to participate in the russian May 9th commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2. Who was there in Moscow alongside Putin last Saturday? China. Is support of a neonazi governement in Kiev against the will of Putin, reason enough to sever such historic links? Merkel wasn’t there either, which is more understandable, but at least she paid Putin a visit the next day.
To finish off, let’s have a laugh with ex-president – and would-be next president – Nicolas Sarkozy, whose UMP party has so many corruption issues (just like Sarkozy himself) that they have decided to change the party name from UMP to “the Republicans”. Our americain friends will be pleased. Perhaps. And there are calls for the french Socialist party (PS), which has nothing “socialist” anymore except maybe for the Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, to be renamed “the Democrats”. No joke.
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