Paris 20 January 2015
PROLOGUE to an in-depth article to appear in the February issue of NER
[Three messages sent to close friends in response to hasty conclusions …]
Message N°1 January 12, 2015
I am certainly not gushing.
The Arab” spring” showed its face immediately. There was no mystery, just mystification. This unprecedented show of hands and feet in Paris yesterday shows a face that was not visible over the past fourteen years.
When you witness an event like this, an expression of collective opinion and determination on a scale never seen in the nation’s history, you can’t simply dismiss it. Of course you can, you are free to dismiss it. But I don’t. And that’s based on what I saw and heard.
The Je Suis Charlie slogan is not a simple trendy message. It’s the slogan around which the movement coalesced, so people expressed it in those terms. If they held up posters saying “Je suis contre le jihad” it might have been closer to the truth of what sent them into the streets. For 14 years I have been puzzling over what seemed like passive or willing acceptance of Islamization. For 14 years I have been wondering how a nation could resist if there were no open media, no honest debate, so little reliable reporting.
The answer was given yesterday. There would be a tipping point.
Now the cards are on the table.
In the early hours of the Charlie massacre, journalists and commentators were saying that Marine Le Pen would reap the benefits. As it turns out, she didn’t. The dreadfully unpopular François Hollande pulled off something that switched attention from a major security failure to a spectacular popular demonstration of force.
It can go either way. But it can’t go the same way it has been going.
I’m following it in detail, in all its nuance. I’ll report as always honestly and carefully.
This is the novelist speaking. I don’t try to guess what will happen next, I try to penetrate the mystery of what I just saw. A quick overview in either direction is altogether justified: it’s a show, nothing will change, they’ll go back to their bad habits OR what a magnificent display of citizens standing up for their rights and values, nothing will ever be the same.
That doesn’t interest me. It is journalistic. You skip over the concrete realty, do a quick review of the facts, come up with a conclusion, and go on to the next subject.
What explains the mobilization of 3.7 million people in France? It is not, it cannot be the same thing that inspires demonstrations by all sorts of particular interests defending or protesting something. That’s not the same mechanism, it doesn’t give the same results.
You can’t think it through in 24 hours, you can’t grasp it properly from a distance. If my work has any value it is because of my way of assimilating tons of information over long periods of time, organizing it, using it where others have forgotten or never noticed. So it is with this march.
What I think, at this point, is that all the characters in this drama are now on stage. The first act was September-October 2000—al Dura, the jihad intifada. I won’t go back over it all in this short message, only to say that different factions came on stage and played their roles, including the leftist pro-Palestinians, the pro-jihad Muslims, the punk jihad troublemakers, the savage killers, the inept governments, the slightly effective governments and, how could we forget, the media. Sunday, the other population finally came on stage.
As I said to someone close to me today, “If they sang my slogans and carried my ideas, it might have been perfect but there would have been 37 not 3.7 million out in the streets.” The millions who marched do not analyze the matsav the same way we do, they didn’t march for us all these years when we needed them, they don’t read the same books we read, they might flake out as quickly as they arose, but on that day in that place something different happened.
Media discourse has changed, government discourse has changed, measures are being taken. Why? In response to the will of the people. The Hollande government did not create this collective movement, it is trying to keep pace with it. Hollande didn’t want Bibi? He was hissy? Obama doesn’t like Bibi? Hollande made Bibi wait for the bus, put him in the second row where he was fished up by the president of Mali and placed finally in the front row. Abbas was there, frowning as if he were making a speech at the UN? Obama left Bibi in the waiting room some years ago while he had supper with his family?
Not very nice. But it has had absolutely no influence on the balance of power. Israel is strong. Bibi speaks eloquently. Israel resists. French Jews resist. And 3.7 million people who wouldn’t have marched if the killers had only aimed at Jews were out in the streets. They knew Bibi was there. They didn’t pull out. And the pro-Palestinians? They knew Abbas was there. They didn’t show up.
I wouldn’t contradict any French Jew who says “I’m out of here. It’s time to go.” I wouldn’t argue with any Israeli who already left France and says, “Don’t wait another minute, come home.”
But I still care what happens to France. And I know that there are enough decent people in this country to make a difference. They don’t have to agree with me about everything or anything but one thing: reverse the slide into ignominy, show their strength, stand up to the forces of destruction.
PS: in reply to the question from C. I:
"Dear R., could you please ask Nidra if the show of solidarity might not be due to the fact that this time the target was the Left? Or a left-oriented magazine that mocked religion? That they didn't do it for bombings and killings in London, Madrid, Brussels, Canada, etc, or in defense of Hirsi-Ali or Mark Steyn, etc."
3.7 million people is too many to fit into any category! Though people in their fifties and beyond may have been Charlie fans since their teens, many thousands or hundreds of thousands of Sunday’s marchers never read it and don’t know anything about their politics. Others have no taste for Charlie’s vulgarity. How many Jewish marchers know about Charlie’s garden variety anti-Zionism? It didn’t keep them from marching. French people are usually quite snooty about the police and mistrustful of the CRS riot police, not to mention the military. They applauded them with heartfelt sincerity on Sunday. How many hundreds of thousands had never made the connection between jihadis who attack Jews and those who ram shoppers at a Christmas market, attack the London tube or plot to blow up la Tour Eiffel? The Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly made the connection for them.
When rivulets turn into an ocean they overflow their particularities.
Message N°3 January 19
Marine Le Pen? Are you kidding? What’s the cause of this disconnect?
First of all, let me tell you how it went here in France. Yes, here, where the jihad attacks occurred and the reactions reacted. In the minutes after news of the Charlie Hebdo massacre slashed into our lives and before we even knew the names of the victims, the media were saying this would fall to the advantage of Marine Le Pen. Hmm? So they were admitting they knew all along that the dangers of Islamization denounced by the Front National were real and not the emanation of some kind of irrational hatred. Not Islamophobia, not xenophobia, just a mirror of reality and the coming attractions of a horror movie that would be real.
There wasn’t even a moment of grace in which to suggest that the killers might be Far Right thugs or disgruntled cartoonists. The killers shouted allahu akhbar we have avenged the prophet we killed Charlie Hebdo.
Superwoman Marine to the rescue? I guess you didn’t read my articles about the dark side of the Front National, its Syrian connection and plans to woo banlieue youths to its ranks? [http://www.d-intl.com/2014/05/08/the-national-fronts-dark-underside-2/?lang=en http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/54197/cat_id/326/Marine-Le-Pen-is-Shopping-for-Allies-at-the-EU-Parliament] I’ve been telling you for years, the day the two parliamentary parties, right and left, start to take action against Islamization, Marine Le Pen will deflate.
And that’s what happened. She didn’t join the million and a half in Paris, supposedly because she wasn’t properly invited. She did a little march of her own in a small town in the south of France, and the media didn’t cover it. She banned the circulation in her ranks of a video by her foreign policy advisor Aymeric Chauprade explaining that we are at war with Muslims, not all Muslims, some Muslims…that are at war with us. Madame Le Pen told the media that Chauprade was nothing special, just one of dozens of FN Eurodeputies. Not true. They were verrrry close, he was her chief Eurodeputy and most trusted advisor.
When I saw the huge anti-Charlie Hebdo demonstration in Grozny complete with Disneyland style cutesy “I love the prophet” badges, I wondered if the FN’s Russian connection might have anything to do with her marching out of step on January 11th. Or did she sincerely felt she was not welcome? Either way, it was a strategic error.
I am still wondering how you can scoff at the millions of French people who stood up to be counted that day (the latest estimate is a total of 4.5 million), and look on Marine Le Pen with such benevolent respect.
We know what the perversions of antiracism have wrought. Is anti-jihad going to play the same tricks?
Björn Söder of the Sweden Democrats, quoted in The Guardian, in defense of his party’s parliamentary effort to ban circumcision of males under 18, implicitly equating it with female genital mutilation:
“Boys should have the same right to avoid both complications of reduced sensitivity in the genitals, painful erections, increased risk of kidney damage and psychological distress by permanent removal, and the tremendous violation of privacy that circumcision actually means.”
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