09 January 2016

A year after the Charlie Hebdo attack, France is still in denial

The good news, as France marks the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, is that one year on, and even amid renewed tensions in Paris with the shooting dead of a man wielding a knife and shouting “Allahu Akbar” outside a police station on Thursday, the magazine itself is still up and running, its provocative streak intact.

.... The assaults may have been planned in Raqqa or in Yemen, but they were carried out by what the French call “children of immigration”. This was arguably a traumatic year’s biggest shock. Perhaps the burying of heads in the sand by the ruling elite is a result of France’s official state indifference to religion or ethnicity, but it is more likely that no one in government has found the words to address such a sensitive subject without fuelling extreme views.

The “war” is in the Middle East but should not be within France. This should be said more clearly – it is an omission that stands out particularly in a week when a taboo-breaking publication is being honoured for its courage. As Albert Camus once said: “Misnaming things adds to the misfortunes of the world.” [1148 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 289 votes] "The most worrying development has been talk of a country “at war” – vocabulary without parallel in other European states. Although he has rightly designated Islamic State as the enemy, Fran├žois Hollande has failed to show that he has come to terms with the fact that almost all of the perpetrators of the 2015 attacks were French citizens."

But, they weren't any old French citizens were they Natalie. The weren't Jews, Catholics, Sikh's or Hindus were they?

[2ND 282] But but..... cultural diversity and letting in millions of migrants with an alien ideology would never cause any problems for western liberal democratic society and to say otherwise must make one a racist or fascist or some other word lefties chuck about to close down debate.....

[3RD 278] I can only see things getting worse. France and other Continental countries are a precursor of how the UK will look in the future. Things are going to get brutal.

[4TH 264] ANOTHER COMMENT SAID: "There are many people in denial".

I don't thing most Europeans are in denial. The people who are in denial are the liberal elite in their ivory towers far removed from the real world. This includes most main stream politicians, the BBC and many news publications, especially the Guardian. But you only have to read the comments on this forum to realise that most Guardian readers are not in denial. Although there is the odd exception.

[5TH 239] COMMENT ABOVE SAID ".... in the future?'. We're well on the way, with our ghettoes, enclaves and no go areas, silencing of free speech etc.

[6TH 233] The whole of liberal-democratic Europe is in denial.

The longer it remains blinkered to what is happening in its midst – and this doesn't mean just out-and-out terrorism – the worst the outcome and the longer it will take to fix it. [Guardian Cif] Read more