February 2, 2017: A "no-go zone" in the eastern suburbs of Paris. Police on patrol hear screams. They decide to check. While there, a young man insults them. They decide to arrest him. He hits them. A fight starts. He accuses a policeman of having raped him with a police baton. A police investigation quickly establishes that the young man was not raped. But it is too late; a toxic process has begun.
Without waiting for any further evidence, the French Interior Minister says that the police officers have "behaved badly." He adds that "police misconduct must be condemned". French President François Hollande goes to the hospital to give his support to the young man. The president says he has conducted himself in a "dignified and responsible manner." The next day, a demonstration against the police is cobbled together. The demonstration turns into a riot.
Riots continue for more than two weeks. They affect more than twenty cities throughout France. They spread to the heart of Paris. Dozens of cars are torched. Shops and restaurants are looted. Official buildings and police stations are attacked.
The police are ordered not to intervene. They do what they are told to do. Few arrests take place.
Police look on as a car, which was destroyed by rioters in a Paris suburb, is removed on February 13, 2017. (Image source: Ruptly video screenshot)
Calm is slowly returning, but the riots can easily start again. France is a country at the mercy of large-scale uprisings. They can explode anytime, anyplace. French leaders know it, and find refuge in cowardice.
What is happening is the result of a corrosive development initiated five decades ago. In the 1960s, after the war in Algeria, President Charles de Gaulle directed the country toward closer relations with Arab and Muslim states.
Migratory flows of "guest workers" from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, which had started a few years earlier, sharply increased. Immigrants were not encouraged to integrate. Everyone assumed they would return home at the end of their employment contracts. They were settled in the outskirts of big cities. The economy was dynamic, with strong job creation. It seemed there would be no problems.
Twenty years later, serious difficulties became obvious. The immigrants now numbered millions. People from sub-Saharan Africa joined those coming from Arab nations. Neighborhoods made up of just Arabs and Africans were formed. The economy had slowed down and mass unemployment settled in. But the jobless immigrants did not go back home, instead relying on social benefits. Integration still did not exist. Although many of these new arrivals had become French citizens, they often sounded resentful of France and the West. Political agitators started teaching them to detest Western civilization. Violent gangs of young Arabs and Africans began to form. Clashes with police were common. Often, when a gang member was wounded, political agitators would help to incite more violence.
The situation grew difficult to control. But nothing was done to fix it; quite the opposite.
In 1984, a movement called SOS Racisme was created by Trotskyist militants, and began to define any criticism of immigration as "racist". Major leftist parties supported SOS Racism. They seem to have thought that by accusing their political opponents of racism, they could attract the votes of "new citizens." The presence of Islamist agitators, alongside agitators in Arab and African neighborhoods, plus the emergence of anti-Western Islamic discourse, alarmed many observers. SOS Racisme immediately designated those who spoke of Islamic danger as "Islamophobic racists."
In 1990, a law drafted by a Communist lawmaker, Jean-Claude Gayssot, was passed. It stipulated that "any discrimination based on ethnicity, nation, race or religion is prohibited." Since then, this law has been used to criminalize any criticism of Arab and African delinquency, any question on immigration from the Muslim world, any negative analysis of Islam. Many writers have been fined, and most "politically incorrect" books on those topics have disappeared from bookshops.
The French government asked the media to obey the "Gayssot law." It also asked that history textbooks be rewritten to include chapters on the crimes committed by the West against Muslims, and on the "essential contribution" of Islam to humanity.
In 2002, the situation in the country became dramatic.
Arab and African neighborhoods had become "no-go zones." Radical Islam was widespread and Islamist attacks began. Dozens of cars would be torched each week. Muslim anti-Semitism was rising rapidly and led to an increase in anti-Jewish attacks. SOS Racisme and other anti-racist organizations were silent on Muslim anti-Semitism. Unwilling to be accused of "Islamophobic racism," organizations tasked with fighting against anti-Semitism were also silent.
A book, The Lost Territories of the Republic, by Georges Bensoussan (under the pen-name "Emmanuel Brenner"), was released. It depicted accurately what was going on. It spoke of the sweeping hatred for the West among young people of immigrant origin, and of the full-blown hatred of Jews among young Muslims. It said that "no-go zones" were on the edge of secession and no longer a part of French territory. The mainstream media ignored the book.
Three years later, in October 2005, riots broke out across the country. More than 9,000 cars were torched. Hundreds of stores, supermarkets and shopping centers were looted and destroyed. Dozens of police officers were seriously injured. The storm stopped when the government reached an agreement to make peace with Muslim associations. Power had changed hands.
Since then, the state scarcely maintains law and order in France.
Another book, A Submissive France, was recently published by the man who had written The Lost Territories of the Republic fifteen years before, the historian Georges Bensoussan. Now, the French Republic itself is a lost territory.
"No go zones" are no longer French territory. Radical Islam and the hatred of the West reign among Muslim populations and, more broadly, among populations of immigrant origin. Muslim anti-Semitism makes life unbearable for Jews who have not yet left France and who cannot afford to relocate to areas where Jews are not yet threatened: the 16th and 17th arrondissements, the Beverly Hills of Paris; or the city of Neuilly, a wealthy suburb of Paris.
All history textbooks are "Islamically correct". One-third of the French Muslims say they want to live according to Islamic sharia law and not according to the laws of France.
In hospitals, Muslims are increasingly asking to be treated by Muslim doctors only, and refusing to let their wives be treated by male doctors.
Attacks on police officers occur on a daily basis. The police have orders: they must not enter "no-go zones." They must not respond to insults and threats. They must flee if they are assaulted. Sometime, they do not have time to flee.
In October 2016, two policemen were burned alive in their car in Viry-Châtillon, south of Paris. In January 2017, three police officers fell into an ambush and were stabbed in in Bobigny, east of Paris.
Police officers did respond to the incident on February 2. When a man became violent, they did not flee. The French government could only find them guilty, accusing a police officer of raping his attacker. But the police officer was not guilty of rape; he was guilty of simply having intervened. The French government also found his colleagues guilty. They were all accused of "violence." They now will have to go to court.
The young man who destroyed the lives of these police officers is not being accused of anything. In all the "no go zones," he is now a hero. Mainstream television channels ask him for interviews. His name is Theodore, or Theo. "Justice for Theo" stickers are everywhere. Banners sporting his name are waved at demonstrations. Rioters shout his name along with the name of Allah.
A few journalists have said that he is not a hero; that "no go zones" are reservoirs of anti-Western, anti-Semitic and anti-French hatred ready to burst. But these journalists are also cautious. They know they might be prosecuted.
Georges Bensoussan, the Moroccan-born author of The Lost Territories of the Republic and of A Submissive France -- is currently on trial. A complaint was filed against him by the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF). They are suing him for having said: "Today we are witnessing a different people in the French nation; they are causing the return of a number of democratic values to which we adhere," and "This visceral anti-Semitism, proven by the Fondapol Survey last year, cannot remain in silence."
Judges were immediately assigned to the case. The verdict is due March 5. If Bensoussan is not sentenced, the CCIF will be sure to appeal. Bensoussan is a man from the left. He is a member of "J Call" (European Jewish Call for Reason), a movement criticizing "Israel's occupation of the West Bank", and asking for "the creation of a viable Palestinian state". Even such positions are no longer enough to protect him. The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA), an organization founded in 1927 to combat anti-Semitism, supported CCIF. Organizations ostensibly fighting anti-Semitism in France instead seem to be clinging to futile fantasies of appeasing their tormentors. They never mention Muslim anti-Semitism, and have now fully joined the fight against "Islamophobic racism" against Jewish authors such as Georges Bensoussan.
Elections will be held in France, in April. The Socialist Party chose a candidate, Benoît Hamon, supported by the UOIF (Union of Islamic Organizations of France), the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The far-left and the communists will also have a candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, an unconditional admirer of Lenin, Hugo Chavez and Yasser Arafat, and a resolute enemy of Israel.
Hamon and Mélenchon will likely each receive about 15% of the vote.
A third candidate from the left, Emmanuel Macron, is a former member of the French Socialist government under François Hollande. To attract the Muslim vote, Macron went to Algeria and said that French colonization was a "crime against humanity." He stated several times that French culture does not exist, and that Western culture does not exist either; but he added that Arab Muslim culture must have "its place" in France.
The conservative candidate, François Fillon, promises to fight Sunni Islam, but says he wants a "strong alliance" between France, Iran's mullahs and Hezbollah. His reputation is badly damaged by a "fake jobs" scandal. He has attacked France's Jewish community, presumably to secure the Muslim vote. He said it does not respect "all the rules of the Republic." He has said that Israel represents a threat to world peace.
Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate of the National Front, may seem the most determined to straighten France out, but her economic program is as self-defeatingly Marxist as that of Hamon or Mélenchon. Le Pen also wants to attract the Muslim electorate. She went to Cairo a few months ago to meet the Grand Imam of al-Azhar. Like all other French political parties, her party supported the anti-Israeli positions of former U.S. President Barack Obama,
as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2334, passed last year on December 23.
Le Pen will likely win the first round of the two-round election, but will almost certainly be defeated in the second round: all the other candidates will gather behind the candidate facing her, probably Macron or Fillon (if he still is in the race). Le Pen might think that in five years the situation in France will be even worse, and that then she will have a serious chance to be elected President.
A few months ago, in a recently published book, Civil War is Coming, the French columnist Ivan Rioufol wrote: "The danger is not the National Front, which is only the expression of the anger of an abandoned people. The danger is the ever-closer links between leftism and Islamism.... The danger must be stopped."
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.