"The French Suicide" ("Le suicide français") is a book published by the author Éric Zemmour in October 2014. Just one year later, on November 13, 2015 in Paris, a horror took place at the Bataclan Theater, when three terrorists fired into the crowd during a concert, murdered 130 people, and injured 413. Some of the victims had been tortured.
The French population reacted as usual: shock and horror quickly gave way to resignation and submission. Flowers, candles and teddy bears were placed at the scene of the attacks. The government promised to act, but did almost nothing. A ceremony was organized that ended with a song that said, "When All You Have is Love".
A parliamentary commission of inquiry drafted a report. Military forces, deployed in the streets before the attacks, were reinforced. A climate of resignation and submission reigned.
Pictured: Policemen outside of the Bataclan Theater in Paris, France on November 16, 2015, three days after the murderous terrorist attack. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
When the Bataclan Theater reopened a year later, the musician Sting sang a song called Inshallah ("If it be your will, it shall come to pass"). Commemorative plaques bearing the word "murders" -- not terrorism, and of course not jihad -- were laid to honor the victims so that passers-by would learn that people were killed, but not by whom. For the second anniversary of the attacks, political leaders from left and right released balloons and smiled as they rose in the sky.
The attacks of November 13, 2015 had seemed to be relegated to an almost forgotten past, when two recent events put them back on the map.
Lawyers for the victims of the attacks carefully read the report of the commission of inquiry (released to the public on July 5, 2016), and discovered a few shocking facts. It turned out that soldiers in charge of anti-terrorism operations had been standing nearby on the night of the attack. Also, when the police officers who arrived at the scene as the attack began discovered that they had no adequate weapons with which to confront the terrorists, they asked the soldiers for help. The soldiers contacted the Military Governor of Paris, General Bruno Le Ray, who replied that France was "not at war", and that it was "unthinkable to put soldiers in danger to save lives". Therefore, while dozens of innocent people were being murdered, the soldiers, a few dozen meters away, did not respond. Meanwhile, the police waited for reinforcements, which took more than three hours to arrive.
The lawyers for the victims were horrified. They spoke of non-assistance to persons in danger and decided to sue the army and the police. The complaint was officially filed on June 8, 2018.
Shortly after that, posters announcing two events at the Bataclan were posted in Paris.
These events -- Islamic rap concerts -- are scheduled to take place this October, close to the third anniversary of the attacks. The artist who will perform them is called Médine, after Medina, the city from which the Prophet of Islam began to conduct his jihad. Médine's lyrics are filled with hatred towards non-Muslims, France and the West. One of his best-known songs, in fact, is called "Jihad". Apparently to make sure that his message clear, Médine has released pictures showing him wearing a T-shirt on which the "J" in the word jihad is replaced by a vertical sword. In other photos, Médine can be seen making a "quenelle", a hand gesture similar to a chest-level of the Nazi salute and made famous by Dieudonné, a comedian convicted for anti-Semitism.
Organizations representing the families of the Bataclan victims said that an Islamic rap concert praising jihad, in a place where people were murdered and tortured by jihadists, would be an insult to the memory of the victims, and asked that the concerts be canceled.
The lawsuit filed by the lawyers is unlikely to succeed. The government has already said that the army and the police have "done their duty."
The concerts will most likely not be canceled. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that "freedom of speech" has to be respected and accused the complaining organizations of playing the game of the "extreme right." Muslim organizations spoke of "Islamophobia."
Laurent Wauquiez, president of the conservative Les Républicains party, said that "the role of the police and the army is to watch over the safety of people and not wait passively while people get killed." He also said that if the concerts were held, it would be a "sacrilege" and the second death of the victims of the attacks. Other conservative politicians shared his opinion. They were immediately accused of "racism".
Most mainstream French media outlets remained silent. Those who broke the silence accused the lawyers of needlessly wanting to reopen old wounds. Virtually no journalist spoke of booking Médine's concerts at the Bataclan: those who did, such as Edouard Philippe, invoked "freedom of speech".
Evidently, then, France is a country where the police and the army can refuse to protect people, and where generals can order dereliction of duty without being sanctioned. France is also evidently a country where praising jihad in a place where jihadists massacred people is acceptable.
Although there has been no major attack in France since July 14, 2016, when a Muslim terrorist murdered 86 people by ramming a truck into a crowd in Nice, other, smaller, Islamic attacks have taken place. A priest was beheaded in Normandy while he was saying mass. Two elderly Jewish women were tortured and murdered in their Paris apartments. Two young women were hacked to death with a machete in front of the Marseille train station. Three customers of a supermarket and a gendarmerie officer were slaughtered near Carcassonne. And on May 12, 2018, a young man was stabbed to death near the Place de l'Opera in Paris.
No one even reacted.
French President Emmanuel Macron, a few weeks after he was elected, while sharing an iftar dinner during Ramadan with the leaders of the French Muslim community, said that "attacks" were the results of "perverse lies" that have nothing to do with Islam. He also said that in France, Islam must have "the place it deserves". He is working on that. A big event called "Assises de l'Islam de France" ("The Foundation of the Islam of France") is scheduled for this fall.
In the coming months, 450 people defined as "radicalized" and dangerous will be released from prison: they all will have completed their sentences. France is a country where people who commit first-degree murder rarely spend more than 15 years in prison. The government claims that everyone released will be monitored. During the last decade, however, most of those who murdered in the name of jihad were supposedly monitored.
President Macron, noting that a growing minority of the French are anxious about the future, and that people throughout Europe vote more and more for parties eager to defend Western civilization, spoke of a "rising leprosy".
"France is at war, and leaves the enemy in peace", wrote the journalist Ivan Rioufol recently in the daily Le Figaro. Macron and the French government, however, do not seem to think that France is at war. They speak and act as if the enemy has won and as if they want to gain some time and enjoy the moment before the final surrender.
On July 3, in Nantes, a young thug named Aboubakar Fofana, while trying to escape arrest, injured a police officer, and in the process was shot by another police officer. Three nights of chaos followed. Dozens of cars and shops were burned. The policeman who shot Aboubakar Fofana is charged with manslaughter and could be sentenced to prison -- simply for trying to enforce the law. He was, it was ruled, in the wrong. Whenever a police officer in France wants to enforce the law and a violent incident happens, the policeman is punished. Two other cases of the same kind:
In October 2005, policemen tried to arrest two young men, Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré. The young men escaped and tried to hide in an electricity substation, where they were electrocuted by accident. Ten days of riots followed, which caused up to €200 million in damage. Two policemen were accused of "failure to help" and "deliberately endangering the lives of others". They were fired and indicted. They were declared innocent ten years later.
In February 2017, a young man called Theo Luhaka attacked policemen, and was arrested. He was hurt and accused policemen to have "raped" him. A policeman was fired and was indicted by a judge. Riots occurred all over the country. François Hollande who was then President came to visit Theo at the hospital. One year later, the policeman was declared innocent, the policeman still receive death threats.
The police officers and soldiers who did nothing for hours during the November 13, 2015 terrorist attack may just not have wanted to risk being punished.
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.