On July 4, on a small road in Lot-et-Garonne, in southwest France, a young gendarme, Mélanie Lemée, age 25, tried to stop Yacine E., a driver who was speeding. He accelerated and deliberately crushed her. She was killed instantly. Pictured: Gendarmes carry the coffin of Mélanie Lemée at her funeral in Merignac, near Bordeaux on July 9, 2020. (Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images)
Lyon, the third largest city in France, July 20, 3 a.m. A middle-class neighborhood. A young woman walks her dog on a quiet street. A car arrives at high speed and crushes her dog. The driver stops, backs up, runs over the young woman and crushes her too. He goes forward again, at full speed, and drags her dead body half a mile. People awakened by the noise write down the license number of the car. The police officers who come to the scene are horrified. The young woman's body was dismembered. A leg was found on one side of the street; the rest of her body was shredded. One arm was close to the body of her dog. The other was still holding onto the dog's leash. Her name was Axelle Dorier. She was a nurse, only 23.
The French Department of Justice asked the police not to release the name of the killer. An anonymous policeman released it anyway on a social network site. The killer's name is Youssef T. He was driving under the influence, without a license. The prosecutor charged him with "reckless murder". He is in jail awaiting trial. He risks a maximum sentence of ten years. Residents of Lyon wanted to organize a peaceful march to pay tribute to the young nurse. They asked the government to get tough on crime. The young woman's parents objected: they said they have "have no hatred" for the killer.
This was not the only barbaric act in France during the month of July. On July 4, on a small road in Lot-et-Garonne, in southwest France, a young gendarme, Mélanie Lemée, age 25, tried to stop a driver who was speeding. He accelerated and deliberately crushed her. She was killed instantly. The other gendarmes at the scene quickly found the driver. One of them, a police officer, gave the name of the driver to a journalist. The driver's name is Yacine E. He too was driving under the influence, without a license. Mélanie Lemée's parents did agree to a peaceful march, but also said that they had "no hatred" for the murderer. They even added that they had compassion for him, because "his life is destroyed".
A third barbaric act occurred on July 5 in Bayonne, a small town in the French Basque area. A bus driver, Philippe Monguillot, age 59, refused to allow two young men to board without tickets and masks. The two young men immediately started beating him violently and forced him get out of his bus. Two more young men joined them and began beating him too. They left him on a sidewalk. He was covered in blood and dying. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with a cerebral coma. His relatives, who came to see him there, said his face had been completely destroyed. Two days later he died. The four killers, who are in prison, have been identified. Journalists knew their names but decided not to publish them. Police officers gave them out anyway: Mohamed C., Mohammed A., Moussa B., Selim Z. There was a peaceful march. Philippe Monguillot's wife said that her life is destroyed and that she doubts the courts will do their job.
Equally horrific acts, increasingly numerous, have been taking place every day in France, many times, for years. The perpetrators are usually young adults in their late teens or early twenties. All are immigrants from the Muslim world. They are not Islamists and have no political or religious motives. They generally show no remorse.
They are described by the psychiatrists examining them as "practicing gratuitous violence": a violence without a goal other than enjoying inflicting violence. They appear to have no respect for human life or for laws.
Maurice Berger, a psychiatrist assigned to treat young people of this kind, recently published a book, "Sur la violence gratuite en France" ("On Gratuitous Violence in France"). "Gratuitous violence", he writes, can now happen anytime, anywhere, and strike anyone. "An act of gratuitous violence," he notes, "occurs every 44 seconds in France.... Any citizen can be confronted by it. If you do not want to compromise your chances of survival, you should submit, look down, accept humiliation."
Sometimes, as with Axelle Dorier, submitting is not possible: she did not have any contact with her killer until the moment he crushed her. Sometimes -- if you are, say, a bus driver or part of the police force -- your job does not allow you to submit.
The families of the victims, however, can submit, and often do just that. They are then showered with congratulations from political authorities and the media. Days after the terrorist attack at the Bataclan Theater in Paris in 2015, Antoine Leiris, the husband of a woman horribly tortured and killed inside the music hall, posted a letter to the terrorists on Facebook. He said he understood their motives and does not hate them. He added that he is not angry and has to continue living his life. The letter was immediately shared by hundreds of thousands on social media. A publishing company asked the author of the letter to add elements to the letter and make it into a book. The book, called "Vous n'aurez pas ma haine" ("You Will Not Have My Hate"), became an instant bestseller.
The judicial authorities also look down and submit: it is what they do. Asking the police and the media not to give the name of killers is an attempt to hide the truth and prevent the public from knowing exactly who in France is committing these acts. Hiding the name shows a desire to appease the killers: when a killer has a Christian name, it is immediately printed on the front page. Hiding the name shows fear of the communities to which the killers belong and of anger among the rest of the French population.
The political authorities do the same. They know that Muslim votes matter more than ever. Commenting on the murders of Axelle Dorier, Mélanie Lemée and Philippe Monguillot, President Emmanuel Macron called them "incivilities" and "regrettable", then quickly fled to another subject. The new Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, a lawyer, responded to a journalist who asked him what he thought of those who asked the government to be tough on crime. "Justice," the minister replied, "must be the guarantor of social peace". His most important task right now, he added, was to secure the repatriation of French jihadists imprisoned in Syria and Iraq to France, "because they are French citizens and the duty of France is to ensure that they avoid the death penalty".
Only Marine Le Pen, leader of the rightist National Rally Party, sounded firmer:
"What level of barbarism must we reach for the French to say stop to this increasing savagery in our society? How many policemen, gendarmes, bus drivers, slaughtered young girls or boys does it take?"
Immediately, the mainstream media accused her of pouring fuel on the fire and being an irresponsible extremist.
"France is undergoing reverse colonization," commented a journalist, Éric Zemmour, on television.
"Populations coming mainly from countries formerly colonized by France have settled in France without any intention of integrating. Most of them live in neighborhoods where the laws of Islam now reign and where imams spread hatred of France. Successive governments have allowed these neighborhoods to grow in the belief that hatred of France and the French would not come out of these neighborhoods.
"The hatred of France and the French did come out and took the form of riots and terrorism. It now takes the form of assaults and murders: a generalized expression of hatred of France and the French. And in a gesture of submission, the French authorities say that hatred does not emanate from those who kill, but from those who want to react and say that we must put an end to assaults and murders. It is a suicidal attitude."
"France is in a coma and near death", Michel Onfray, an author and philosopher, said in an interview. The main sign, he said, was the disappearance of Christianity, on which are based the values and ethics that have suffused the country for centuries. He noted that the churches are empty, the cathedrals burned down, and that the desecration of Christian places of worship is taking place and multiplying in in the face of general indifference. "Christianity is vanishing quickly," he added. "We are in an exhausted civilization. We only love what hates us, anything that destroys us is seen as great. There is a desire to destroy truth, history." He pointed to the root of the destruction: "We no longer teach the history of France and we no longer say what our civilization has accomplished. We only talk about our civilization to disparage it."
He concluded that he did not believe in a reawakening, but that he would fight to the end: "We must stand up, resist."
The number of anti-Jewish acts in France has grown in recent years. Tens of thousands of Jews have left, a wave of emigration that is gradually emptying France of its Jewish population. Many of the Jews who still live in France have abandoned the towns and neighborhoods where they used to live and moved to temporarily safer areas. Christians in France are considered infidels by the imams in the no-go zones; they are also easy prey for young men imbued with a hatred of France and the French, who are certainly not dissuaded by the submissive attitude of the authorities.
On May 30, in Paris, a demonstration was held of illegal immigrants, mostly from North- and sub-Saharan Africa. Although the demonstration had been banned by the government, the police were ordered not to intervene. Even though all the protesters were in violation of the law, only 92 participants were apprehended -- then quickly released. Two weeks later in Paris, another demonstration took place: in support of the family of Adama Traoré, an African criminal who died while violently resisting arrest. That demonstration was also banned by the government, and the police again ordered not to intervene. "Death to France," the protesters shouted, and sometimes, "Dirty Jews". Neither the government nor the mainstream media were shocked. French youths people belonging to Génération Identitaire (Generation Identity), a movement for the defense of France and Western civilization, stood on a roof and held up a banner saying, "Justice for the victims of anti-white racism". A man climbed on the roof of the building, in an apparent to destroy the banner. During interviews by television stations he was described for days as a hero of the "fight against fascism." The French youths who had held the banner, meanwhile, were arrested and charged with "incitement to hatred".
From June 16 to 18, in Dijon (population 156,000), the capital of Burgundy, street fights pitted a gang of Chechen drug traffickers against a gang of Arab drug traffickers. Military-grade weapons were used -- this in a country with no constitutional right to bear arms. The government once again asked the police not to intervene. The conflict was eventually settled in a mosque, under the supervision of imams. The police called for the residents of Dijon not to leave their homes and to be extremely careful until the fighting ended. The police made a few arrests, but only after the fighting had stopped.
On July 26, a ceremony was organized in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, a small village in Normandy where, four years ago, 86-year-old Father Jacques Hamel was murdered by two young Islamists while he was conducting mass. This year, Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin delivered a speech condemning "Islamic barbarity". "Killing a priest, in the heart of a church," he said, "is to try to assassinate a part of the national soul". He did not say that during the murder, the church had been almost empty, with only four elderly congregants who witnessed the murder helplessly. Darmanin, nevertheless, did add how satisfied he was that the French had not given in to anger but instead had chosen "peace".
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.