Is the French State failing?

colorful jigsaw puzzle piecesAre we experiencing today what Samuel P. Huntington wrote in 1996? The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order?

Those "émeutes" or riots are old news, some might say. However, a report improves—or becomes less bad—as the dust has had a chance to settle. Quick judgments in the heat of the moment are the business of opinionated journalists. What we need are facts and arguments.

The Facts

On June 27th last year, Nahel Merzouk, a 17-year-old Frenchman of Algerian-Moroccan origin, was killed by a police officer's gunshot during a derailed road check. This happened in Nanterre, in the department "Les Hauts de Seine," west of Paris. Riots broke out subsequently, first in Paris and its surroundings, and then in two-thirds of France. These lasted until July 7th.

The police officer claims to have acted in accordance with the 2017 legislation. At that time, in addition to the existing four conditions, a fifth condition was introduced under which the police are allowed to shoot. This fifth condition is complex. The police have to judge it in fractions of a second, while the courts usually take months or years to do so.

Based on a video lasting a few seconds, it was immediately clear to most media and also to President Emmanuel Macron: the police officer was wrong.

A 30-minute history of what could be seen in this video was neglected: the 17-year-old drove 80 to 100 km/h in the city, ran red lights, was a danger to pedestrians, risked running over a colleague, and drove on the part of the road reserved for buses. It then turned out that he did not have a driving license, that he was driving a rented car with 400 horsepower costing 80,000 euros—funded by what money?—with a Polish license plate, and that he already had about 15 "mentions or entries in the criminal history file," among them for theft and violent theft, and 3 times for neglecting a police order to stop (“refus d’obtempérer”) (Source: the French TV channel CNews). What penalties were handed out for these, we have not been able to find out.

Relative Impunity

Punishments exist but are in practice very small or non-existent. And why? First of all, because there is a severe shortage of prisons and similar institutions for minors. In addition, there is the understaffing of the French judiciary—per 100,000 inhabitants significantly fewer than the average in the E.U. This can be a source of dismissals, which in turn is often a source of recidivism. On top of that, there is the activist left behavior of part of the magistrates—see below. And finally, there is the downplaying of this impunity by a large part of the media, social scientists at universities, NGOs, and politicians. And this against a growing majority of public opinion, as has been shown by surveys. A further sign of the growing distance between the part of the elite that determines the political and judicial course and the majority of the population. Many offenses are therefore hardly punished. This reduces respect for public order among offenders. While some young people only have respect for power and intervention. Apparently not understood by the French government, unlike, for example, the governments in Algeria and Morocco, where similar incidents are dealt with much more resolutely, to the applause of the population. Hunger, however, comes with eating. With impunity, the chance increases that the offender will up the ante next time. As a result, the police, who have to do the thankless work, also become discouraged because they are mopping up with the tap open.

Why would this 17-year-old comply with a new police order to stop this time when he had already refused it 3 times before? In France, in 2022 there were almost 26,000 cases of “refus d’obtempérer,” or about 70 per day, or one every 20 minutes, and 120 stabbings per day. Facts that are considered as "faits divers."

Welcome to the French Far-West

Among the 27 E.U. countries, delinquency is the highest here, along with two other countries (Figarovox/Tribune from 14-7-2023, based on statistics from Eurostat and the Council of Europe). And two-thirds of this criminality is committed by people, mostly French, but with a migration background from the first, second, or third generation mainly from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, almost all former colonies or protectorates of France.

Inappropriate Statements

While the judiciary was looking into the case, President Emmanuel Macron called the police behavior the next day "injustifiable et inexcusable."

This violated the principle of "présomption d'innocence" (presumption of innocence). And that by a sitting president. Unprecedented.

This sparked general outrage and the anger of police unions. By aligning himself with the emotions of the street, Macron thought he would calm the situation. As one of his former interior ministers, Christophe Castaner, once said, "Les émotions priment le droit et la justice" (Emotions take precedence over law and justice). But it turned out differently. For several days, unprecedented riots in the problem neighborhoods (quartiers en banlieues) of Paris, Marseille, and almost all over France.

Arsons and Injuries in 2023 and 2005

The 2005 riots were triggered by the death of two French youths with a migration background, Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré, in Clichy-sous-Bois in the department of "Seine-Saint-Denis" east of Paris. To avoid a police check, they fled and broke into an electrical substation where they were electrocuted. The two police officers, a man and a woman, suspected of "being the cause of that flight behavior and electrocution," were acquitted after a long ordeal in 2015. But that is now forgotten by everyone.

During the large "émeutes" (riots) of 2005, around 200 municipalities and 25 departments were affected. In those of this year, more than 500 municipalities and more than 60 departments, with ritual burnings of cars, police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, police stations, municipal buildings, schools, libraries, maternity wards, and about a thousand shops that were also robbed.

There were about 24,000 arsons in public spaces - no figure was found for 2005. The number of cars set on fire was about 12,000 - compared to 10,350 in 2005. The number of burned or damaged buildings was about 2,500 - vis à vis 233 in 2005.

Law enforcers were instructed by the Minister of the Interior, Gérard Darmanin, not to act too harshly. Apparently, to not irritate the protesters too much. As a result, the number of injured among police and gendarmes probably increased: in total about 800, while there were hardly any injuries among the rioters - in 2005 there were 224 injured law enforcers and firefighters. Firefighters and medical responders were also recently injured. Police officers and gendarmes were pelted with stones, Molotov cocktails, and - which is rather new - with fireworks mortars and homemade bombs. These can be deadly for law enforcers.

To control a few thousand troublemakers among the protesters - estimates run up to 5,000 - more law enforcers were deployed day by day across France, up to 45,000 on the hottest days. Images of anarchy. A subsequent night with fewer arsons, arrests, and injuries was labeled a success.

The images of the riots resemble those of a civil war. Expressions like "ensauvagement," "décivilisation," "déculturalisation," and "dépaysement" were used.

The State Has the Legal Monopoly on Violence

Therefore, the following question becomes inevitable. If more restrictions are imposed on the police, will the number of law enforcers systematically be increased, as happened until early July, to subdue a very small number of troublemakers - which amounts to a very strong over-demand on the law enforcement services that have to neglect other tasks as a result? If yes, then the question arises whether the State is failing in the principled non-use of its legal monopoly on violence. As Thomas Sowell put it, "If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism." An example among others where the French government seems to shoot itself in the foot. An interpretation of the disorder that future troublemakers will not wait for.

Extreme-left fuels the fire

In this kind of anarchy during French riots, the far-left party "La France Insoumise" (LFI) led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon tries to gain ground. They also fomented unrest and hatred towards the police. This former member of the Parti Socialiste (PS) went so far as to advise the protesters to spare, for example, gymnasiums, schools, and libraries from arson, thereby implicitly giving his approval for the burning of other buildings and goods. During a banned demonstration, members of the LFI parliament participated, chanting "Tout le monde déteste la police." Mélenchon is mindful that anarchy is the stepping stone to absolute power, as was also the case with Maximilien Robespierre during the Reign of Terror (1793-1794) phase of the French Revolution. The chairman of the French Communists, Fabien Roussel, who distanced himself unconditionally from the behavior of LFI, was recently insulted as a Jacques Doriod, a communist from the 1930s who later collaborated with the Nazis and joined the Waffen-SS.

Overt Politicization of the Judiciary

Incidentally, there is a "Syndicat des Magistrats" in France, to which a third of the magistrates are affiliated. They are left and far-left. In September last year, they participated in "La fête de l'humanité," a demonstration against the police organized by the communist daily l'Humanité. They are mindful of Antonio Gramsci's (1891–1937) cultural Marxism. Statements that characterize their union: "L' acte de juger est un acte politique" and "Ce n'est pas à la justice de rétablir l'ordre." A mockery of the separation of powers. It is deemed incomprehensible by many experts that neither the "Conseil d'Etat," nor the "Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature," nor the "Garde des Sceaux" or Minister of Justice, Eric Dupont-Moretti, intervene. The latter excused Macron's inappropriate comment on the death of Nahel with "Il est normal que le président participe aux émotions." Previously, he labeled the public's feeling of insecurity as "un fantasme" (a delusion).

The Official Government Report

The words of Macron and the guidelines from Darmanin should be confronted with the official report requested by the same Minister of the Interior and that of Justice: "Mission d’analyse des profils et motivations des délinquants interpellés à l’occasion de l’épisode de violences urbaines" from June 27 to July 7. The report was submitted to the government on September 14 by the "Inspection générale de la Justice" and the "Inspection générale de l’Administration" (Sources: République Française, Vie publique, 21-10-2023 and Agence France Presse (AFP), 11-10-2023). It states that in the motivations of the offenders, the death of Nahel Merzouk only played for less than 8% of them. Political and ideological demands played little part. Opportunism played a role in 41%, mainly expressed by those who committed thefts. In the case of more serious offenses such as arson, destruction, and confrontations with the security services, the motives were: being swept along by the group for 29%, and curiosity and the craving for adrenaline rushes for 23%. These motivations appear to be in line with the average profile of the convicted offender: a man, averaging 17 years – ranging from 11 to 59 – with little or no education, inactive or unemployed, unmarried and without children, and of French nationality, but without mentioning the portion thereof with a migration background. And, as the report states, 57% had no judicial antecedents ("antécédants judiciaires"), while among these 57% there were some with a criminal record ("casier judiciaire") with one or more "mentions" (or "inscriptions"). Incidentally, according to a consulted magistrate, the opposite could apply in Belgium, namely that one has a clean criminal record but does have judicial antecedents. The government report underlines the significant role of social media as an ignition mechanism for the riots, for logistics and the deployment of movements on the ground, and for outbidding in the urge to destroy.

There were 4,146 prosecutions initiated against users of violence, 92% of which had penal consequences. A much higher percentage than usual, and with heavier sentences than previously used for such offenses. In 2005 there were 6,056 interrogations and 1,328 pronounced prison sentences.

Based on the climate of decades-long relative impunity - such as the absence of a pertinent punishment for the first crime - and the laxity of the government in maintaining public order, it can be predicted that the next riots, regardless of the ignition mechanism or occasion, will be more violent and more destructive. As was also predicted by, among others, Guillaume Gigot in his "Les sept scénarios de l’apocalypse" (2000) and as co-author of "Le jour où la France tremblera: terrorisme islamiste, les vrais risques pour l’Hexagone" (2006).

Migration and Islamization

Many politicians also predicted, albeit often informally, that major problems were brewing under the surface. Some examples. Former socialist president François Hollande recently said that these riots had nothing to do with immigration, while in 2017 he said that migration posed a risk of "partition." Manuel Valls, successively Minister of the Interior and Prime Minister under Hollande, recently said that migration should be stopped. Gérard Collomb, a member of the Parti Socialiste and the first Minister of the Interior under President Macron, has warned about the advancing Islamization and migration policy, even as a minister. Jacques Attali, among others, adviser to socialist President François Mitterrand, is the most recent convert. Following the recent images from Lampedusa, he said ...

"Europe has become a sieve."

While in the time of the Maastricht debate, he was a fervent supporter of the abolition of borders. Pierre Lellouche, who was a minister under the Fillon I and II governments during the presidency of the right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy, often spoke out against migration and Islamization that damage national cohesion. Last May, he argued that the emigration of young people from Maghreb countries suits their governments well to more easily maintain established and often failing power – an important overlooked aspect of migration. The Catholic Philippe de Villiers, who was Minister of Culture from 1986 to 1987 in the right-wing Chirac II government under Mitterrand, also often spoke out against immigration and Islamization.

Recently, de Villiers disagreed with the statements of Pope Francis in Marseille on September 23 about migration. The Pope criticized Europe for "il fanatismo dell'indifferenza" (the fanaticism of indifference). This can be contrasted with the aphorism of the Catholic Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936): "The modern world is full of ancient Christian virtues gone mad. They have gone mad, because they are isolated from each other and because they wander on their own."

A white man is kicked to death on July 5 and 6

During the major riots from June 27 to July 7, a native 72-year-old man was beaten to the ground and then kicked by one of three youths aged 14, 17, and 18, after he asked them to make less noise at half-past eleven in the evening of July 5. This happened in Vieux-Condé in the "département du Nord". On July 6, he was found dead by a passing driver. He died shortly thereafter in the hospital. The perpetrators are from a neighboring village Condé-sur-l'Escaut. Their background is not yet known, but there are suspicions. Like many of these incidents where the victim is a white Frenchman—such as Samuel Paty in 2020, whose head was severed on the street after being killed with 17 stab wounds—this also did not receive the necessary attention, neither from the President, nor from the media, nor from the National Assembly, which observed a minute of silence for the death of Nahel Merzouk. Reverse racism and selective indignation. In the existing atmosphere of impunity and recidivism, such incidents can continue to increase. Because the kind of youth who do this are often devoid of empathy and only have respect for power. If the government doesn't step in, you reap what you sow—a concept the social democrats in Denmark understand. A sort of unspoken urge for self-destruction. North African governments know better.

Causes according to the press: racist and brutal police and poverty

Many, if not most, French and international newspapers, even right-wing ones like the Wall Street Journal, pointed the finger at the police and at poverty and the disadvantage of first, second, and third-generation immigrant communities from North African and sub-Saharan countries. Excusing criminality through poverty is a recurring refrain. Yet another false debate. The UN spoke of systemic racism in the French police. A cop-out. The account of the French riots in the Financial Times from June 29 to July 7 could be more balanced.

It is obviously predictable that the massive and wild migration of non-Europeans with very different cultures than Western Europeans would lead most first-generation migrants—and often also second and third generations—to relative poverty. This is partly because there is significant uprooting, which only a small minority can positively deal with. And because the will must exist to overcome the culture shock by adapting to the host country. Adapting doesn't mean saying farewell to one's roots.

But that will to adapt is often lacking, sometimes doesn't exist at all, or is sometimes even actively discouraged—Erdogan once told Turks in Cologne that it was "ein Verbrechen" (a crime) to assimilate or integrate with the host country. The responsibility for this is shared, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the state where the political will is lacking. France is a special case because almost all non-European migrants come from former colonies or protectorates, with whom France's relations are now often worse than before. That also creates fertile ground for despising or hating France, often further fueled by certain parties. The failure to adapt is a lack of courtesy towards the host country. Failure to adapt is also, throughout almost the entire history of the world, the exception. And a lack of statesmanship on the part of the government that lets it slide. It is thus tendentious to say that "French riots highlight entrenched inequalities. Immigrants in France fare much worse than the native born" (Financial Times of July 7). Like excusing rape by frustration…

A further consideration is that this relative poverty in our society should be compared to the absolute poverty in the societies from which the migrants come. By that comparison, they have arrived in an El Dorado. They are now more affluent, whether they work or live off benefits, most of which don't exist in their countries of origin.

Furthermore, the financial assistance per capita to the relatively poor in the banlieues is higher than that to the relatively poor in rural areas. The "Aides de la Caisse d'allocations familiales" includes three types of interventions: those that fall under the 2009 "Revenu de Solidarité Active" legislation to achieve a minimum income, help for adult disabled people, and housing assistance. Three-quarters of banlieue residents receive at least one of these three benefits, while for the rest of France it's only half. More is given to the relatively poor in the banlieues than to the average relatively poor in France. In addition, there are the many tens of billions that have been allocated over time to the problem-banlieues. The Cours des Comptes (Court of Audit) estimated that for several decades the state has been spending at least 10 billion per year on "politique de la ville" (urban policy), to which the financing of urban renovation by local authorities must be added (Source: Boulevard Voltaire, July 1, 2023).

Underlying Causes

The deeper cause for the situation in the disadvantaged neighborhoods must be sought in unchecked immigration, growing Islamism, increasing drug trade, lack of integration (or assimilation or acculturation), impunity, "déculturalisation," the attitude of many media with their culture of justification, the activism of some human rights organizations and part of the judiciary, and political cynicism. In short, a failure of politics. This is not discussed in official government reports. The big absentees are the two elephants in a small room: migration and Islamism. What would be typically right-wing in the concern for these phenomena?

Two-thirds of delinquency in France comes from migrants, most of whom are French, but are first, second, and third-generation migrants, and the vast majority of them are of North African and African origin. France's colonial past in mainly North and West Africa is not unrelated to this. In France, there are now about 350 jihadists in prison. Some are regularly released. Outside of that, about 500 walk freely. The number of radicalized individuals is estimated at 20,000, of which 5,000 are severe. The powder of the Enlightenment is not sufficient against this. According to Darmanin, two attacks are prevented in France every month. If one is tolerant towards the intolerant – a form of self-flagellation - one is condemned to become a victim of it. Then tolerance disappears. This is what Karl Popper judged in his "The Open Society and its Enemies" (1945). Tolerance will then not give birth to tolerance, as one hopes.

The feeling of insecurity that arises from this is real and not a fiction of right-wing parties as many in politics and the media, both left and far-left, would like to claim. The distance between the silent majority on the one hand, and the government and most media on the other, is constantly growing, as surveys in France and elsewhere in Europe show: outspoken majorities support the police and oppose current migration. The reason is that politics and media refuse to name the problems and place them in their context, such as the fact that issues like poverty, housing, crime, safety, declining educational standards, social cohesion, mobility, issues that are now widely complained about, will further increase with further migration. Whoever does name them is usually silenced as populist or far-right. To nip any debate in the bud. And that often seems to succeed. Anything is better than acknowledging the facts. More people would then become aware of the real state of affairs. Because if these matters can be argued, it turns out time and again that the right has substantiated opinions, while the left mainly recycles woolly slogans. Or ideology under the guise of philanthropy, often fueled by Christian guilt.

Under many previous presidents, both left and right, a situation grew where it was tolerated that 750 neighborhoods now largely escape state control, according to retired division general Emmanuel de Richoufftz, a specialist in the matter who was a constructive educator in problem neighborhoods for a long time (his nickname: "Général des banlieues") and advocates military involvement. Since 2017, Macron has continued this trend. Better to remain silent than to publicly acknowledge that problems have grown. Because they give in to the task of reclaiming districts.

Islamo-gauchisme

Louis Tobback, who was a good Minister of the Interior and a good party leader of the Flemish socialists, expressed the feeling of many Belgians when he was quoted in Humo on December 5, 1991: "Asylum seekers who sit here like seagulls on a landfill because it is easier than fishing or farming at home should be systematically deported." Why the major turnaround in the attitude of left-wing parties towards migration? Eric Zemmour, the Frenchman of Algerian, Berber, and Jewish descent and the leader of the party "La Reconquête" in France, provided an answer to this with the term "Islamo-gauchisme." In France, as with us, the last worker has long since turned off the lights at the socialists. Therefore, the left tapped into a new electorate among migrants of recent decades, a large part of whom are Muslim, and more in France than with us. This is remarkable because the socialists were the party par excellence that for a long time advocated the separation of Church and State after the latter had long given up its theocratic ambitions. While the left now associates itself with a religion that is theocratic. Because Islam is not just a religion but also a political dogma, which is contrary to the traditions of Europe after the Inquisition.

The Biggest Victims

In this context, it is ironic but strongly underemphasized that the majority of the population in these neighborhoods – a majority of whom have a migration background – are asking for a greater police presence. Because they are the first victims of the growing anarchy in these areas. But the government abandoned these districts a long time ago. This represents a failure of the government in carrying out its first and foremost duty, the protection of its population. Not only the original French population but also the vast majority of the residents of these problem neighborhoods, who are often, although mostly of French nationality, mainly first, second, and third-generation migrants, and who suffer the criminality and tyranny of a small minority.

A topic that neither politics nor the French press wants to hear.

Opinion Makers

Because, as argued by the TV channel France 2: "We propagate an image of France as it should be." Their definition of a pluralistic democracy. Or a new totalitarianism. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Pot, they couldn't have said it better. As a Dutch Jew said after the Second World War: new totalitarianism will arise from the current movement that claims to be anti-fascist. One of the few channels where these themes are discussed, and where arguments are made between right and left, is CNews. A prime example is their program from 7 to 8 p.m. on the first four days of the week. There, every discussion is introduced by presenting a file with the facts. It seems that people have forgotten that this is the primary task of the media. The newly appointed Minister of Education in May 2022, Pap Ndiaye, who was fired after 14 months, recently said that this channel should be fought by all means.

The government and most media are afraid to say what people are experiencing. The efforts of the government are focused on its image and on communication. Content is rarely, and then poorly, communicated. There seems to be room at universities for more chairs in political marketing and communication. There is also still room for more opinionated journalists in the media.

Fear, Masochism, and Self-hatred

All this feeds the anxiety about the future of our Western democracies. A growing spread of detestation for whites and white self-hate. Friedrich Nietzsche said in his book "Morgenröte" (1881, section 79) that self-haters are dangerous. And so we better teach them some self-love. Because how can we expect others to love us when we hate ourselves? The second president of the United States, John Adams, said that democracies were never defeated but disappeared through suicide.

Gastauteur Dr. Frank Boll

Topics for which the following authors have provided content:

Pascal Bruckner, "Le Sanglot de l’Homme Blanc: Tiers-Monde, culpabilité, haine de soi" (1983) and "La Tyrannie de la pénitence: Essai sur le masochisme Occidental" (2006), Eric Zemmour "Le Suicide Français" (2004), Hamed Abdel-Samad, "Der Untergang der islamischen Welt" (2010), Douglas Murray, "The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam" (2017), and Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, "The Islam and the suicide of the West: the origin, doctrine, and goal of Islam" (2018), a book that is discussed in Dwarsliggers.eu on 9-9-2023. See also the reviews of two books by the white father Serge Desouter who lived for four years in a Muslim community in Niger (in Dwarsliggers.eu on 5-8-2020 and 21-10-2022).