Do you remember the last time France actually stood united on something for more than a week? Apart from industrial strikes, I don’t. Just a week ago, it appeared that, in a rare show of unity, both ordinary people and the political class stood firm for free of speech and the right to offend. But in the spirit of the three-day working week, the politicians soon went back to their usual authoritarian left impulses.
How reckless it was to suggest that France had become the epicentre of the culture wars. The Islamist massacre in the Charlie Hebdo offices could have come to symbolise the war between the politically correct, Islamism-tolerant, witless establishment and those who stand up for Western ideals of freedom that grant unconditional rights of expression. But the truth is, France is no stronghold of freedom, it is exactly the opposite. France is the home of that troublesome idea that there are topics that must be protected and never criticised.
The Mayor of Paris, Annie Hidalgo, is about to sue Fox News for defamation, accusing it of insulting the ‘great’ city of Paris. The reason for this ridiculous action is the suggestion that Paris has ‘no-go zones’ filled with Muslims where even the police are afraid to go. This is the ultimate slap in the face for those who went on the unity marches just a week ago to demonstrate that all topics should be open to criticism.
In the end, the French government took a mere week to return to business as usual. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however. The Mayor of Paris is from the same party as President François Holland – the Socialists – who most probably do not want to know the real reasons why the perpetrators assaulted their country.
It is indeed over. The Fifth Republic is done. France now has a Sixth Republic that cannot bear humour and has a code of sacred, untouchable topics – the city of Paris and its multicultural, politically correct nature being the first one.
I don’t know your views about Paris, but from I’ve been told and know, it’s dirty, expensive, ghettoised, and ridiculously mismanaged. In fact, Paris and to greater extent the whole of France, is becoming the Detroit of Europe, from which industry is trying to flee due to the nature of the French capitalism, or more precisely, lack of it.
The failed 75 percent tax hike led to an exodus of businesses and the wealthy, while increasing regulation is killing even the world-famous wine industry and the remains of industrialised France. The French youth, meanwhile, are finding it harder and harder to realise their ambitions.
The city of Paris is also undeniably segregated. It might sound like an exaggeration to claim that there are ‘no-go zones’, but the government has the official list of ‘Sensitive Urban Zones’ that are mostly areas with high unemployment, crime, public housing. These often happen to be neighbourhoods of Muslim immigrants. Say what you want, but when a government has to issue a list of such zones, one must have a bit of suspicion.
After all, in 2005, those districts were the source of riots that forced the state to institute a state of emergency for up to 3 months. So maybe it is not completely false to suggest that the police prefer to opt out of patrolling such areas.
Surely, one could say that this is not the same as ‘no-go zones’, but would you recommend that tourists visit such areas for a night out? For me, if you can’t have a safe night out, it’s a no-go zone.
It is indeed an uncomfortable truth the French authoritarian left still attempts to hide. No wonder the Mayor of Paris is about to sue Fox News on the same grounds as some protested the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. People claimed that the cartoons were prejudiced and offensive. The Mayor says that the portrayal of Paris was prejudiced and insulted the city’s honour. If you were not yet sure about the natural alliance between radical Islam and the authoritarian left, this is your proof. That short blink of reason during the time of mourning was just an exception, a necessity employed by the movement to survive and capitalise.