Over the previous 5 years, France has been significantly affected by terrorist assaults.
DW mentioned the scenario with essayist and professor of German literature and intercultural research at Sorbonne Nouvelle College Jürgen Ritte, a German-French translator who has been residing in Paris for the previous 33 years.
DW: The assault on the Bataclan live performance corridor, on the Charlie Hebdo editorial places of work, on individuals celebrating in Nice, and extra not too long ago a teacher decapitated close to Paris and a knife assault at a church in Nice — would you say all of them have been aimed on the coronary heart of French society?
Jürgen Ritte: Sure, that is what makes it significantly disgusting. Excessive-ranking politicians are protected, however establishments open to everybody have been focused. Church buildings are open to the general public, colleges are open in as far as the exits aren’t normally guarded. The center of society was chosen; it’s the solely secure goal.
Has one thing gone flawed in France, additionally with regard to coming to phrases with the colonial previous? Did the media maybe play down points just like the function of Islam, and never put sufficient concentrate on the dearth of integration?
Individuals invariably make that connection however we’re speaking about two various things. It’s tough to talk of a failed integration coverage when, as in Good, you might be coping with an murderer who was in France for only a few hours.
Additionally it is tough to talk of failed integration if you find yourself coping with the son of a Chechen asylum seeker who fled Chechnya throughout the battle that Russia waged there, and now the son thinks he has to proceed the battle ultimately by killing a instructor he does not even know. I can not see that as a matter of failed integration. It’s merely homicide, and prison organizations are concerned.
You educate each literature and journalism on the Sorbonne. How do you cope with points like radicalization of Islam and social injustice, points which might be all linked?
There isn’t any denying that France has social issues in a few of the main cities’ peripheral districts. The state has certainly failed there. It has pulled out and doesn’t deal with the individuals crammed into public housing tasks. It has failed as a result of it has deserted the academics within the colleges with overcrowded courses and since, like in Marseille, cops do not even enterprise there as a result of they worry assaults by drug sellers.
What could be referred to as a social failure by the state is the truth that because the days of President Francois Mitterrand, no idea for the new spots within the so-called “banlieues” has been efficiently developed or carried out.
However you may’t say that in consequence, individuals at the moment are starting to behead and stab and slaughter different individuals like animals. I take into account it to be extraordinarily problematic to ascertain this connection, it’s an impermissible bypass, an amalgam.
How about France’s dealing with of its colonial previous?
France’s colonial previous is the explanation why Islam is the nation’s second largest non secular group. An important many individuals from the previous colonial areas or protectorates from North Africa, usually additionally from sub-Saharan Africa, stay in France, they’re French individuals in France. Social development has been uncommon, however that doesn’t imply they aren’t built-in or stay depressing lives. They’re all French, they’ve French passports, not like for instance, many Turks in Germany.
Most of them make it one way or the other. They will not be sufficiently represented in sectors of French society which might be seen, like widespread TV information broadcasters, or amongst senior politicians and civil servants, college professors, heads of massive corporations or within the tradition sector. However many graduate from highschool and discover jobs afterwards.
These individuals belong to the Muslim non secular group, however have completely nothing to do with terror, they adamantly reject it as a result of they’re tarred with the identical brush when terror assaults happen.
It’s not the representatives of a dominant white French society who don’t distinguish between Islamism and Muslims, however the Islamists who intentionally create this confusion, who’re forcing a cut up in society, who cater to the intense proper and who in the end lengthy for a civil war-like state.
Are these then distinctive acts by people slightly than a consequence of France’s failed integration coverage?
That rationalization can be too mechanistic, as a result of then we’d have a everlasting civil battle throughout Western Europe. Individuals in all places have purpose to be dissatisfied. You may discover teams that aren’t correctly built-in in all places, too, teams for who the state is absent. We don’t have to sugarcoat that: We’ve got issues in society.
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The assault on Samuel Paty, the instructor, and the knife assault on the church in Good — the assaults have turn out to be extra savage. Would you say executing an individual out on the road has symbolic energy?
I’ve the impression that they’re symbolic acts within the sense that they’re killings like these we now have seen on tv, from photos of what the so-called Islamic State did in Iraq and Syria. We have seen the pictures from Afghanistan.
To chop off an individual’s head, to butcher them like an animal, you may’t do something worse in its barbaric dimension. However that’s how they stage themselves, the cruel arm of an avenging god: There’s a purpose why some assassins movie their murders. The truth that the photographs of Samuel Paty’s beheading have been fast to be circulated on the Web [an Islamist imam had posted them on the net, editor’s note] is a part of the thought; it is the message. That’s whole terror.
How can France nonetheless defend its values if the educating workers should worry being executed within the streets?
To begin with, we have to enhance safety in colleges. We have already got the “Vigipirate” safety measures launched after the Charlie Hebdo assaults, the place universities and different public buildings like museums are accessible solely by means of a gate and after controls. We must always do the identical in colleges.
It’s fairly merely a matter of defending a authorized system. We’ve got the police and secret providers for prevention. We’ve got legal guidelines, and courts. That’s what we must always depend on to start with. President Macron has repeatedly reminded us of France’s values: Freedom of expression, secularism.
I discover problematic upholding values with fairly some rhetorical effort after each single terrorist assault. It’s comprehensible in view of the massive shock the assaults set off. However ought to we have interaction in a dialogue of values due to terrorist assaults? Ought to we let murderers power on us a dialogue? That may give them legitimacy, it means we’d settle for homicide as a contribution to the dialogue when you marvel what values the opposite facet places up for debate.
This interview was translated from German by Dagmar Breitenbach.