I edited parts of the article I posted on 18 July and did so a few hours after it was posted. I had sensed a connection between the result of the Brexit referendum and the 2016 Nice attack, but also felt there was a difference. The connection was the “send them back” printed on the shirts of certain British pro-leave voters. France’s Front National‘s is an anti-immigration political party. Britain does not have an anti-immigration or nativist political party, in which it differs from France. However, some leave voters thought, or we led to think, that leaving the European Union meant excluding immigrants.
One may wonder why France has been targeted by terrorists three times in the last two years:
- Charlie Hebdo (15 Janvier 2015),
- the Bataclan (13 November 2015),
- and the Nice attack (14 July 2016).
These attacks cannot be explained in any satisfactory manner. They are barbaric and senseless. Let’s give love a chance.
However, these attacks may be associated with France’s history as a colonial power. It was in North Africa, Algeria especially. Algiers was captured in 1830, Tunisia was conquered in 1881, and Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1950.
A long time ago, these countries were inhabited by Berbers. However, Algeria fell to the Arabs (7th century CE) and then to the Ottoman Empire (1560-1830), often referred to as the Turkish Empire. The French captured Algiers in 1830 and walked out of Algeria under Charles de Gaulle. On 18 March 1962, de Gaulle declared the cease-fire that ended the Algerian War (1954-1962). Below is a video of his speech.
However, the violence continued after the cease-fire. Approximately 800,000 Pieds-Noirs had to flee to France. Pieds-Noirs (literally black feet) is the name given French settlers in North Africa. They had lived in Algeria for a long time, several generations. Moreover, many Algerians had been educated in France and identified with France. (See Algerian War, Wikipedia.)
France remained a target. You may remember Air France Flight 8969. The anti-terror unit of the National Gendarmerie killed all four hijackers without further loss of life among passengers and the plane’s crew. Three passengers had been killed by the hijackers. France has been attacked several times. (See List of Terrorist Incidents in France, Wikipedia.)
There are Berbers to this day in North Africa, in the Atlas Mountains in particular, but the population of Algeria was Arabised and so was, to a greater or lesser extent, the population of Tunisia and, less so, the population of Morocco. However, North-African terrorists are Arabised Berbers. The Arab Spring began in Tunisia, on 18 December 2010.
Although ISIL has claimed responsibility for the 2016 Nice attack, the attacker, Mohamed Lahouaief-Bouhlel, lived in France, but was born in Tunisia. The Kouachi brothers (Charlie Hebdo, January 2015) were born in Paris of Algerian parents, but they were radicalized in the Middle East. In France, colonialism and terrorism may therefore be related.
Therefore, when members of the Front National claim that France cannot be multicultural, i.e. nativism, they are expressing their determination not to admit Muslim immigrants into France. At the moment Muslim migrants are flooding Europe. Therefore, Muslims are the immigrants. ISIL and the Syrian Civil War have wreaked havoc on the Middle East and these conflicts are taking a toll on Europe.
The result of the Brexit referendum may reflect the nativism advocated by the Front National.
Marine Le Pen in Quebec
Marine Le Pen visited Quebec recently. A large number of Canadians are refugees or the descendants of refugees, and many are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Consequently, although it can only welcome a limited number of Syrian refugees, 25 thousand, the majority of Canadians do not see Syrian refugees as potential terrorists or as persons who will drain Canada’s social programmes. That has not been the Canadian experience so far.
Such is not Marine Le Pen’s opinion. She believes immigrants are impoverishing France and, in an interview with Ici Radio-Canada‘s Anne-Marie Dussault, Madame Le Pen stated that terrorists had entered France with the flow of migrants. She was warning Canadians.
Canadian civil servants flew to Jordan to screen the Syrians who have entered my country and it picked them up in refugee camps. In fact, Quebec is attempting to transform its immigrants into French-speaking Québécois. It may or may not work, but meanwhile Quebec is building bridges.
France has been attacked because of its former colonial empire, which included Indochine (Vietnam). So it has trained personnel to deal with crisis, its Gendarmerie’s Intervention and crisis management unit (GIGN). It is its SWAT team. France is otherwise protected, but terrorist attacks are difficult to prevent. Who would have thought that someone would rent a 19-tonne truck and drive it through a crowd watching a fireworks display?
This act of hate did however bring grist to Marine Le Pen’s mill. I listened to several interviews last weekend. Members of the Front National seemed disturbingly pleased to add this grim trophy to their collection.
Marine Le Pen could be the next President of France.
Love to everyone. ♥
Maher Zain – Alhubbu Yasood | ماهر زين – الحب يسود |
© Micheline Walker
21 July 2016