Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Paris March and March 14...

"We can be a Million on Monday" screamed the text message that was sent to me to be present on March 14, 2005 - which was supposed to be a manifestation as a retaliation against the "day of alliance with Syria" (March 8th, orchestrated mainly by the Hizbollah), and also a way to express outrage over the death of PM Rafic Hariri.
Then sadly, on March 15th, "March 14th" stopped being a day owned by the people, by those who brought their medicine boxes and folding chairs, by those who texted friends and strangers, by those got stuck in traffic and did not mind, by those who came up with creative slogans and childishly scribbled them on homemade cardboard signs... And it became the possession of petty politicians with small minds and big egos and deep pockets.
Today's march in Paris against terrorism reminds me exactly of that bon enfant mood the engulfed us, of that euphoria we were riding and the adrenaline we were spitting, but the fork down the road is too obvious not to miss:
"It is clear, conversely, that many French people have a problem with Islam. According to an Ipsos survey last year, 63% of French voters said Islam was not compatible with French values. Almost three-quarters said Muslims wanted to impose their values on others. Surveys also suggest seven out of 10 voters believe sections of the immigrant community have failed to integrate over the past 30 years. Some 65% say immigration is out of control".
In other words, what is today a play of good will where marchers find a closure from the mass hysteria is nothing but the beginning of the fight with the far right and the fears of the everyday man which could be easily ignited come elections time (if Sarkozy can play this game so can Marine le Pen). We experienced this before, if France needs any lessons, just look at how polarized we are or how Jean-Marie le Pen said that he was not #jesuischarlie but rather #jesuischarliemartel (in reference to the man who in the battle of Tours helped stop the advance of Islamic troops towards Christian Europe in 732).
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