The day after the jihad massacre in Paris, a German journalist visited a dive in a culturally-enriched banlieue of Paris. Striking up a conversation with the youthful clientele of the place, she learned the real explanation for the previous night’s horror: It was a hoax by the security services, and besides, the Jews did it.
Many thanks to JLH for translating this article from Die Welt:
“It’s a Plot, Against us and Against Islam”
For many young Muslims in France, the attacks are inventions of the security services. They see themselves as victims. Facts make no difference. Anyway, the Jews are responsible.
by Alexandra Lavastine, Paris
November 22, 2015
On this grim Saturday morning, the day after the attacks in the “Bataclan” and at other places in Paris, France was in shock and the world was frozen in horror. But how had the young people in my quarter, in Département 93 in Seine-Saint-Denis, experienced the nighttime slaughter? I was filled with a vague sense of hope. What if the Islamist killers and this bloodbath had alienated their young admirers from the suburbs who are otherwise fascinated by these “heroic warriors”?
In their whole universe, bounded and shaped by a dizzying moral abyss, the most important principle of all for many of them, is resisting the dominant opinion. The many beheadings, the prayers in the streets, the full body veil — does all that shock or unnerve them? They “love that stuff,” because they “s**t” on France.
But this time? Can these horrifying pictures of the murderous attacks really leave them completely cold and not evoke the beginning of disgust or an identification with the victims? This time, young people at a rock concert were affected. And people were targeted at a soccer match — their great passion — and in none other than the Stade de France, near here. They could even have been among the public there. Wasn’t that a major tactical error by IS? I admit that I expected at least a vague “this time they went too far” as I entered the bistro on the corner at 10:00AM.
First surprise: Nothing here indicates that the country has been struck by tragedy. The TV over the bar is on and pictures of what happened are running over and over. The exclusively male clientele only glances over at it out of the corners of their eyes, but no one appears especially affected.
I ask the publican, who is red-eyed from lack of sleep. He is a friendly Christian Arab who identifies himself as a “Babylonian Assyrian.” “I can’t believe it” he says quietly. “Since I came on at 8:00 AM, people are talking about all sorts of things, but not what happened. It’s ‘business as usual’.’ As if someone had said: Move on, people, nothing to see here.”
I sit down with Malik*, whose face is expressionless as he drinks his coffee. I tell him he’s looking tired, which is understandable after the appalling massacres in the last few hours. “Why appalling?” he throws me a dismissive look. You don’t really believe what they are telling us.!” My trusting belief inspires only “pity” in him. “Just think about it for a second. A Muslim does not kill. Killing is haram for us. It says so in the Koran.”
There has to be a trick behind it
I try the role of the dim-witted, gullible woman: Of course, Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace, but perhaps there could be bad Muslims, fanatics who distort it and use it only for political purposes? “What kind of nonsense is that?” he answers. “An announcement like that is easy to fake. Like the pictures — they are all doctored!” And since a Muslim cannot be a murderer, “there must be a trick behind it!”
Meanwhile, Malik’s buddies have arrived and are getting into our conversation. The very aggressive Nidal crows: “Anyway, we know the truth. It’s a plot, against us and against Islam, like it was with Merah and all the rest!” The rest? Another one offers a fearful clarification: the gas chambers were a “Zionist invention,” September 11th was a Mossad conspiracy and the Charlie Hebdo massacre was a coup planned by DCRI (General Directorate for Internal Security).
“Do you remember the Kouachu brothers!? (assassins at Charlie Hebdo) I have a buddy who knows them well. He told me that the second brother had already died in 2009. How’s that for proof? The point is to smear all Muslims!” Earlier, they had only the official version presented by the “media.” In the meantime they have access to knowledge that is not available to the uninitiated. “We won’t let ourselves be conned anymore.”
I ask them what their favorite websites are: Dieudonné, Soral, Médiapart, oumma.com, Les Indigènes de la République.
But they do not understand the sense of my question and say only: “The internet retains. YouTube. Do you know YouTube?” I don’t insist, because I see that the idea of an information source means nothing to them. And just as quickly I drop the question of the truth of the alleged plot — the paranoia inherent in conspiracy theories is, in and of itself, immune to any kind of rebuttal of the “facts” — and I turn instead to the secret directors of the whole plot — who are they supposed to be? “We will probably never know exactly,” Kevin says with an apprehensive and doubtful expression.
Now Réda gets agitated and speaks up vehemently: “You’re nuts! With all due respect, Madame, it’s obvious: the gigantic swine, the barbarians, the criminals who are supposed to be mowed down by Kalashnikovs — those are the Jews. But you will never dare write that in your newspaper, because they control everything.” Really, everything? “No, actually only 80%,” estimates the somewhat more reasonable Kamel, who has access to more exact figures.
At the word, “Jew,” the conversation instantly heats up
His neighbor, who is a little embarrassed in my presence, tries to nuance it a bit more, “The Jews, or actually the Zionists. Those are the big bosses, the caids, who are behind it all. Even the French state is nothing but a marionette in their hands.” Now all of them nod emphatically and declare, for mysterious reasons, that only Putin is “a class guy” who “could save us.”
The minute these three magic words — “Jew,” “Zionist” and “plot” — are launched, they reach out to stir up the group. By now, close to noontime, they are not at all inclined to shed a tear — even the smallest one — for the dead and wounded of the previous night. There is a complete lack of feeling, an indifference. While I am still pondering the insights of Hannah Arendt and the fact that barbarism also arises from lack of thought and coldness of feeling, Toufik succeeds in guiding the discussion to a subject they are visibly enthusiastic about: the “Francs-Maçons,” the Freemasons — “the allies of the big boss, the big caid.”
Then an immediate addition: “In France it’s really simple. If you don’t belong to a lodge, you don’t get a job.” His friend interrupts: “Don’t forget Sarko and his bunch! After they gave the Americans five tons of gold in exchange for chicken feed, they moved to Tel Aviv!” His neighbor continues: “Even the French are tired of it. They already feel out of place in their own land because of the grubby Jews. And a person should still have the right to feel at home in his own place — it’s just normal.”
Disorganized minds, saturated with hate speeches
I dare to remark that Nicolas Sarkozy certainly appears to still be in Paris. “Of course, as usual, after all BFM and iTélé (French news broadcasters) are controlled by Rockefeller.” I admit, I hadn’t thought of that.
And anyway, “They are all Islam-hostile; they should just stop stigmatizing us,” adds another.
And he surprises me with that. These young, disorganized minds, steeped in speeches of hatred and spooky conspiracy theories, have grasped very well the present, dominant one-size-fits-all thinking and how they can make use of it. They fluctuate between — on the one hand — extortion and “Islamophobia” distilled from the politically correct dogma that Islam and Islamism must not be confused and — on the other — a self-righteous role as a victim.
Apparently, they are not yet acquainted with the trend of the “neo-reactionaries.” And Malik’s axiom — “a Muslim does not kill!” — accords with present-day credulity, i.e., that evil cannot come from the camp of the good people, in which the “damned of this earth” are found. And this explains the success of Edwy Planet, founder of Médiapart, who had the nerve in 2013 to speak of a “so-called Islamist terrorism.”
Without these areas occupied by supposed progressive thought, in which reality is ideologically denied, perhaps a book like The Lost Territories of the Republic would have allowed the correct diagnosis to be made in time. As early as 2002, it contained a whole collection of alarming comments by teachers of secondary students.
The elite are still sleepwalking
The Left, whose cowardice was shameful, preferred to pillory the book and characterize it as racist: How could anyone dare to prognosticate an offensive by Salafists from certain French neighborhoods? Scandalous!
The consequence: fifteen years after the first indicators, France registers the actual threat emanating from a self-radicalizing Islam. The question is, which is more horrifying: the absolute aimlessness of a lost youth, which nonetheless was born and raised in France, or the lack of courage of our sleepwalking elites who have been complicit in creating this breach in society, first by their denial and then their capitulation?
Until recently, even mentioning the problem was considered tasteless. Ignoring it was good form. Tragic. At the beginning of the 2000s, my interlocutors were still children. Back then, too, it was our thousands of jihadists produced in France — among them, the murderers of November 13th.
* The names of the young Arabs in this conversation have been changed.
Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine is a French journalist. After the attacks on Charlie Hebdo she published La pensée egarée (Confused Thinking). Sub-title is “Populism, Anti-Semitism: an essay on the suicidal tendencies of Europe.” It is a vehement criticism of the intellectual milieu, which had closed its eyes to the radicalization of the Islamists in Europe.
|1.||Reference to the series of three gun attacks targeting French soldiers and Jewish civilians in the cities of Montauban and Toulouse in southern France in March 2012.
The perpetrator was identified as Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old French petty criminal, of Algerian descent — putative Al Qaeda member — who died in a shoot-out with police.
|2.||Hannah Arendt: German-Jewish, American citizen (beginning 1951), political theoretician scholar, writer.