Augustin Goland, American Renaissance, July 13, 2023
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This is not the first time France suffered riots and attacks by immigrant youth, but never before have they been so widespread and violent. Another first is that this time, top law enforcement officers said openly that things could get out of control. On the other hand, the French radical left, including MPs from La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) — the largest opposition party in the National Assembly after Marine Le Pen’s National Rally — saw the police shooting that sparked the unrest as France’s George Floyd moment. Much like the American Left and the Democratic Party did after George Floyd’s death, they added fuel to the fire by taking side with the rioters.
For a majority of French people, however, the chaos after the death of Nahel Marzouk on June 27 was more like the last wake-up call for their country. Sadly, President Macron and his government do not seem to be inclined to listen or to make U-turns on immigration or law enforcement.
It all started in Nanterre, a city of 94,000 on the outskirts of Paris that hosts five ”sensitive” districts where police are reluctant to go. It is one of many towns and cities in France where the native population is becoming a minority.
Two police motorcyclists saw a yellow Mercedes A-Class speeding in a bus lane. They gave chase and, when the driver stopped at a traffic light, they tried to detain him. Instead of obeying orders, he ran the red light.
The driver was 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk, who is too young to get a license. He was already known to the police for previous refusals to comply with police orders. In fact, he had already been arrested 12 times for driving without a license, drug possession, and receiving stolen goods. He had been arrested just three days earlier for refusing to stop for police while driving without a license and was to appear in juvenile court in September.
The police chase lasted more than 20 minutes. Merzouk drove through more red lights and nearly ran over a cyclist and a pedestrian. Finally, he got stuck in traffic. The officers stopped and walked up to the car. One of them pulled his gun out, pointed it at Merzouk, and ordered him to stop the engine and put his hands behind his head. However, as traffic cleared, Marzouk stepped on the gas. The second officer had his arm inside the car through the rear window. The first officer shot Merzouk in the chest through his left shoulder. He later claimed he was aiming at the driver’s leg, but that when the car moved forward, it pushed his arm upward as he pulled the trigger. Both officers say they were afraid they could be crushed against the wall behind them as the car accelerated.
The officer who fired the shot is 38 years old, married and a father. He had never before used his firearm on duty, and he has been decorated several times.
As usual in this kind of situation, not only the radical left but also France’s liberals — who dominate the mainstream — didn’t wait for the facts. They started to complain about structural police racism (although there are many black and Arab officers) and police abuse. Two videos shot with mobile phones that were shared on social media on the same day were enough for them to draw conclusions and give a verdict.
President Macron himself said Merzouk’s death was inexcusable. The officer is now waiting for trial in jail, for fear of further rioting if he is set free. As in the George Floyd case, there will be tremendous pressure on the jury to convict the officer on current charges of voluntary homicide. Police are angry he was arrested.
French officers, however, are used to insults by media and politicians. It is yet another incentive not to arrest non-white young men and to avoid the France’s “sensitive districts.” This is how they become “no-go zones.”
The ruling elites’ contrition and submission did not help. For six nights in a row, some 100 to 200 thousand young people (according to a former counter-intelligence director’s estimation), mostly of Arab or African origin, went on a countrywide rampage.
They attacked all that in their eyes embodies the French Republic: police (more than 700 of whom were injured, out of 45,000 deployed), firefighters (one died while putting out a car fire), local politicians, town halls, schools, kindergartens, libraries, etc. They looted stores in city centers, even in the prestigious Halles in central Paris, and burned buses and trams.
One mayor had his home attacked while he was barricaded in the town hall. His wife and children aged 5 and 7 fled immigrant youth who tried to burn down the house while they were inside. Two policemen driving home from work in civilian clothes were stopped and almost beaten to death by a group of Arabs who recognized them.
Many police officers now live in fear. There has been a resurgence of attacks, even on family members. Muslim and African attackers do not live by Western standards.
Apart from the ideologically blind, most French people realize that, as in 5th century Gaul, when Rome was losing its grip on the empire, the barbarians are within the gates. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin did not convince many when he said in the National Assembly that the riots had no link to immigration, since 90 percent of the nearly 4,000 people arrested are French citizens. So was Nahel Merzouk.
In 2005, similar unrest occurred in cities across France after two teenagers — again with immigration backgrounds — hid from police in a power-company sub-station and were electrocuted. Since then, France, now a nation of 68 million, has accepted some 5 million immigrants, and an even larger number of births to non-Europeans. Non-whites are now more numerous than ever, and a lot more violent, according to the police.
Instead of each generation becoming more French than their parents, the opposite has happened. Although not necessarily religious, nor motivated by faith like Islamic terrorists, the rioters often invoked the Quran and the name of Allah.
In fact, the terrorists who have conducted attacks on French soil have strong connections with the “sensitive” districts with a high proportion of non-whites. Officially, there are more than 750 such “sensitive urban zones” in France.
As I wrote at this site on June 16,
If we take into account the children and grandchildren of immigrants, the number of people of foreign origin in France is 19 million, or 28 percent of the country’s total population. Of the population aged 0–4, the proportion climbs to almost 42 percent. And if we exclude those immigrants of European descent and their offspring, we find that nearly 30 percent of the youngest members of France’s population are not of European origin.
The French Gendarmerie, apart from acting as military police, are the local police force in much of France, especially in less densely populated areas. They are also the people who are sent in, when deeded, with heavy equipment and elite units.
Here is what Gendarmerie general Bertrand Soubelet wrote in 2016, in a book that put an end to his career:
Calls to hatred by some imams on French territory, websites calling for jihad and the number of young people receptive to such messages already plunged us into horror in January 2015. Abomination struck our country again in November. And we fear — and rightly so — an even more dramatic future.
The suburbs of our big cities, where too many young people are left to their own devices, often poorly educated, sometimes dropping out of school, with no prospects for the future, are reservoirs of rebels. It is in that pool of rebellious, misguided children who have lost their way and are in need of guidance that jihad does its business.
We are living on a powder keg because those delinquents, those potential killers, have an almost inexhaustible source of instruments of death: In the large urban areas of France, there are stocks of illicit weapons which are the remnants of the wars in Central Europe [the Balkans]. What frightens us, the gendarmes, is that those stocks of weapons, which are lying dormant at the moment, will one day get into the hands of determined and organized people.
General Soubelet had held command positions in the field and at the Directorate General of the Gendarmerie Nationale.
Here is what Gendarmerie colonel Philippe Cholous said on the French CNews television channel on July 2, while rioting was still running high:
We need to analyze this situation not in terms of what exactly is happening, which is terrible, but in terms of what could happen if it gets out of hand. Because obviously there’s anger in the suburbs, but I think there’s also anger among the middle classes, the good people, the working people in France. There’s a great deal of resentment on the part of the forces of law and order, who are very often abandoned by the political echelon. The sad death of Nahel was a case in point. From the outset, the declarations were a desertion [of the police officer who killed Merzouk], whereas the investigation was just beginning. So, I think that the level of exasperation and resentment, the level of violence, and above all, the fact that in certain areas there is a real hatred of France, with weapons circulating, means that the potential is explosive.
On June 30, two major police unions published a press release:
Faced with these savage hordes, it’s no longer enough to ask for calm — we have to impose it! . . . .
Our colleagues, like the majority of citizens, have had enough of being subjected to the dictates of these violent minorities. Now is not the time for union action but for the fight against these “nuisances.”. . .
Today, police officers are in combat because we are at war. Tomorrow we will be in resistance, and the government will have to realize that.
The police are not alone. Guerilla – the Day Everything Went up in Flames ( Guérilla – Le jour où tout s’embrasa) is the title of a prophetic bestseller by journalist and essayist Laurent Obertone. “The events described in Guerilla are based on the listening, detection, and forecasting work of French intelligence,” he writes. This novel, published in 2016, describes three days that follow a police shooting. France collapses into anarchy under the combined forces of rioters from the “sensitive districts” and Islamic terrorists. In Mr. Obertone’s novel, the army fails to intervene for lack of confidence in non-white troops from the same sensitive districts. It is true that the French army looks much less white than the overall population.
Last November, Mr. Obertone told Remix News that “the more time passes, the less reversible the situation will be,” lamenting that in France, “immigration is not questioned, and neither is the justice system.” French justice is, indeed, criticized by many, including police unions, for being too lenient on criminals and petty delinquents for ideological reasons; many French judges are affiliated with very left-wing unions. It is also for ideological reasons that France decided not to build new prisons under Mr. Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande, despite insufficient capacity.
In September 2018, President Macron’s first minister of the interior, Socialist Gérard Collomb, resigned, and told journalists: “Today we live side by side and, as I always say, I fear that tomorrow we will live face to face.”
In a conversation with journalists from the weekly, Valeurs Actuelles, Mr. Collomb is also reported to have said: “What I read every morning in police reports reflects a very pessimistic situation. Relations between people are very harsh, people don’t want to live together,” and that “communities in France fight against one another, and it’s becoming very violent.”
In 2020, General Pierre de Villiers, who resigned as chief of staff of the French Armed Forces at the beginning of Emmanuel Macron’s first presidency, said in an interview for Le Parisien daily that he feared France “could fall slowly or very rapidly” into “civil war.” According to the general, it will take “three, four, or five generations” to solve France’s problems with its migrant population and “win back those 20-year-olds who hate France, and who are close to the local kingpins or the Salafists.”
In 2021, more than 20 retired generals and hundreds of officers published an open letter “to [their] rulers” with a dire warning against “a disintegration which, along with Islamism and the suburban hordes, is leading to the detachment of many parts of the nation and transforming them into territories subject to dogmas that are contrary to our constitution.” Their conclusion: “It is no longer time to procrastinate. Otherwise, tomorrow, civil war will put an end to this growing chaos, and the dead, for whom you will bear responsibility, will count in the thousands.”
After this latest week of rioting, the former head of France’s counter-intelligence agency stated that the root cause of France’s descent into chaos was “the dominant ideology, which has justified and even glorified the massive colonizing immigration that has been taking place over the last half-century.”
When Interior Minister Gérard Collom was asked in early 2018 how much time there was left to stop the process leading to civil war, he answered that, in his opinion, “within five years the situation could become irreversible.”
Five years have now passed, with no major change in Mr. Macron’s policies on immigration and law enforcement. Immigration has been going up and law enforcement has been relaxed. How can Mr. Macron keep the gates open when three-quarters of the French no longer feel safe or at home because there are too many immigrants? Do the French, known for their propensity to revolutions in the past, still have the willingness to take matters into their own hands?
Interestingly, three-quarters is more or less equivalent to that part of the population who are not immigrants . . .