By Mathias Delori, Gilles Bertrand
The attacks of January 2015 in Paris caused some massive public reactions in France. People started gathering on the evening of January 7 and continued to do so over the following days. On 11 January, about two million people, including more than 40 world leaders, met in Paris for a rally of national unity, and 3.7 million people joined demonstrations across France. Based on what people have said, written, and done (symbolically), one can say that those reactions took two different forms. The first, outrageously racist, stated that Islam had declared war on the West and that the West had the right to defend itself. Several Islamophobic opinion leaders put forward this interpretation after the attacks. This reaction materialized, for instance, in the French conservative party contribution to the French fight against terrorism: the submission of a bill banning the Muslim veil in universities. The second interpretation proposed, instead, not to confuse Islam with terrorism and to make war only on terror. This second approach, dominant in official speeches and editorials of the mainstream press is more nuanced than the first in that it denounces the impropriety of the assimilation of one billion people to the acts of a few. It also presents itself as “humanist” in that it condemns the hateful ideologies and calls for peacefully gathering in solidarity with the victims of the attacks. This book argues that those reactions, including the alleged “humanist” ones, could find only one political translation : the escalation of violence.
Paris: Editions Myriapode, 2015