FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Paris Attack Will Foster an Orwellian Police State

Since November 13, 2015, France entered a state of shock. Friday the 13th will no longer be only associated with exploitation Hollywood horror flicks, but will become forever linked in the collective psyche to the mayhem in Paris that occurred on that fateful night. It took only about 10 people, plus a few more to organize the logistics of it, to bring France to a worse predicament than the one that was created by the attack on the editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo in early January 2015. The French press wrote sensationalist headlines stating that the new tragedy, which killed more than 200 people and seriously injured more than 80, was a declaration of war.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) quickly claimed the seven coordinated attacks, and some social media accounts linked to ISIS mentioned France as one of its primary targets. As ISIS identified itself as the culprit, the macabre message sent by the organization and its implications for worldwide public opinion was rather simple: we can hit anywhere, at anytime, and any target will be considered fair game. The French government’s reaction was both panicked and swift, and it immediately embraced repressive authoritarian measures similar to those that had been set up by the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9-11-2001. Just like 9-11 in the United States, it seems that the way France’s bloody Friday will be exploited matters more than the tragedy itself. There is no better justification to crack down on civil liberty, freedom and other principles that define the essence of democracy than the good old permanent global war on terror.

French President François Hollande’s cabinet met at midnight and issued some decrees. A nationwide state of emergency was declared, as well as the establishment of tight control at all French borders. The mayor of Paris gave Parisians the formal instruction to stay at home, and within a few hours, civilians deserted the usually lively streets of Paris, which instead became populated by the ever growing members of France’s massive security apparatus: heavily armed police, SWAT teams and military. A decree similar to the USA Patriot Act was hastily put together to allow searches in all buildings and private residences, and the preemptive arrest, without probable cause, of any individual deemed by French authorities to be suspect or dangerous. The notion of dangerous is, of course, vague and elastic and could potentially apply to anyone, including political dissidents.

The show of support for the people of France was immediate and overwhelming, in mainstream and social media. This worldwide Francophilia outbreak in statements, and by the illumination of countless landmarks throughout the world, felt a bit contrived and obnoxious. Considering the ever shrinking global public opinion attention span, the brisk popularity of La Marseillaise, clumsy peace flag avatars featuring the Eiffel tower, and the orgy of blue, white and red will be short lived. In the typical neocolonialist bias of news coverage, the attacks in Beirut, Lebanon, which occurred Friday as well and targeted Hezbollah-controlled areas, killing at least 40 people, were merely noted in the Western press, rather than treated as an ongoing tragedy that deserved extensive follow up and expressions of sympathy. The unspoken and despicable message sent by the press was that the loss of French lives mattered quite a lot more than the loss of lives of people in the Middle East.

One can understand what such a blatant differentiation of compassion can trigger in the mind of a young French person of Arab origin who is usually at the very bottom of the French socioeconomic food chain. People with such grim social prospects are prime and easy targets to become jihadists for ISIS. Islam fundamentalism allows them to act out their deep anger toward a society from which they have been largely rejected. For decades, young French people of Arab origin have been treated like outsiders from within. Consequently, they can be indoctrinated to do the unthinkable and embark on suicide missions. While inclusion and a sense of real prospect for a better future could be a remedy for France’s deep social malaise and eventually make jihad less attractive to young French people of North-African origin, the road being taken by most of France’s political class and ruling elite is the dead end of repression and exclusion.

For the sake of the European Union’s survival, France, and Europe in general, should drastically rethink its failed policies. The Paris attacks should be regarded as the symptoms of a systemic failure. The random murder sprees committed in Paris cannot be excused or justified in any way, but they can be explained. Disenfranchised young French-Arabs know and feel the misery that their brothers and sisters in the Middle East have suffered in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Gaza from the guns and bombs of the US and its European sidekicks. The confusion from that pain gives them the warped sense that ordinary Parisians should also suffer. France has unfortunately been a diligent little helper of the Orwellian Empire, not only in the Middle East but also in Africa, since electing Nicolas Sarkozy president in 2007, and becoming a NATO member again in 2009. Actions have consequences, and the Paris victims can be viewed as yet more civilian collateral damage — not more or less important than the innocent victims of US drone attacks in Pakistan or Yemen — in a world where the net result of absurd Western policies is always the spread of misery and death.

More articles by:

Gilbert Mercier is the editor in chief of News Junkie Post and the author of  The Orwellian Empire.

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail