While sipping their cafés in the café, partying in the now, what was once considered an event which could never happen exploded across the Quartier Latin, at a well-attended soccer match, and a popular music venue. An American rock band lost one of its members, and other American citizens died from the gun shots and explosions from Islamic militants. ISIS is assuming credit (and blame) for these horrific, atrocious attacks.
Frankly, my dear Frenchmen, the terrorists have been living and thriving – or at least striving to get by – in run-down banlieux (suburbs) outside of Paris and in nearby urban areas tor decades. The final manifestation of illiberal, backward policies on immigration, national security, and culture came to a head that terrible night.
How long could a country continue to welcome refugees from hostile nations, where the residents had no contact or experience with liberal democracy? Where natural rights are not affirmed, no one should be surprised that the same inhabitants would not assimilate right away (or ever) within Western nations. What made these problems worse, however, were the misguided immigration policies throughout Europe, like guest worker programs. These policies would allow migrants to live in France, but never provide them a final pathway to full residency. Who wants legal status without citizenship? The de fact second-class status conferred on these immigrants generated balkanized neighborhoods of aggressive, frustrated minority populations, never able to get along, or even to fit in. Those who can’t work break the law or terrorize the inhabitants.
Consider the nature of many French immigrants in the last few decades: devout Muslims embracing their religion, including its calls for fatwah and jihad. This wave of Islamic migration didn’t rise up suddenly, either. Even as a college student at UC Irvine, working toward a French major (although eventually settling for a minor), I learned that Arab populations, particularly Muslim groups, were becoming more prominent, and even precarious in France. One popular booklet, “Le racisme, explique a ma fille”, taught in one of my French courses, attempted to paint a face of tolerance and mutual respect on multiculturalism, including the now debunked assertion about different people: “They are just like us.”
Non, mon cher. Migrants who believe that women should be treated like slaves or animals, without any rights which any man is bound to respect: they are not like us. A culture, a religion which treats doubting individuals or outright apostates with death: those values are in no way similar or parallel to the liberal Western ideal, which honors individuals, their natural rights, which promotes liberty and frames tolerance within the context of respect for all, male and female, young and old.
Of course, sadly, the commitment and enrichment of these timeless values faced marked, if not irreversible decline in Europe, including France. Just as in the United States, colleges are turning young people away from the faith of their fathers and the facts on the ground. The Christian faith, and the Judeo-Christian values which inform our Western values, had ebbed away in “post-Christian” Europe. With nothing to believe in, there is nothing to fight for. The inner decay has led to an outward display of apathy and fear. Men and women in France are not having children anymore, and have nothing to pass on to their country, or a posterity to maintain the livelihood or legacy of Western thought. En somme, the forces which have weakened France and her European neighbors prey to inward annihilation and outward destruction have been long at work.
Indeed, Friday, November 13th, 2015, will be the Day of Infamy for the French people, their 9-11, if you will. Yet this attack was the final blow from the slow boil of Islamic militancy and terrorism in the Gallic Republic. In January, the scurrilous secular rag Charlie Hebdo suffered intense gunfire and murder. The world mourned, and freedom fighters around the globe declared: Je Suis Charlie.
Then the French and the Europeans all around them continued to play the jaded, fixed multiculturalism game. A latent sense of white guilt still pervades Europe, and as the teeming masses of the Third World invade, Europe, the lingering inhabitants still believe their plight is the fault of Western Civilization, and therefore the norms, traditions, and legacies of the sustaining and glorious must give way to barbarism and dark tyranny.
However, following the massacre of hundreds in the glowing midst of the City of Lights, French leaders and civilians alike now recognize that the devastation emanates from more than a fringe group or a bloody annoyance. French President Francois Hollande declared: “This is an act of war.” French bombers are returning fire, bombs, and mayhem on ISIS encampments in the Middle East as we speak. France’s political force on the Right, Le Front National leader and Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, has summoned the spirit of a once-dispirited people, no longer secure, but certain in the notion that their nation needs secure borders, good laws, and good arms. French Jews are flocking to her party. Hopefully, French voters will elect her.
Indeed, today nous sommes tous Parisiens, enduring another strike against our ignorant and dangerous complacency. A clash of civilizations is raging across the world, and in a battlefield on city streets, strewn with the bodies of dead innocents, the French are acknowledging its innate, inescapable seriousness.