Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Equality, Fraternity, Liberty in Collaborationist France

"My message to French Jews is the following: France is wounded with you and France does not want you to leave."
"France tells you again of its love, support and solidarity. That love is much stronger than the acts of hatred, even if such acts are repeated."
"How can we accept that cries of  ‘death to the Jews’ can be heard on the streets?  [The] first question that has to be dealt with clearly is the struggle against antisemitism."
"History has taught us that the awakening of antisemitism is the symptom of a crisis for democracy and of a crisis for the Republic. That is why we must respond with force."
"How can we accept that in France, where the Jews were emancipated two centuries ago, but which was also where they were martyred [during the Nazi Holocaust] 70 years ago, that cries of  ‘death to the Jews’ can be heard on the streets? How can we accept that French people can be murdered for being Jews? How can we accept that compatriots, or a Tunisian citizen whose father sent him to France so that he would be safe, is killed when he goes out to buy his bread for Shabbat?"
"[There] is a historical antisemitism that goes back centuries. There is also a new antisemitism that is born in our neighborhoods, coming through the Internet, satellite dishes, against the backdrop of loathing of the State of Israel, which advocates hatred of the Jews and all the Jews."
"This is the message we have to communicate loud and clear. How can we accept that in certain schools and colleges the Holocaust can’t be taught? How can we accept that when a child is asked, ‘who is your enemy,’ the response is ‘the Jew?’  When the Jews of France are attacked, France is attacked, the conscience of humanity is attacked. Let us never forget that."
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls -- 2015

Jews have never forgotten. France has. While the French Prime Minister may spout these rhetorical declarations of intent, the simple fact is, the barbarians have already entered, and taken over significant portions of the country. France now hosts more Muslims than any other European country. More of these citizens of France have departed to fight with Islamic State than from any other country of Europe. No gates can be closed against the jihadists, the haters, the Islamists glorying in committing atrocities for there is an absence of barriers to their presence.

The response to the question 'how can we accept?', is that the acceptance has already taken place. And the unspoken recognition of that fact is weary resignation. The most immediate victim is the Jew, but this has always been the way. Jews first, then others to follow.

The absence of mention that this virulently vicious new anti-Semitism has infiltrated France through the migration of Muslims whose tradition it has been to demonize Jews, to blame them for all the world's ills, above all because they have not surrendered to Islam is conspicuous. There has always been an undercurrent of anti-Semitism in French society, despite that French Jewry has had a long home in the country, a distinguished role enriching French society through the ages.

It was the historical advent of an invasion by Nazi Germany that made it a state purpose to dedicate itself to isolating Jews, setting them apart by edict, preparing them for the Final Solution that marked France's first real and entire betrayal of its French citizens who happened to be Jews. This second time around reflects another invasion, this one accommodated by official France itself through the acceptance of Muslims reflecting the country's colonialist past, from : Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey.

Bringing with them their lethal hatreds, their tribal, ethnic, religious bigotry, building momentum toward a wholesale outbreak now and again with its dual target of breaking down prevailing law and order in France when pressure builds sufficiently among its disaffected demographic whose role as French citizens has not come close to denting the insular armour of Islamist exceptionalism leading to cries of supra-'equality', rejecting fraternity, equating liberty with Sharia law.

In the past, the bulk of French citizenry accommodated themselves to the sequestration of and disempowering of citizenship belonging to the Jewish French contingent under fascist rule. The Vichy government of France was in every way equal in its ferocious contempt and hatred of Jews to that of its Nazi masters. Those courageous resisters among the population of France who made it their purpose to defy and to push back against the Third Reich in France, were equally loathed by French and German fascists.
All through the spring and early summer of 1942, France as a whole remained unmoved by the fate of its 350,000 Jewish inhabitants. The country that had so fervently embraced the Rights of Man seemed curiously willing to sit by while one decree after another was enacted against the Jews, watching them debarred from professions, forbidden places of entertainment, relegated to the last carriages on the metro, and now herded on to cattle trucks bound for Poland. The Germans had not actually asked for the cattle trucks; this initiative came from the French railways, the SNCF. It was on French trains, driven by French engine drivers that deportees were conveyed to the border.
In his offices in the Prefecture of Police, Poinsot [French commissioner of police, Pierre Napoleon Poinsot] conducted his interrogations. He backed them up with torture. Men were hung from their thumbs, burnt with cigarettes and had their heads plunged into baths of water; women were stripped naked, made to kneel, and forced to listen to the screams of their husbands, being tortured in the next room. Those who refused to speak, to give names and betray colleagues, were held and tortured until they did so; or they died. Poinsot's team was soon known as the brigade des tueurs, the brigade of killers, and his interrogatoire prolonge became an experience known and dreaded by the Underground. Poinsot, said a Bordeaux policeman, 'massacred' suspects.
The Gestapo -- who gave him his own number, 192, in their ranks -- took to warning recalcitrant prisoners that unless they cooperated they would be turned over to Poinsot and his men.
Along with torture, the French inspectors went in for looting and extortion. Bordeaux, after Paris, was the place in which repression would become the most brutal in the whole of France, and the city itself, as Ouzoulias of the Bataillons de la Jeunesse , would later say, turned into 'a cemetery of the finest fighters'.
A Train in Winter; an extraordinary story of women, friendship and survival in World War Two by Caroline Moorehead

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