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The dictatorship of immigration

by Théophane Le Méné

" Either love immigration or leave the country ! "

Racist France, rancid France, cultureless France, a France of chavs, a country whose present strangely recalls the darkest years of its past. A France folding in on itself, a France gripped by fear, a France that is mixed up rather than in the mix. This is what the New Puritans scream when a large majority of the country’s citizens talk about the thorny question of immigration and its consequences. An intellectual examines the potential drawbacks of such vast migratory movements and is immediately pilloried (Renaud Camus, Richard Millet and many others, we remember your pain!). A political movement expresses a few reserves in regard to integration and the figure of Hitler is conjured up by a multitude of professionally outraged commentators. An average citizen expresses a critical view on the subject of immigration is ordered not only to repent immediately, but also to justify himself by listing his ethnic minority friends. Even Tintin is asked to recant: the narrative of his adventures in the Congo, it is claimed, is the fruit of “hideous racial prejudice.” The number of people from minority backgrounds in the corporate world, on TV, in the movies, in the world of football is checked obsessively. And we love it; it’s so chic, so on the edge! We love to show that we love other people, especially if they’re different. But this statistical fad doesn’t seem to cut both ways: woe betide anyone who quotes figures about the percentage of ethnic minority criminals and prisoners. Either love immigration or leave the country!

And yet … Far from the beautiful, all-encompassing utopias designed by the pure of heart for this delightful old, frontier-free country of ours, far from the allegorical oceanic depths of love between human beings, reality reveals itself as a Greek tragedy worthy of the great Aeschylus himself. For every passing day brings its cargo of consequences, often unfortunate, rarely positive. Prayers in the street, pork-free menus in school canteens, more and more hallal products in the supermarkets, veils, burkas, specific times for women in swimming pools, hospitals obliged to deal with gender interdictions during consultations … Many neighbourhoods with high ethnic minority populations are, for the police, no-go areas, and the few hardy souls who risk an excursion to those zones are, in the end, reduced to lowering their gaze and emptying their pockets. Except if they’re ministers and a squadron of special forces has cleared the way for them.

But our 21st century Tartuffes turn a blind eye to all this. They are happy to forget all rootedness, all forms of national incarnation, all ideas of frontiers, all the myths of blood and soil, and open themselves to the Other, to the degree that, according to Alain Finkielkraut, “after having bowed to the other who is not us, here we are encouraged to discover the other that we are.” And the author of L’identité malheureuse goes on to observe that “The rootedness of the members of one group is regarded as suspect and their genealogical pride considered “nauseating”, while the members of other groups are invited to celebrate their origins and cultivate their difference […] What distinguishes the outside from the inside is applauded.” In Rome, you had to do as the Romans did; in France, however, it seems that you have to imitate the foreigners. This artificial exaltation of the Other, the commercial purpose of which is easy to divine, would not be so dramatic if it didn’t turn power relations between hosts and guests on their head. In 2011, the Secretary General of the Collective against Islamophobia in France declared: “Who has the right to say that, in thirty of forty years, France won’t be a Muslim country? Who has that right? Nobody in this country has the right to take that away from us. Nobody has the right to deny us that hope. To deny us the right to hope for a global Islamic society. Nobody in this country has the right to define for us what French identity is.” And a year later, the same association launched a major campaign with the slogan “We are the Nation”. It is difficult not to see here the premises of what the writer, Renaud Camus, called the great replacement, the substitution of a people by one or more different peoples.

In 1973, Jean Raspail, dared to publish a prophetic work (The Camp of the Saints) in which he evoked, in novelistic form, the sudden arrival of thousands of immigrants that the West and, a fortiori, France were unable to deal with and which signalled the end of a civilisation. Forty years have passed and neither the myth of a multiracial country, nor the exaltation of cultural diversity and antiracism, nor the hysteria of “black-blanc-beur” (“Black-White-Arab”) that greeted the national team’s victory in the 1998 World Cup have disproven the thesis of the author, who was accused, at the time, of exaggerated pessimism. So, is de Gaulle’s “European people of the white race, of Greek and Latin culture, of the Christian religion” a thing of the past? “Yes, if the vigilance imposed by the past continues to prevent us from perceiving the irreducible novelty of the reality of the present. No, if we finally adjust our watches, if we choose to face up to things, and if we refuse to abandon, without launching a single defensive blow, the idea and practice of democracy to the processes of the same name”, asserts the philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut. But time is running out.

Théophane Le Méné

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