Paris – the situation after the 13th of November


After the night from the 13rd to the 14th of November France fell in state of shock. As the Charly Hébdo shooting was aiming the free press as well as the Jewish community now the whole population has become the target of terrorism.

The remarkable wave of solidarity from all over the world which was shown toward French people was a strong encouragement for the whole population to withstand the immediate feeling of hate and revenge.

Nevertheless the events of November 13th have a strong impact on democracy and civil society in France.   Immediately after the President François Hollande declared the state of emergency for the whole country, state which has been extended for three months. This decision was taken by a overwhelming majority in the parlement with a strong support of public opinion and the press although this meant a sensitive restriction of civil rights. Only a few cautionary voices raised the question if the restriction of civil rights for the sake of national security is justified.

The second worrying impact is the growing support for the extreme right wing party Front National of Marine Le Pen.  For the regional elections, which will take place on the 6th and the 13th of December, a significant victory of the Front National is predicted. In relating terrorism and migration they try to create an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust in French society towards migrants and Muslims.

The French concept of laicity (secularism) seems to be clueless regarding the radicalisation of youth in French suburbs.

In this way the slogan Pray for Paris could be interpreted as a sign that religion is not only regarded as problem but could be as well proposing solutions for living together in a pluralistic society.

Sören Lenz

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