Saturday, 26 September 2020 | News today: 0

Charlie from Cresevo and Radisani

The French national motto "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" and the European values are under great pressure, perhaps the greatest since the beginning of the French Fifth Republic, founded by Charles de Gaulle and the ideas of Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman. And crisis in a founding member of the European Union can not be good either for the Union or for the main French partner, Germany, which again will have to take the burden in the problematic years of the rise of the radical right and the fear of the Islamization of Europe


Columnist: Goran Momiroski

Since 1958, when the General, hero of World War II, prevented the political crisis caused by the independence of the French colonies in Africa and introduced a presidential system, France has been going through a series of major crises. One of the most dangerous were the mass protests by people of Muslim, Arab and African origin in 2005, which led to a three-month state of emergency. The crisis of national identity, whose solution is publicly sought for years, is now supplemented by the crisis of the relations between the dominant Christian population and the Muslim community, the largest in Europe. Unlike Angela Merkel, who took visionary steps and joined the protest organized by the German Muslims, her counterpart Francois Hollande organized a protest on behalf of the state, which many perceived as anti-Islamic. The increased number of attacks on Muslim targets in France immediately after the protest are just one indicator that although the largest in history, the protest was perhaps wrong.

Forty world leaders attended Paris mass rally after the death of 17 people. German Prime Minister Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron were right next to Francois Hollande in the front line. The only one of the three , and perhaps of all who took part in the protest, that has a serious problem with confidence in the citizens is the very organizer of the rally . Although Hollande seemingly overcame the political fence and invited the leader of the opposition, Nicolas Sarkozy, whose rating is so ruined that he is practically harmless, it is clear that it was a great chance for the leader of the Socialists on the wings of public resentment towards Muslims, which was fueled by his media, to recover the ratings of the country, which every month loses tens of thousands of jobs, and to change the topic of conversation. The danger of Muslims, as much as we say that it should not be generalized, will always be a more attractive topic than job creation and bad economic policy. The fact that the radical right-wing National Front was not invited to the protest, no matter how justified, further speaks about the real desire in the solution of the problem that includes all French people, regardless of which side of the battle for justice they are on.

The main problem of Hollande and his administration remains the fact that they did not use the incidents and protests to speak about the vital topic that is increasingly prevailing in France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Freedom of speech is a topic that should and must be discussed, and it is justified. The use of violence in response to cartoons and anecdotes is unacceptable in the modern world, which itself raises the question whether Europe really lives in a modern world.

But apart from the freedom of expression and free media, there is another topic that must be central in this context, and that is respect for different cultural values. The country that publicly prides itself on its religious and ethnic minorities did not have the courage to admit that after receiving millions loyalists of former colonies in Africa and Indochina its cultural values changed. The suspension of the hijab, or the headscarf that Muslim women cover their heads with, but not the face, was the first sign that France is still living in the past, perhaps in the Third Republic when the country was ethnically and religiously relatively clean.

The second question that arises after the great rally in Paris and other French cities is what now. There has been no announcement of a new fresh debate about how can the French society get out of the crisis. And the debate was not started by the crazy brothers Kouachi and their friend Coulibaly, but by more than 1,300 French citizens who fight on the fronts in Syria and Iraq in the ranks of different variants of the radical Islamist armed formations, mostly in the Islamic state.

In that debate, no matter if there is no place for the manner in which 12 people were killed in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, however, it has to be discussed about the manner the killed ones insulted the feelings of Muslims, Jews and Christians. It is wrong to claim that Muslims within their cultural values express, or need to express, their discontent with the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad with bullets, but the French and everyone living with Muslims, including the Macedonian, must realize that everyone reflects their cultural value in their own way. Just as the Muslims must accept Western, Christian or Balkan cultural values.

Now, when the members of the editorial board of Charlotte Hebdo are dead, it is pointless to talk about their cartoons, which for the writer of this text (probably because of his personal cultural values) were extremely offensive and confusing, but, however, it must be said that if a debate on the cultural values they promoted does not open after their death, their departure from this world will be helpful only for some of the European politicians, but not for the ordinary European people.

Some old friends gloat over France’s misfortune

In this historical moment when practically the second phase of the “clash of civilizations” has begun, in which, despite public commitments, the gap between multicultural and Christian Europe is dramatically deepening, we must mention the double standards that were not only used  by France in similar cases. The two Balkan countries, Serbia and Macedonia respectively, whose leaders were not part of the procession of politicians (over which was later revealed to have been hundreds of meters away from the other protesters) are the best examples how part of the world and Europe regards the different yardsticks in this tragic moments. France as part of the NATO forces never regretted for the death of the 16 journalists and television workers that were killed in the 1999 bombing of the Serbian television building. As official Paris never expressed condolences over the death of five innocent people, four of which were children, in the Easter massacre in Macedonia. There is no official data why none of the Macedonian and Serbian authorities went to Paris, but from the perspective of an ordinary citizen such decision is justified because if you want to be understood about your troubles, you must try to understand the misfortune of others. Were the victims in the ‘Monster’ case a collateral damage of business interests, were they killed as part of the threat of Islamic structures, did they have to die for 2001 debts, it does not matter. The understanding for the French troubles these days, at least in Macedonia, would have been much greater if the grand France, at least, had sent  a letter of condolences to Macedonia after the Smilkovsko Lake massacre. The name issue injustice and Sarkozy’s open support to Greece, in a situation where there is a clear ruling by the International Court of Justice that was founded by France, is another reason why the citizens of Macedonia mourn the killings in France, but at the same time ask questions. And Macedonia is only a small example. Boko Haram killed 2,000 people in Nigeria just day before the protest in France, and it was not part of the protest’s rhetoric at all, which itself speaks how Hollande and France, and other European countries, are turned toward themselves as much as they are turned toward the historical cultural values that they think are still dominant. Shooting journalists because of their ugly cartoons can not be justified, but it must be put on the scale that measures justice because, although nobody speaks about it, the Kouachi brothers are not alone in the Middle East and in their home country France in the opinion that the insult to Muhammad was properly revenged.