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Eric Zemmour set to run for French presidency

France, Eric Zemmour, Marine L Pen

Politics

Eric Zemmour set to run for French presidency

Eric Zemmour appeals to the memory, individual and collective, of a far different France than the one we have today, a France that existed before the Muslim invasion changed so much. Writes Hugh Fitzgerald

Eric Zemmour, the journalist, writer, and television pundit, has just announced that he will be running for President of France. A month ago he had pulled ahead of his rival Marine Le Pen, by 22% to 16% in the polls, but now his support has decreased to 15%. This drop in his support is the result of bizarre statements Zemmour recently made. First, he suggested that the collaborationists of Vichy deserved credit because even though they did nothing to rescue foreign Jews living in France from the Nazis, they did manage to save three-quarters of French Jews from being murdered. But by 1942 – has Zemmour forgotten? — the Nazis had turned their attention to French Jews, and Vichy did not stand in their way. 80% of the 4,000 Jewish children rounded up at the Vel d’Hiv rafle were French, not foreign, Jews. This attempt to find something to praise about Vichy’s conduct is simply baffling.

Zemmour’s second unacceptable remark had to do with the burial in Israel of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 3, and 8-year-old Myriam Monsenego, who had all been shot to death in Toulouse by a Muslim murderer, Mohamed Merah. Zemmour outraged French Jews – and not only Jews — by claiming that the burial in Israel of the victims of that massacre proved that they were not sufficiently attached to France. Another remark that’s hard to accept.

I admit that on reading those remarks I was both surprised and disappointed. But I still find Zemmour a compelling candidate , and I hope he not only regains his footing but manages to defeat Macron.

Here is the speech he gave announcing his candidacy or the presidency. He delivered It sitting at a desk, with a large old-fashioned microphone of the kind, reporters have noted, that General De Gaulle used when he was broadcasting to France from Free French headquarters in London. I have added a running commentary on what lies unstated behind Zemmour’s words — his alarm at the growing presence of the Muslim invaders:

My dear Countrymen— For years, the same feeling has swept you along, oppressed you, shamed you: a strange and penetrating feeling of dispossession. You walk down the streets in your towns, and you don’t recognize them.

He never mentions Islam, or Muslim migrants, in his speech. He doesn’t have to. Everyone knows he is speaking about that sense of depaysement, of no longer being at home in your own country, of sensing it has changed so much that you can no longer recognize it, because of that Muslim presence. When you walk down the streets of your towns and cities, you now see those large Muslim families, the mothers so often waddling along, pregnant, while holding one baby and pushing a toddler in a stroller, with two or three older children walking by their mother’s side. Time to remember Algerian President Boumedienne’s statement at the U.N., in 1974: “Victory will come to us from the wombs of our women.” The shops have started to reflect this new population. Food stores — especially butcher shops — now have halal signs in the window. So do some restaurants. In neighborhoods with large numbers of Muslims, the atmosphere has become that of a North African souk, with Arab sellers of cheap clothes in the open-air markets, hawking their wares to passersby. This is not the France you grew up in, Zemmour exclaims. You no longer recognize it as France. You feel dispossessed. He will repeat this theme many times in this speech.

You look at your screens and they speak to you in a language that is strange, and in the end foreign. You turn your eyes and ears to advertisements, TV series, football matches, films, live performances, songs, and the schoolbooks of your children.

The talking heads on television try to inveigle you into accepting, even celebrating this dispossession that weighs so heavily on you. So you turn away from those pollyannish pundits to the most mindless of entertainments you can find: sports events, songs, television series, even advertisements, movies, anything and everything to keep you from thinking, to keep you from being anxious about the new reality which you must now endure.

You take the subways and trains. You go to train stations and airports. You wait for your sons and your daughters outside their school. You take your mother to the emergency room.

Everywhere you travel on mass transit, you run up against the Muslims, aggressive and menacing. On the buses they grab seats, or if you are a girl, try to grab you. In the Metro groups of young Muslim males rush menacingly through the cars, attempting to steal purses and delighting in the mayhem and alarm they are causing; on trains, when someone is foolish enough to leave his luggage on the overhead rack while he goes to the restaurant car, they cut that luggage open and steal anything of value inside (this has happened to me, and to several friends, just outside Marseille); in the airports, their presence reminds you of why these endless security checks became necessary in the first place.

You wait for your children outside their schools, with greater anxiety than in years past, because you remember what happened to the little Jewish children murdered outside the school in Toulouse. And you know about the drug-pushing Muslims who wait outside schools for their French prey, to lure them into trying marijuana and then hard drugs. You have read about those Pakistani grooming gangs in England, whose members wait outside schools to entice young girls into their cars, to get them high on alcohol and drugs, and then to turn them into sex slaves, passed around like party favors.

The emergency rooms are so often filled with Muslim patients. The whole family accompanies one of its members to the E.R. Muslim husbands audibly cause a furor if any of their womenfolk are to be examined by a male doctor; they will not permit it, and eventually a female doctor or nurse practitioner is found, and a crisis is avoided. The French now know better than to assign Muslim girls and women to be examined by male medical personnel; it’s the only way to head off violence at doctors’ offices and hospital examination rooms.

You stand in line at the post office or the employment agency. You wait at a police station or a courthouse. And you have the impression that you are no longer in a country that you know.

Who are these people, these Muslims, so many of whom are at the post office, picking up their government checks? Or at the employment office, going through the motions of “looking for work” so as to continue to receive “unemployment” checks from the generous French government?

At the police station, and at the courthouse, you are overwhelmed by the presence of so many Muslims. 80% of those now imprisoned in France are Muslims, though they make up 10% of the population. They are overrepresented in the criminal justice system at every step, from being booked at the police station, to being tried at the courthouse, and finally, to being sent to prison, where they are so expensive to maintain.

You remember the country of your childhood. You remember the country that your parents told you about. You remember the country found in films and books. The country of Joan of Arc and Louis XIV. The country of Bonaparte and General de Gaulle.

Zemmour appeals to the memory, individual and collective, of a far different France than the one we have today, a France that existed before the Muslim invasion changed so much. A France of saints, like St. Joan, and sun kings, like Louis XIV, the admired subjects of books and films, and all contributing to the deep historic memory of the French. And Zemmour doesn’t want us to forget the military men who were also heroes – Bonaparte and De Gaulle. But Zemmour doesn’t have to spell out his meaning, that none of these people, not Joan of Arc, or Louis XIV, or Bonaparte, or De Gaulle, hold any interest for the Muslims who are living in, but not belonging to, France. These French heroes mean nothing to them. They are not part of the world of Islam. Why should Muslims care about them?

The country of knights and ladies. The country of Victor Hugo and Chateaubriand. The country of Pascal and Descartes. The country of the fables of La Fontaine, the characters of Molière, and the verses of Racine.

The grand panorama of France’s most brilliant philosophers, and its writers of novels, plays, fables, and poetry, have all become part of what makes France France, and they all contributed to enriching the minds of the French.  But none of this means anything to the Muslims wrapped, as they are, in their Qur’an and Hadith, unwilling to engage with, or find value in, what the Infidel French offer, the products of what Chamfort described as “the Perfected Civilization.” At state schools, Muslim students have resisted learning about French history — why should they care about the Christian kings, or the Crusades? Many have no desire, either, to read French literature. It does not belong to them, it’s not about them, it’s written by and for Infidels, and good Muslims should not want to have anything to do with it.

The country of Notre Dame de Paris and of village church towers. The country of Gavroche and Cosette. The country of barricades and Versailles. The country of Pasteur and Lavoisier. The country of Voltaire and Rousseau, of Clemenceau and the soldiers of ’14, of de Gaulle and Jean Moulin. The country of Gabin and Delon; of Brigitte Bardot and Belmondo and Johnny and Aznavour and Brassens and Barbara; the films of Sautet and Verneuil.

Zemmour is trying to evoke in this short speech every aspect of French civilization, so alien to the Muslims now living in France, but rejecting what makes the French French. The French may admire their country’s religious architecture, from the most modest village churches to the grandeur of Notre Dame de Paris. There is nothing to interest Muslims in these Christian structures. The country of the Parisian poor – Gavroche and Cosette — depicted as among “les miserables” in the fiction of Victor Hugo, of revolutionary rebels at the barricades, of courtiers at Versailles, of the enlightenment thinkers, of scientists (Pasteur’s medical advances, the doomed Lavoisier’s work in Chemistry), and so on, right up to the film stars and the entertainers of the last half-century: Bardot, Belmondo, Charles Aznavour, Johnny Halliday, Georges Brassens. He’s reminding the French of so many, and so various, illustrious French men and women, for Zemmour wants them to be proud of France, to repossess it, and to preserve it from the depredations of those who he is grimly convinced, take neither pride nor even interest in it.

This country— at the same time light-hearted and illustrious. This country— at the same time literary and scientific. This country— truly intelligent and one-of-a-kind. The country of the Concorde and nuclear power. The country that invented cinema and the automobile.

More praise of many-faceted (“light-hearted and illustrious,” “literary and scientific”) France, a country like no other (“one of a kind”), with its advances in aeronautics and nuclear energy and its inventive genius (the moving picture of the pioneering Lumiere Brothers, the steam automobile of Nicolas Cugnot).

This country— that you search for everywhere with dismay. No, your children are homesick, without even having known this country that you cherish. And it is disappearing.

Your country has not “disappeared” under this foreign invasion, but “it is disappearing.” That means there is still time to defend and rescue it from succumbing to the invaders. Zemmour keeps drumming into his listeners the achievements of the French in so many different areas of human endeavor, so that the disheartened among them can regain their national pride and their determination to return the country to what it once was, not so very long ago.

You haven’t left, and yet you have the feeling of no longer being at home. You have not left your country. Your country left you. You smell foreigners in your own country. You are internal exiles.

Again, Zemmour plays on the widely shared feeling that “your country,” France, is being “taken away” from you by others, the Muslim interlopers who see France only as a source of welfare benefits of every kind, not as a civilization that they, too, wish to become part of and contribute to.

For a long time, you believed you were the only one to see, to hear, to think, to doubt. You were afraid to say it. You were ashamed of your feelings. For a long time, you dared not say what you are seeing, and above all you dared not see what you were seeing.

And then you said it to your wife. To your husband. To your children. To your father. To your mother. To your friends. To your coworkers. To your neighbors. And then to strangers. And you understood that your feeling of dispossession was shared by everyone.

France is no longer France, and everyone sees it.

Many people saw what was happening to their country, because of the Muslim invasion, and their anxiety, even dread, steadily increased, but they kept silent for so long because they were fearful of being labelled as “racists” and “islamophobes.” Then they began to share their thoughts, first with their closest relatives, then with friends, with coworkers, with neighbors, And finally with strangers. And they discovered that they had all along shared the same worries, the same fear of a future islamized France. Now they realize that “the feeling of dispossession was shared by everyone” and as a consequence, they were no longer reluctant to acknowledge their fears, and to express their determination to return France to its previous condition.

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