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The deep Crisis of the West
Taking France one step closer to civil war
18.07.2016. "We are on the verge of a civil war." That quote did not come from a fanatic or a lunatic. No, it came from head of France's homeland security, the DGSI (Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure), Patrick Calvar. He has, in fact, spoken of the risk of a civil war many times. On July 12th, he warned a commission of members of parliament, in charge of a survey about the terrorist attacks of 2015, about it. Thus writes Yves Mamou in his article France: The Coming Civil War:
In May 2016, he delivered almost the same message to another commission of members of parliament, this time in charge of national defense. "Europe," he said, "is in danger. Extremism is on the rise everywhere, and we are now turning our attention to some far-right movements who are preparing a confrontation".
What kind of confrontation? "Intercommunity confrontations," he said -- polite for "a war against Muslims." "One or two more terrorist attacks," he added, "and we may well see a civil war."
In February 2016, in front of a senate commission in charge of intelligence information, he said again: " We are looking now at far-right extremists who are just waiting for more terrorist attacks to engage in violent confrontation".
No one knows if the truck terrorist, who plowed into the July 14th Bastille Day crowd in Nice and killed more than 80 people, will be the trigger for a French civil war, but it might help to look at what creates the risk of one in France and other countries, such as Germany or Sweden.
The main reason is the failure of the state.
1. France is at War but the Enemy is Never Named.
France is the main target of repeated Islamist attacks; [...]
After each of these tragic episodes President François Hollande refused to name the enemy, refused to name Islamism -- and especially refused to name French Islamists -- as the enemy of French citizens.
As Mathieu Bock-Côté, a sociologist in France and Canada, says in Le Figaro:
"Western elites, with a suicidal obstinacy, oppose naming the enemy. Confronted by attacks in Brussels or Paris, they prefer to imagine a philosophical fight between democracy and terrorism, between an open society and fanaticism, between civilization and barbarism".
2. The Civil War Has Already Begun and Nobody Wants to Name It.
The civil war began sixteen years ago, with the second Intifada. When Palestinians executed suicide attacks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, French Muslims began to terrorize Jews living peacefully in France. For sixteen years, Jews -- in France -- were slaughtered, attacked, tortured and stabbed by French Muslim citizens, supposedly to avenge Palestinian people in the West Bank.
When a group of French citizens who are Muslims declares war on another group of French citizens who are Jews, what do you call it? For the French establishment, it is not a civil war, just a regrettable misunderstanding between two "ethnic" communities.
3. The French Establishment Considers the Enemy the Poor, the Old and the Disappointed
In France, the global elites made a choice. They decided that the "bad" voters in France were unreasonable people too stupid, too racist to see the beauties of a society open to people who often do not want to assimilate, who want you to assimilate to them, and who threaten to kill you if you do not.
The global elites made another choice: they took the side against their own old and poor because those people did not want to vote for them any longer. The global elites also chose not to fight Islamism, because Muslims vote globally for the global elite. Muslims in Europe also offer a big "carrot" to the global elite: they vote collectively.
In France, 93% of Muslims voted for the current president, François Hollande, in 2012. In Sweden, the Social Democrats reported that 75% of Swedish Muslims voted for them in the general election of 2006; and studies show that the "red-green" bloc gets 80-90% of the Muslim vote.
4. Is the Civil War Inevitable? Yes!
If the establishment does not want to see that civil war was already declared by extremist Muslims first -- if they do not want to see that the enemy is not the Front National in France, the AfD in Germany, or the Sweden Democrats -- but Islamism in France, in Belgium, in Great Britain, in Sweden -- then a civil war will happen.
France, like Germany and Sweden, has a military and police strong enough to fight against an internal Islamist enemy. But first, they have to name it and take measures against it. If they do not -- if they leave their native citizens in despair, with no other means than to arm themselves and retaliate -- yes, civil war is inevitable.
Read the entire article at Gatestone Institute. Hat tip Document.no.
Yves Mamou, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde.
«On the verge of a civil war»
13.07.2016. France is 'on the verge of a civil war' which could be sparked by a mass sexual assault on women by migrants, intelligence chief warns, according to The Daily Mail:
- France is on the verge of 'civil war', the country's head of intelligence says.
- Patrick Calvar said mass sexual assault of women by migrants may start it.
- Believes situation so tense another terror attack could also spark backlash.
- More than 1,000 women sexually abused in Germany on New Year's Eve.
Growing tensions between the ‘extreme Right and the Muslim world’ have pushed France to the ‘verge of a civil war’, the country’s most senior security chief has warned.
Patrick Calvar, head of the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) – France’s equivalent of MI5 – made his claim in the wake of last year’s terrorist attacks on Paris.
A total of 147 people were murdered by terrorists in the capital during atrocities in January and November.
Many of those responsible were French passport holders with North African backgrounds, leading to far-Right politicians calling for a massive clampdown on immigration.
But Mr Calvar, 60, warned there is evidence that radical Right-wing French groups have been massing arms in preparation for their own attacks on mosques and synagogues.
‘I think we will win against terrorism,’ Mr Calvar said, but predicted the ‘confrontation between the extreme Right and the Muslim world’, adding: ‘We’re on the verge of a civil war. I think this confrontation is going to happen. One or two more attacks and it will take place. It is up to us to anticipate and stop all those groups who would trigger clashes.’
The closed inquiry was held on May 24, but Mr Calvar’s dramatic comments were leaked to French media yesterday. He said: ‘Where is the spark going to come from that will light the powder, transforming France into an uncontrollable country where groups take up arms and hand out their own justice? Who sees a crumbling country where violence and vengeance alternates between two camps, where the spiral of attacks does not stop.
‘Nothing is excluded in a country which is already as eruptive as France today.’
Continue reading in The Daily Mail.
A symptom of the failure of Western elites
09.07.2016. The decision by U.K. voters to leave the EU is such a glaring repudiation of the wisdom and relevance of elite political and media institutions that — for once — their failures have become a prominent part of the storyline. Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting their own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-Leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility. Virtually every reaction that falls into the former category emphasizes the profound failures of Western establishment factions; these institutions have spawned pervasive misery and inequality, only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object. Thus writes Glenn Greenwald in his article Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions (links in original):
The Los Angeles Times’s Vincent Bevins, in an outstanding and concise analysis, wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for 30 years”; in particular, “since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.” The British journalist Tom Ewing, in a comprehensive Brexit explanation, said the same dynamic driving the U.K. vote prevails in Europe and North America as well: “the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact.”
In an interview with the New Statesman, the political philosopher Michael Sandel also said that the dynamics driving the pro-Brexit sentiment were now dominant throughout the West generally: “A large constituency of working-class voters feel that not only has the economy left them behind, but so has the culture, that the sources of their dignity, the dignity of labor, have been eroded and mocked by developments with globalization, the rise of finance, the attention that is lavished by parties across the political spectrum on economic and financial elites, the technocratic emphasis of the established political parties.” After the market-venerating radicalism of Reagan and Thatcher, he said, “the center left” — Blair and Clinton and various European parties — “managed to regain political office but failed to reimagine the mission and purpose of social democracy, which became empty and obsolete.”
Three Guardian writers sounded similar themes about elite media ignorance stemming from homogeneity and detachment from the citizenry. John Harris quoted a Manchester voter as explaining, “If you’ve got money, you vote in. If you haven’t got money, you vote out.” Harris added: “Most of the media … failed to see this coming. … The alienation of the people charged with documenting the national mood from the people who actually define it is one of the ruptures that has led to this moment.” Gary Younge similarly denounced “a section of the London-based commentariat [that] anthropologized the British working class as though they were a lesser evolved breed from distant parts, all too often portraying them as bigots who did not know what was good for them.” Ian Jack’s article was headlined “In this Brexit vote, the poor turned on an elite who ignored them,” and he described how “gradually the sight of empty towns and shuttered shops became normalized or forgotten.”
Though there were some exceptions, establishment political and media elites in the U.K. were vehemently united against Brexit, but their decreed wisdom was ignored, even scorned. That has happened time and again. As their fundamental failures become more evident to all, these elites have lost credibility, influence, and the ability to dictate outcomes.
Just last year in the U.K., Labour members chose someone to lead Tony Blair’s party — the authentically left-wing Jeremy Corbyn — who could not have been more intensely despised and patronized by almost every leading light of the British media and political class. In the U.S., the joyful rejection by Trump voters of the collective wisdom of the conservative establishment evidenced the same contempt for elite consensus. The enthusiastic and sustained rallying, especially by young voters, against beloved-by-the-establishment Hillary Clinton in favor of a 74-year-old socialist taken seriously by almost no D.C. elites reflected the same dynamic. Elite denunciations of the right-wing parties of Europe fall on deaf ears. Elites can’t stop, or even affect, any of these movements because they are, at bottom, revolts against their wisdom, authority, and virtue.
In sum, the West’s establishment credibility is dying, and its influence is precipitously eroding — all deservedly so. The frenetic pace of online media makes even the most recent events feel distant, like ancient history. That, in turn, makes it easy to lose sight of how many catastrophic and devastating failures Western elites have produced in a remarkably short period of time.
But there is something deeper and more interesting driving the media reaction here. Establishment journalistic outlets are not outsiders. They’re the opposite: They are fully integrated into elite institutions, are tools of those institutions, and thus identify fully with them. Of course they do not share, and cannot understand, anti-establishment sentiments: They are the targets of this establishment-hating revolt as much as anyone else. These journalists’ reaction to this anti-establishment backlash is a form of self-defense. As NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen put it last night, “Journalists today report on hostility to the political class, as if they had nothing to do with it,” but they are a key part of that political class and, for that reason, “if the population — or part of it — is in revolt against the political class, this is a problem for journalism.”
There are many factors explaining why establishment journalists now have almost no ability to stem the tide of anti-establishment rage, even when it’s irrational and driven by ignoble impulses. Part of it is that the internet and social media have rendered them irrelevant, unnecessary to disseminate ideas. Part of it is that they have nothing to say to people who are suffering and angry — due to their distance from them — other than to scorn them as hateful losers. Part of it is that journalists — like anyone else — tend to react with bitterness and rage, not self-assessment, as they lose influence and stature.
But a major factor is that many people recognize that establishment journalists are an integral part of the very institutions and corrupted elite circles that are authors of their plight. Rather than mediating or informing these political conflicts, journalists are agents of the forces that are oppressing people. And when journalists react to their anger and suffering by telling them that it’s invalid and merely the byproduct of their stupidity and primitive resentments, that only reinforces the perception that journalists are their enemy, thus rendering journalistic opinion increasingly irrelevant.
Brexit — despite all the harm it is likely to cause and all the malicious politicians it will empower — could have been a positive development. But that would require that elites (and their media outlets) react to the shock of this repudiation by spending some time reflecting on their own flaws, analyzing what they have done to contribute to such mass outrage and deprivation, in order to engage in course correction. Exactly the same potential opportunity was created by the Iraq debacle, the 2008 financial crisis, the rise of Trumpism and other anti-establishment movements: This is all compelling evidence that things have gone very wrong with those who wield the greatest power, that self-critique in elite circles is more vital than anything.
But, as usual, that’s exactly what they most refuse to do. Instead of acknowledging and addressing the fundamental flaws within themselves, they are devoting their energies to demonizing the victims of their corruption, all in order to delegitimize those grievances and thus relieve themselves of responsibility to meaningfully address them. That reaction only serves to bolster, if not vindicate, the animating perceptions that these elite institutions are hopelessly self-interested, toxic, and destructive and thus cannot be reformed but rather must be destroyed. That, in turn, only ensures there will be many more Brexits, and Trumps, in our collective future.
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