Essays on France

Here are a series of essays written after visits to France over the course of the last ten years. This period has been marked by a rapid deterioration of the condition of the Jews in France as a result of the virulent anti-Zionism that exploded in the wake of the outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israelis in the fall of 2000. In particular, the image of Muhammad al Durah, a 12 year-old Palestinian boy allegedly gunned down by Israeli soldiers at Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000, served as a major incitement to the torrent of hatred that poured out of both the leftist “progressive circles” and Muslim immigrant communities.

At the time this first began to happen most people, including myself, didn’t even know about the process of Islamization of Europe that Bat Ye’or has called “Eurabia.” In a volume published in 2000 on the state of France, one finds not a hint of awareness that the Muslim population posed a serious problem (the only indexical reference is to one page in the edition for 1994-5). Although admittedly large, the immigrant population from North Africa, imported to do the manual labor that the waning population of Europeans needed to sustain them in their old age, seemed possible to assimilate.

On these subjects, the migration, far from constituting a problem, can constitute a vector of multiple mediations between civil societies [here we see the dangerous effect of misdefining civil society]. Its activity can also been considered relevant to an active integration into the receiving society.

And yet, over the last five years, a stunning transformation has taken place in Europe, made all the more rapid by the radical denial that has marked mainstream European attitudes until this day. If civic Europe survives — which I passionately hope it does — these opening years of the 21st century will be remembered as a period, much like the 3os, when well intentioned people made consistently foolish choices, deepening their danger.

The essays included here mark my own awakening to the problem which, despite my sense of foreboding in the 1990s, I could not have imagined.


Bi-millennial diary: Paris and cultural musak

Paris, May 1997

French Academia’s Fear of the Year 1000: Letter from a Spurned Lover

Fall, 1999

Chiraq-Iraq: Sailing Full Speed in Iceberg-Laden Waters

Paris, March 5-16, 2003

The Pitfalls of Moral Schadenfreude: What the French Media Chooses to Tell Its Public
July, 2004

Le “non” vu d’outre-atlantique
Paris, June 2005

The Unintended Consequences of Media Error: Al Durah and the Ramadan Riots of 2005
November 15, 2005

What Happens When the Ostrich Lifts up Its Head
March 4-14, 2006
Richard Landes

15 Responses to Essays on France

  1. [...] tes his phone number, and doesn’t answer his messages. Which is by way of leading up to these essays written over the last half-decade or so, by an American medievalist, fluent in Fre [...]

  2. Peaktalk says:

    CHAOS IN FRANCE

    It appears that the resistance to the proposed labor legislation in France will result in a general strike this coming Tuesday:In a joint statement, the students said they planned to block train stations and main roads on March 30 and…

  3. Milblog says:

    Very worrisome…

    This is a very interesting series of essays by someone who knows a whole lot more about France than I ever will, and I find his conclusions very disturbing and worrisome. Essentially, France has got some major problems – and…

  4. [...] ind and a base man will avoid you.” (William Blake, 1796) Main Home Essays on France [...]

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  14. [...] 2003 in Paris where she lives. She introduced me to the al Durah material and guided me through the tangled thorns of the French intellectual scene al Durah has done so much to corrupt. She writes for the Wall Street Journal, and as I read this I [...]

  15. [...] is by way of leading up to these essays written over the last half-decade or so, by an American medievalist, fluent in French, who visits [...]

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