French Resistance to Jihadism: The broad implications of Sarkozy’s election

French Resistance to Jihadism: The broad implications of Sarkozy’s election
Walid Phares
Author: Walid Phares
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: May 14, 2007

Many observers interpret the victory of Nicholas Sarkozy in the French presidential elections as a desperate plea from Europeans to begin a more vocal, effective resistance to urban Jihadi terror throughout the Continent. FSM Contributing Editor Walid Phares brings us his expert analysis.

French Resistance to Jihadism:

The broad implications of Sarkozy’s election


By Walid Phares

When I was leaving Paris at the end of October 2005 after a visit to France, I had two things in mind: First, I had seen the beginning of the urban intifada, which would soon engulf about two hundred cities and towns. Second, I was able to have my book Future Jihad received by Minister of Interior Nicolas Sarkozy. And as my plane was taking off, I concluded that the jihadi “invasion” of France’s cities would lead to a French popular response. This Sunday’s presidential election epitomized this reaction, and Nicolas Sarkozy embodied it.

 This striking electoral victory by the son of an immigrant is the result of the French public’s rejection of a slow decay that has been eroding the foundations of the Fifth Republic for years, some would say even since its inception in 1958. Without any doubt, the country’s economic insecurity and a need for change were among the reasons for Sarkozy’s electoral success. He promised a third path between the rigid left-wing agenda and Chirac’s stagnant economics. Many civil societies in Europe wish to escape the choice between Socialism and capitalism. European voters and French ones in particular, have desperately been trying to communicate this to their politicians since the end of the Cold War. But Sarkozy’s victory is also a response to another desperate plea from the peoples of Europe, and from the French silent majority in particular: Please resist the rise of terror that is the urban jihad. This Sunday’s vote, and the presidential primaries, were also — even mostly — about this latent worry, even if the political and media elite attempted to ignore it. When given the opportunity, French electors responded to the elite’s tergiversation on the perceived threat to democracy and security.


Since the 1970s, France has been a target for terrorist activities. Left wing, right wing, and Middle Eastern-rooted groups attacked the country and were fought fiercely by the government. As of the early 1990s, French urban centers began to witness the rise of radical Islamist networks. Migrating from the Maghreb (northwest Africa) and other regions, Salafi clerics and militants promoted jihadism around Paris and many other cities. By the end of the decade, many suburban zones were practically ruled by powers parallel to the state

 Inaugurated by Charles de Gaulle in the 1960s, the “politique Arabe de la France” (Arab policy of France), meant in practice an accommodation by Paris to the wishes of foreign powers providing cheap natural resources to the country’s industrial complex. Very smartly, the domestic jihadi web positioned itself under the umbrella of the French Oil interest and multinational corporations; radical clerics were financed by Saudi and other Arab regimes, spreading Wahhabism and Salafism across the country. Any interference by French authorities would “hurt” the relations with Petrol-regimes and thus would have a negative effect on the “economic benefits” to the country. Moreover, high-profile politicians, including President Chirac, were accused of becoming personal friends with Middle Eastern financial empires.

 The silent majority in France was powerless against the rise of the extremists in the banlieues (suburbs) and throughout the provinces. The average French voter grew frustrated with these two political options and was not willing to support Le Pen’s extreme positions. Popular dismay was exacerbated as the “parallel society” of radicals expanded in urban France. Within those enclaves, the Salafis were profiting from the void. Wherever French police and social workers couldn’t go, jihadi cells would mushroom. The combination of areas ruled by Imams and migrant terror-networks was explosive: In the fall of 2005, it did explode, right in the face of French citizenry.


After the September 11 attacks in the U.S., most Europeans worried that the same could happen to them. The European elite, however, largely dismissed the possibility, arguing that America brought the attacks upon itself by means of its foreign policy. Soon enough, Western Europe felt the ire of al Qaeda and its ilk: the Madrid train attacks on March 11, 2004, the London subway killings on July 7, 2005, and the assassination of Van Gogh on November 2, 2004, in Amsterdam were the most visible of the continental ghazwas (Jihadi raids).

In France, President Jacques Chirac, taking the Gaullist doctrine to its extreme, thought he could spare his country from the “holy wars.” By opposing the removal of Saddam and leading the criticism of Washington, the French political establishment, led by the Élysée (the presidential palace) and endorsed by Rue Solferino (the headquarters of the Socialist party), pitted itself against the United States. Between 2003 and late 2004, French diplomacy fought a fierce battle against America’s involvement in Iraq. The more Paris aligned itself with Berlin’s Schroeder and with anti-American governments worldwide, the more Chirac’s politicians felt safe at home and overseas. But the Jihadi powers, Salafists, and Khomeinists had different calculations. Their message to the French was: Either you are with us or you are against us.

During the Iraq war and in its aftermath, Salafi combat-cells continued to spread in France. Not supporting the U.S. in Iraq didn’t shield France from this domestic threat. Al Qaeda doesn’t reward infidels for not joining other infidels in the fight. Nor did Iran and Syria protect the French president’s interests and friends in the region, despite his political war with the Bush administration. In 2004, the Syrian regime went after Chirac’s allies and partners in Lebanon, most notably after Chirac’s friend Rafiq Hariri. In September, Paris reacted by introducing, along with the U.S., a resolution to get Syria out of Lebanon. In retaliation, the Assad regime launched an assassination campaign, killing many politicians, including Hariri. France’s “Arab policy” was collapsing. By the fall of 2005, France’s national soil was transformed into a battlefield.


On October 27, in Clichy-sous-Bois, an eastern suburb of Paris, “youth gangs” began torching cars and destroying property. The vandalism was purportedly instigated by the death of two young men who were being chased by police. But there was clearly more to it: The uprising spread to dozens of cities and similar graffiti appeared simultaneously across the country. By November 8, 2005, a state of emergency was declared. Ten thousand cars had been burned.

The French public took this as a warning. The media, government, and academia insisted on the unemployment-youth-socio-economic paradigm. But the silent majority didn’t buy it. People living close to the “insurgents” and interacting with them, including the security agencies, understood what was happening: Large urban zones around France’s cities had slipped away from national sovereignty. The radicals had built a “société parallèle,” concluded the average citizens. If the police couldn’t go into the suburbs, it was because they had become Taliban-like pockets. A national leader had to step in.


Moving swiftly and energetically, Nicolas Sarkozy, the minister of interior, took charge in what was the most sensitive aspect of the French collective psychology. After having organized the Islamic Federation of France in an attempt to whisk it away from the radicals the year before, Sarkozy became the target of attacks by the Salafi clerics, many of whom were preaching Jihadism in the mosques. Sarkozy used French laws to deport a number of them who were non-citizens. In 2003, Sarkozy had organized a state backed Council for Islamic Faith to contain the rise of the Islamists. The November 2005 intifada was a response to the Sarkozy counter-Jihadi measures. In response the minister of interior pushed for the deportation of the radical clerics he accused of incitements.

Nicolas Sarkozy embodies important sociological characteristics of French political culture. Being the son of immigrants, he can’t be attacked by the ideological users of the “immigrant shield.” He comes from a conservative background to assure the French that the national identity has to be protected, and he promotes progressive change, integrating the views of the French who are concerned with environmental and economic reforms.

Yet the collective consciousness of the French public today is primarily concerned with survival. This goes against the dominant paradigm, the official speech, and the intellectual rhetoric. French people took heed of the warning they saw on their televisions, the terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid, and London; they were shocked by what they saw from their own balconies happening on their streets. They were looking for someone to do something about this, and they found their man in Sarkozy.

This is not just one more European election; it is a benchmark in French politics and, subsequently, in the Western struggle to win the war on terror. The change will affect France deeply, but also its relations on the Continent, across the Atlantic, and in the Greater Middle East. Nicolas Sarkozy is determined to bring France back to itself after decades of Gaullist erring. His statement about being a friend of the United States doesn’t mean only that he will listen to what Washington has to say about the world, but also that he will make known to our politicians his experiences with a common enemy. As is clear, America’s establishment could well use the advice of this newly arrived friend on the world stage.

After he was elected, Sarkozy pledged that France would support the oppressed and persecuted around the world. In other words, France is committed to helping weak societies struggling for liberties against dictatorships. This statement is a prelude to what could become a new era of French solidarity with the global resistance to ideological jihadism. In this respect, Sarkozy’s victory can be viewed as a first step in the return of the French Resistance, this time against jihadism.

#  # Contributing Editor Walid Phares is the director of Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a visiting scholar at the European Foundation for Democracy, and the author of The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy.

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Note — The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of The Family Security Foundation, Inc.

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French Muslim Arson Tally: 367 Cars Torched

French Muslim Arson Tally: 367 Cars Torched

According to official figures, Muslim rioters in economically depressed French suburbs burned 367 cars last night following the presidential election victory of Nicolas Sarkozy. Twenty-eight policemen were injured, and 270 people were arrested in the violent protests.

The nationwide, weekly, Saturday night car-burning total averages 50 cars.

Some 1,000 cars are typically burned every New Year’s Eve.

So much for car-burning. The real danger, French security experts say, is the infiltration of the no-go Muslim areas by Islamist organizations, including, possibly, Al Qaeda-associated movements.

Jihadis aspire to ‘conquer France’

Jihadis aspire to ‘conquer France’

“The second stop of the Islamic conquest of Europe, France, after Andalusia, Spain.”

“Jihadis aspire to ‘conquer France’: Al-Qaeda forum calls for jihadis to ‘complete’ medieval war and take over France,” by Yaakov Lappin for Ynet News, with thanks to the American Israeli Patriot:

As the French people went to the polls to select a president, jihadi members of an al-Qaeda online forum exchanged messages discussing their aspiration to “reinvade France (and convert it into) an Islamic country.” The internet discussion appeared as Spanish security forces warned that both Spain and France were targets of al-Qaeda terror plots.A post that appeared on the al-Firdaws jihadi forum, submitted by a user named Faisal al-Baghdadi, contained a lengthy historical account of “the second stop of the Islamic conquest of Europe, France, after Andalusia, Spain.”

The post took a nostalgic look at the battle of Tours in 732, in which Muslim forces, commanded by Rahman al-Ghafiqi, who invaded a portion of France, were repelled by the Frankish general Charles Martel (“the hammer”), and forced to retreat. The battle stemmed the medieval Islamic conquest of Europe.

“The Islamic army was left with a large number of martyrs, especially the great shahid (martyr) Abdul Rahman a-Ghafiqi… this battle is mentioned in history, and is known at the battle of Tours,” the post explained.

“We ask that Allah sends us a genuine Rahman al-Ghafiqi, to finish what he started in Europe, and conquer the Vatican as promised in our beautiful Islamic verses,” the post concluded.

“Allah bless the writer and carrier of the message which recalls the days of glory and honor of Islam,” another user responded.

Al Qaeda may target France ahead of elections

Al Qaeda may target France ahead of elections

It seems to have gotten them what they wanted in Spain. An update on jihadist threats to France, from al-Qaeda and other groups. “France targeted by al-Qaeda,” by Roee Nahmias for YNet News:

A French intelligence report says that France is being targeted by al-Qaeda, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Friday.

The report warned decision makers of a series of scenarios, including a terror attack which will take place ahead of the presidential elections in a bid to influence their results.

The report was recently submitted to the French authorities and was titled ‘Situation report on the radical Islamic terror threat in France.’ The report was composed by various intelligence and security organizations in the country for three months.

The writers of report fear a terror attack similar to the one which took place in Madrid in March 2004. In order to illustrate the concrete threat, the newspaper published for the first time a letter handwritten and signed by Osama bin Laden, which instructed a radical Islamic organization in Algeria to “attack in eastern and southern France.”

According to the report, al-Qaeda affiliated websites contain “threatening messages by the organization, which include pictures from the French presidential campaign.”

The report added that “what contributes to the severity of the threats is that senior al-Qaeda members need to prove that they can still exert their influence in Europe and not only in the traditional jihad countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The report detailed four “threat centers” from which the activists would emerge. The first is “the Iraqi networks”: Hundreds of Muslims with a European citizenship who volunteered to fight in Iraq against the US army and returned last summer to Europe. Since their return, they have been working on building secret cells or preparing terror attacks.

Intelligence information received by France points to the fact that one of the close assistants of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, confessed during an interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence that about 30 radical Islamic Moroccans carrying a European passport have secretly infiltrated France and several French-speaking countries in Africa in a bid to prepare terror attacks.

It appears that this information has been taken seriously by France, as several suspects have already been arrested in Canada.

Immediate threat: An Algerian group

The second source of threat mentioned by the report was “the Afghan-Pakistan networks.” Contrary to the prevailing belief that these networks completely disintegrated after September 11, 2001 and the war in Afghanistan, these organizations’ training camps have reappeared near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The report warned that volunteers carrying a European passport were recently seen in two camps, one in Pakistan run by Taliban members and the other in Afghanistan run by one of bin Laden’s former bodyguards.

The report stated that the counterterrorism organizations in France have been increasingly concerned by these networks, particularly after activists who left the camps were recently exposed in terror cells uncovered in Britain, Belgium, France and Morocco.

These terrorists were carrying the ‘Guide for Jihad’ written by al-Qaeda member Abu Musab al-Suri, in which he preaches to attack France as it is “A legitimate target for jihad.”

Intelligence information received by France reveals that for the first time, women were among the terrorists who left the camps and settled in Europe in order to prepare terror attacks.

A third source of concern for the French intelligence is “the Caucasian terror networks.” According to the information, these networks are supervised by the al-Qaeda representative in Central Asia and include graduates of secret training camps in different places in Asia, including Kashmir, China, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Chechnya.

According to the report, graduates of the Kashmir camp with a British and Dutch citizenship were recently arrested. Another cell was uncovered in France.

A fourth source of concern for France, and perhaps the most severe, is the organizations in North Africa, mainly those affiliated with a radical Islamic organization in Algeria. The leader of this organization has threatened France several times in the past two years.

The same organization was recently blessed by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as the group which will lead the jihad in Europe and North Africa. The organization changed its name and officially became part of al-Qaeda after receiving bin Laden’s blessing.

This group was formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, or GSPC.

This organization was the one which received the letter from bin Laden ordering an attack on France.

“The Algerian organization now constitutes the greatest source of threat on France and on all of Europe. Due to its organizational ability and its long-terms relations with al-Qaeda and especially with Osama bin Laden in person, the organizations has turned into al-Qaeda’s key representative in Europe,” the report warned.

France and the Iranian Revolution

France and the Iranian Revolution

Now that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in the news with its suspected nuclear weapons program, it could be good to pause and reflect for a moment on who contributed to the Islamic Republic being established in the late 1970s, probably the one event next to the influx of oil money to Saudi Arabia – and possibly the establishment of the Eurabian networks which all happened in the 70s – that was chiefly responsible for the global resurgence of Jihad. The inaction and general incompetence displayed by former US President Jimmy Carter, today an apologist for the Islamic Jihad against Israel, certainly contributed, but we mustn’t forget former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

The irony is that while the Ayatollah Khomeini could establish an Islamic state directed from the suburbs of Paris, the French 30 years later have hundreds of Islamic mini-states on French soil. Khomeini and his cronies used this window of opportunity at a critical stage of the uprising against the Shah to consolidate their power and establish their lead over the direction of which the Revolution was heading.

As Ambassador Freddy Eytan says:

President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing had invited the Shah of Iran as his first official foreign guest, in view of France’s interest in Iranian oil. In 1978, Giscard and his Interior Minister Michel Poniatowski foresaw the collapse of the Shah’s government, which would damage France’s commercial interests.The proposal was then raised to bring the Ayatollah Khomeini to Algeria. Before, he had been chased from one place to the other. The DST, the French secret service, opposed his entry but Giscard overruled them and granted Khomeini political asylum in France. He stayed in Neauphle le Chateau near Paris. From there, he distributed cassettes to Iran inciting against democracy, peace in the Middle East, the Jews and Israelis. He also called for jihad, a violent holy war. The PLO distributed Khomeini’s cassettes to Iran. When the American embassy in Teheran was attacked in November 1979, PLO members were among the perpetrators. Yasser Arafat was the first official guest in Teheran. He received a popular welcome as a great hero for supporting the Islamic revolution.

Today, we know that Khomeini’s concepts of the Islamic Republic have led to a major expansion of militant Islam. Both Hizbollah and Al Qaeda have their origins in the revolutionary ideas developed in Khomeini’s Iran. The violent speeches in the Iranian mosques and international Islamist terror would not have developed without Khomeini’s stay in France and the publicity he received there. Without Giscard’s hospitality, Khomeini would not have been able to take power in Iran and develop an infrastructure for international propaganda and terrorism.

David Frum writes in his recent review of David Pryce-Jones’s book Betrayal: France, the Arabs, and the Jews:

Pryce-Jones demonstrates that French foreign policy has repeatedly arrived at nearly equally perverse results in the Middle East. When Saddam Hussein banished Ayatollah Khomeini from Iraq in 1978, France welcomed the turbaned zealot. In France, the ayatollah discovered limitless freedom to agitate: As he himself later said, “We could publicize our views extensively, much more than we expected.” Pryce-Jones quotes a study by Amir Taheri that the ayatollah gave 132 radio, television, and print interviews over the four months of his stay in France. He received almost 100,000 visitors, who donated over 20 million British pounds to his cause. In February 1979, the ayatollah returned to Iran in a chartered Air France jet; an Air France pilot held his elbow as he descended the steps to the tarmac.

Nit Boms wrote:

In 1978, as protests against Shah Pahlavi swept across Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini was living in a cozy house in the Parisian suburb of Neauphle-le-Chateau, engineering an Islamic revolution that would soon shake the world. Under the watchful eye of the French government, Khomeini met regularly with journalists and actively campaigned for the shah’s overthrow. In fact, when Pahlavi finally fled his country in 1979, Khomeini was provided with a chartered Air France flight to Tehran, where he presided over one of the world’s most repressive regimes until his death in 1989.

Former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing is still around. He has not been called to account. Today he is the chief architect behind the awful EU Constitution.

MSM Silence on “Wild West” in the Paris Subway

MSM Silence on “Wild West” in the Paris Subway

Filed under: Media, Honor-Shame Culture, France, Are We Waking Up Yet? — RL @ 12:07 pm — Print This Post

[Texte français à la fin.]

There is an article, now scanned and on the web, in the Parisien, a journal already with a record for publishing what the MSM papers won’t, that recounts the attack of some 100 “youths” from the “difficult neighborhoods” who attacked and robbed of their personal possessions passengers on the Metro inside Paris to the point that the police had to evacuate the station Chateau-Rouge, a site already on some people’s “dangerous sites in Paris” list.

This incident, which had people fleeing the subway in panic, and the police closed off the station to arrest the youth is not unprecedented. Last spring, just before the riots — in the daytime — passengers were jumped and relieved of their goods. Said one:

“They took my laptop and I didn’t move. I just tried to hide my bag,” said Thierry. “We went through ten minutes when we felt as insignificant as a straw in the wind.”

And that’s just what you were supposed to feel. You’ve been humiliated. And you took it lying down. Double victory for them.

And that double victory is then turned into a triple victory when the French MSM avoid any mention of the incident. Thus the French slowly but surely let some of the Metro stops and lines become “lost territories,” taken over by gangs whose information network is excellent, and the losers don’t even know it’s happening.

Why no report? Because it’s too embarrassing? Because if the tourists knew they wouldn’t come? Because if the French knew, they’d vote “right wing”? All apparently compelling reasons for the French MSM; all very bad reasons for the future of the French Republic.

Why hasn’t ‘intifada’ in France been on the news?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Why hasn’t ‘intifada’ in France been on the news?

Because Bush, America, and/or Christianity are not to blame

Fall of the Fifth Republic? — France today is a lot like New York City was before Rudy Giuliani: Its government is so large it crushes the economy – yet also too weak to stem widespread criminality. As with pre-Rudy New York, the fear that France’s best days are behind it prevails. — click the link in the text “The French Path To Jihad”

Fall of the Fifth Republic?
By Fred Siegel
New York Post | November 1, 2006

France today is a lot like New York City was before Rudy Giuliani: Its government is so large it crushes the economy – yet also too weak to stem widespread criminality. As with pre-Rudy New York, the fear that France’s best days are behind it prevails. For the moment, the French are breathing a sigh of relief, as the anniversary of last year’s three weeks of rioting by Muslim youth passed with much fanfare but no widespread disturbances. Yet — with the nation approaching both a presidential election and the Fifth Republic’s 50th anniversary — the French elites worry that their famously unstable country is headed for breakdown and a Sixth Republic.

The 2005 Ramadan Riots, which saw some 10,000 cars torched and 300 buildings firebombed, have been followed by a yearlong, lower-grade rolling riot — what some in the French police are calling a “permanent intifada.” Nationwide, this works out to 15 attacks a day on police and firefighters, and 100 cars set ablaze nightly. And for the first time, the police are being subject to well-planned ambushes.

So when the Oct. 27 anniversary of last year’s violence was met with “only” 277 torched cars, the Interior Ministry declared it “relatively calm.”

But the trends are not good. While last year’s violence was disorganized (rioters armed only with bricks, crowbars and Molotov cocktails) and largely confined to heavily immigrant Muslim and African neighborhoods, this past week saw a half-dozen well-organized attacks on public buses in non-immigrant neighborhoods by “youths” armed with guns. In some cases, they ordered passengers out at gunpoint, then firebombed the bus. In others, they’ve tossed Molotov cocktails into buses with the passengers still aboard.

The French press ardently insists there’s no link between Islam and the unrest in the streets. But there is a connection, albeit complex, between the rioters and Islam’s Jihadi elements.

Some of the rioters of 2005 and car bombers of recent clashes have shouted Allah Akbar (God is Great). But other rioters are drawn to Islam less as a faith and more as an off-the-shelf oppositional ideology that has replaced Marxism as the intellectual drug of the alienated.

In his Policy Review article “The French Path To Jihad,” based on interviews with French prisoners, author John Rosenthal notes that Islam’s attraction is often less its theological content than an aura of rebellion. “Islam disturbs people,” notes Jacques, a non-Muslim “and for me that’s a good sign.”

One Muslim prisoner he interviews sounds like an underclass kid from early ’90s New York: “Islam was my salvation. I understood what I was as a Muslim, someone with dignity, whom the French despised because they didn’t fear me enough . . . That is the achievement of Islamism. Now, we are respected. Hated, but respected.”

The Fifth Republic’s foreign policy, which sees the Arab world as a counter-balance to U.S. and Israeli power, has unintentionally legitimated some of the violence. French television, its perspective an extension of the nation’s ruling elites, has tried to incorporate young Muslims by depicting the conflicts in the Middle East largely from a Franco-Muslim perspective. On many nights, the TV news glorified the intifada against Israel. In the “al Dura affair,” French TV went so far as to fabricate images of a Palestinian boy supposedly killed by Israelis.

The Muslim underclass, not surprisingly, identified with the “youths” attacking Israelis and sees in their own violence a heroic extension of the battle against the enemies of Islam.

The continued violence and fear have received heavy coverage in the French press, and — along with a weak economy, high unemployment and the collapse in support for President Jacques Chirac — set the terms for the 2007 presidential campaign, now underway.

The 74-year-old Chirac is a career politician — and, like most of France’s insular elite, cut off from the public. He has managed the remarkable accomplishment of becoming less popular in France than President Bush.

But the old Socialist opposition — which had already managed to finish third in the 2002 presidential elections, behind the fascist Jean Le Pen — have been unable to capitalize on the nation’s troubles. The Socialists, who largely represent government bureaucrats and professionals, are as cut off from popular sentiment as Chirac. They are, explains American expatriate writer Denis Boyles, so ardent in their courtship of the Muslim vote as to be literally tongue-tied when it comes to the violence.

The one politician who seems to be in touch with the mood of anger and anxiety is Chirac’s plainspoken interior minister and political enemy — Nicholas Sarkozy, whose parents came to France as immigrants.

Sarkozy is not only philo-American, he admires Giuliani.

If his thus-far successful efforts to constrain Muslim violence hold, his chances of becoming the next president increase. The question then will be if Sarkozy has the Giuliani-like courage and ability to buck the tides of the traditional elites and pull his country back from the brink of ruin.

Dark Ages, Live from the Middle East — The most frightening aspect of the present war is how easily our premodern enemies from the Middle East have brought a stunned postmodern world back into the Dark Ages.

Dark Ages, Live from the Middle East
By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times | October 30, 2006

The most frightening aspect of the present war is how easily our premodern enemies from the Middle East have brought a stunned postmodern world back into the Dark Ages.Students of history are sickened when they read of the long-ago, gruesome practice of beheading. How brutal were those societies that chopped off the heads of Cicero, Sir Thomas More and Marie Antoinette. And how lucky we thought we were to have evolved from such elemental barbarity.

Twenty-four hundred years ago, Socrates was executed for unpopular speech. The 18th-century European Enlightenment gave people freedom to express views formerly censored by clerics and the state. Just imagine what life was like once upon a time when no one could write music, compose fiction or paint without court or church approval?

Over 400 years before the birth of Christ, ancient Greek literary characters, from Lysistrata to Antigone, reflected the struggle for sexual equality. The subsequent notion that women could vote, divorce, dress or marry as they pleased was a millennia-long struggle.

It is almost surreal now to read about the elemental hatred of Jews in the Spanish Inquisition, 19th-century Russian pogroms or the Holocaust. Yet here we are revisiting the old horrors of the savage past.

Beheading? As we saw with Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl, our Neanderthal enemies in the Middle East have resurrected that ancient barbarity — and married it with 21st-century technology to beam the resulting gore instantaneously onto our computer screens. Xerxes and Attila, who stuck their victims’ heads on poles for public display, would’ve been thrilled by such a gruesome show.

Who would have thought centuries after the Enlightenment that sophisticated Europeans — in fear of radical Islamists — would be afraid to write a novel, put on an opera, draw a cartoon, film a documentary or have their pope discuss comparative theology?

The astonishing fact is not just that millions of women worldwide in 2006 are still veiled from head-to-toe, trapped in arranged marriages, subject to polygamy, honor killings and forced circumcision, or lack the right to vote or appear alone in public. What is more baffling is that in the West, liberal Europeans are often wary of protecting female citizens from the excesses of Shariah law — sometimes even fearful of asking women to unveil their faces for purposes of simple identification and official conversation.

Who these days is shocked that Israel is hated by Arab nations and threatened with annihilation by radical Iran? Instead, the surprise is that even in places like Paris or Seattle, Jews are singled out and killed for the apparent crime of being Jewish.

Since September 11, 2001, the West has fought enemies who are determined to bring back the nightmarish world we thought was long past. And there are lessons Westerners can learn from radical Islamists’ ghastly efforts.

• First, the Western liberal tradition is fragile and can still disappear. Just because we have sophisticated cell phones, CAT scanners and jets does not ensure we are permanently civilized or safe. Technology used by the civilized for positive purposes can easily be manipulated by barbarians for destruction.

• Second, the Enlightenment is not always lost on the battlefield. It can be surrendered through either fear or indifference as well. Westerners fearful of terrorist reprisals themselves shut down a production of a Mozart opera in Berlin deemed offensive to Muslims. Few came to the aid of a Salman Rushdie or Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh when their unpopular expression earned death threats from Islamists. Van Gogh, of course, was ultimately killed.

The Goths and Vandals did not sack Rome solely through the power of their hordes; they also relied on the paralysis of Roman elites who no longer knew what it was to be Roman — much less whether it was any better than the alternative.

• Third, civilization is forfeited with a whimper, not a bang. Insidiously, we have allowed radical Islamists to redefine the primordial into the not-so-bad. Perhaps women in head-to-toe burkas in Europe prefer them? Maybe that crass German opera was just too over the top after all? Aren’t both parties equally to blame in the Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan wars?

To grasp the flavor of our own Civil War, impersonators now don period dress and reconstruct the battles of Shiloh or Gettysburg. But we need no so such historical re-enactment of the Dark Ages. You see, they are back with us — live almost daily from the Middle East.

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You run from police…You accidentally get electrocuted while hiding from police at an electrical substation…You get a monument built in your honor!

You run from police…You accidentally get electrocuted while hiding from police at an electrical substation…You get a monument built in your honor!


A breathtaking apex of French dhimmitude. No wonder the French “youths” are growing bolder and more assertive: they see that the French have no will to resist whatsoever, and rewards those who engage in criminal activity. “Peace Gesture: French Unveil Monument to Boys Who Fled Police,” from Gateway Pundit, with thanks to LGF:

You run from police… You accidentally get electrocuted while hiding from police at an electrical substation… You get a monument built in your honor!monument.jpg

A monument is unveiled to honor Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore who died on Oct. 27, 2005 by accidental electrocution while fleeing a police identification check.

A silent march ended in a mostly immigrant Paris suburb on Friday where French officials unveiled a monument to two youths who died while fleeing from police:

Relatives and friends of two French teenagers who were electrocuted as they fled from police a year ago have gathered in Clichy-sous-Bois near Paris. A plaque was unveiled in front of their school, and a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the power sub-station where the teenagers tried to hide.The deaths of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore sparked three weeks of violent riots in France’s poor suburbs as the young and unemployed vented their anger over what they saw as lack of opportunity and racial discrimination. The crowd gathered in silent prayer wearing t-shirts with the slogan “Dead for nothing”.

They also laid wreaths at the electrical sub-station.