We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

From the “yes, but…” files

Perhaps it is merely a case of grabbing whoever is conveniently to hand. Or perhaps not:

A group calling itself The Islamic Army in Iraq says it is holding the two men – Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale and Georges Malbrunot of Paris daily newspaper Le Figaro….

Arab TV station al-Jazeera showed a video on Monday in which both men, speaking in English, called for the law banning headscarves to be overturned – and for French people to demonstrate for its repeal.

A group calling itself The Islamic Army in Iraq says it is holding the two men – Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale and Georges Malbrunot of Paris daily newspaper Le Figaro.

Arab TV station al-Jazeera showed a video on Monday in which both men, speaking in English, called for the law banning headscarves to be overturned – and for French people to demonstrate for its repeal.

Of course, the only way to prevent this kind of thing happening again is for the French to change their misguided and interventionist domestic policies.

[P.S. Why were they speaking in English, I wonder?]

22 comments to From the “yes, but…” files

  • A.M.

    Presumably the kidnappers can’t understand French and so told them to speak in English so they (the kidnappers) could be sure the Frenchmen were saying what they were told to.

  • I just listened to the French TV new we get here in NYC. Its obvious that this event is having an pretty big impact in France. The Kidnappers are playing with their hopes , one minute hinting the Journalists will be released, the next minute retreating into silence. Its the same pattern we used to see with the hostages in Lebanon. and that we saw with the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979-1981.

    The French are not used to this, so they are letting the terrorists play their emotions like a fiddle.

    The other thing is that the the TV show repeated all the announcements from Hamas Islamic Jihad etc saying that France is such a good friend to the Arabs and that the Hostages should be released. mmmm. Maybe they will be let go, one certainly hopes so, but could it be that none of these pronouncements are sincere? Arafat always speaks out against suicide bombers, his people did so again today. It will be interesting to see what lessons if any the French Government and people learn from this episode.

  • Verity

    As Tony Blair would say, “Look!”

    I have posted here before, from France. The French are onto the Islamic militants and all their tricks.

    The hijab is a weapon. A threat. It is not worn by little 10 and 11 year old girls of their own free will. Like all children, they want to look like their contemporaries. This setting themselves apart in the schoolroom is forced on them, as a statement, by the men in their family. If there is one time in our lives when we slavishly want to look like our fellows, it is when we are in school. Forcing little girls to look different from other little girls in school is a pyschological victory.

    It has nothing to do with their religion. It’s a ‘cultural’ thing. It is power and control emanating from males to make a mark on the community. This is why, in the suburbs of the big industrial cities, if a girl doesn’t wear a headscarf to school, she will be gang raped (les tournants – taking turns) to teach her a lesson. The male is the boss, and we have said you have to bloody cover your head as an advertisement for the power of Islam.

    The French government is also aware that indigenous French Catholic girls are also being gang raped for stepping outside their doors in the projects without wearing a hijab – a sign of that ‘submission’ so beloved by Islam.

    I’ll make a bet that will shock some: France will not back down. In her own eyes, France stands for civilisation and the rights of man. If the two journalists die, Jacques Chirac will go to their memorial services, as will most senior ministers of the Fifth Republic and they will look grave and they will be genuinely upset. But they won’t back down.

    The hijab will still be banned on (publicly funded) school premises. And the scumballs who captured those two journalists will have given an impetus to the French government, and people, to deny any other special privileges to these immigrants. This is serious, and the French public will rally round.

  • GCooper

    Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t we forever being scolded that if only we in the West left Moslem countries alone, they would return the compliment? That they have no interest in taking over, or even influencing, our cultures and that everything is the fault of “Th’American” for intervening in their affairs?

    Haven’t we just endured a thread about it on this very Blog?

    No, there’s no pan-Islamic drive to subvert other countries at work here, nor to subjugate their populations to this barbarous, mediaeval, superstitious claptrap, where a girl has to wear a scarf over her head so as to…. what? Placate the Clairol fairy, or something? Search me.

    Oh dear. I seem to have become a Right-wing, paranoid conspiracy freak

  • Daniel

    I doubt the kidnappers are really seeking an overturn of the hijab ban, rather they want cash, and the French government will give it to them. This is the only reason I can think of why the kidnappers have given the journalists a reprieve. Or perhaps the kidnappers are not complete idiots and have some clue how to exploit the divisions in the West to their advantage.

  • GCooper “Placate the Clairol Fairy” I love it.

    Verity

    I agree that the French will not bend on the Hijab issue. The devotion of the French state to secularism is deep in its DNA. It is part of their hostility to all religion in what father Neuhaus called the “Public Square” .

    You are absolutely right about the tournantes and the way the males in ‘les banlieus’ use Islam as a way of keeping their women under control.

    What I question is the way this effects their integration or assimilation into French society. In the US most Muslims adapt, at least in part because they find few,if any obstacles to practicing their faith and building their Islamic communities. We have so many ‘communities’ not just religious but economic, sexual, or pure communities of the imagination . Hell, if we can have large gatherings where hundreds of grown men and women walk around dressed as Vulcans and Klingons, who in their right mind can complain about the hijab.

  • Daveon

    The French are not used to this, so they are letting the terrorists play their emotions like a fiddle.

    Rubbish.

    The French have been expriencing Islamic terorrism for a rather long time, from jets being blown up, through hijacks and attempts to destroy national landmarks.

    The French are many things, but what they are is ultimately kings of their own self interest.

    I’m actually, and strangely (again), with Verity – the French will not back down.

    There seems to be some idea that because they wouldn’t back the attack of Iraq in the way it was done, the French run away from fights. I don’t think history supports that view.

  • Ian Bennett

    Hell, if we can have large gatherings where hundreds of grown men and women walk around dressed as Vulcans and Klingons, who in their right mind can complain about the hijab

    I assume that the Trekkies look like idiots voluntarily. If the same were the case for the hijab, no-one could justifiably complain, but the same is not the case. Thse girls are oppressed, and a civilized society must attempt to correct this.

  • The French are certainly used to bombings and so on but I’ve never seen them (or their media) get so upset about Hostages. They had a few in Lebanon in the 1980s but they did not treat it as a big deal. This time it seems to be different.

    Muslim Females often claim to wear the Hijab of their own free will. my main point is that in the US and it seems the UK as well we are OK with communitarianism were as the French Government tries to seriously limit what a community may and may not do.

  • [P.S. Why were they speaking in English, I wonder?]

    Because there is no better insult to the French

  • Shaun Bourke

    David.

    Cynical Froggie Foreign Policy Theatrics.

    I believe the above is more inline with the kidnapping described. Froggie Foreign Policy has a long and sorded history here too. The dead giveaway is that the demands are being submitted in English therefore the target audience is the Anglo-Sphere and more likely the Coalition of the Willing.

    The object of the exercise is two-fold.

    !. Demonstrating to the world the superior Froggie techniques for meeting with “freedom fighters” and dealing with their grievences.

    2. Improving Froggieland’s opportunities to regain access to Iraq for the purposes of further looting Iraq and its people.

    The flurry of activity from Froggieland’s Ministers is purely a covering shield.

    The very recent upsurge in terrorism around the world allows this cynical exercise to be mingled with the real thing granting Jack ‘the Nazi’ Chraik even better protection.

    The terrorists most likely have indirect connections into Paris.

    The play likely calls for a couple of time extensions with some token commentaries to Froggies by Jack the Nazi and finally an exchange of the reporters for “incured expenses”.

    Sadly, I actually hope the whole cynical exercise blows-up in Chriak’s face leaving several inches of excretment on his face.

    Questions ??

  • Verity

    Shaun Bourke – you are out of line. The French government is in a sickening position. They are being asked to save the lives of their two compatriots by doing harm to French civil society – allow Muslim males to impose hijabs on little girls and adolescents who attend school. They have already stated that this will not be tolerated on taxpayer funded properties, and they’ve already stated that when children are off school premises, they can wear whatever their fathers and brothers tell them to wear.

    You may not be aware of it, but no French government employee can wear a hijab in any government premises. No one who works in one of the thousands of mairies throughout France can wear a hijab to work. The French see it as divisive and as a challenge to French civil society and the ban has been in effect for quite a long time.

    For all that he’s a terrible fraud, unlike Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac loves his country. This isn’t a Froggie joke. I am certain they will not back down.

  • R C Dean

    If the two journalists die, Jacques Chirac will go to their memorial services, as will most senior ministers of the Fifth Republic and they will look grave and they will be genuinely upset. But they won’t back down.

    Looking upset at the funeral. That strikes me as being just about as effective as issuing a UN resolution.

    Won’t back down from what, exactly? Their clandestine support of Islamists in pursuit of oil contracts? Their attempts to build a power base in the Mideast by appeasing the worst elements of Middle Eastern society?

    Oh, won’t back down from hijab thing. Tell me again why I should care about French hair fashion. If the French want to root out the cultural rot in their Islamic slums, then they should start by arresting and jailing the rape gangs, and making sure everyone has decent economic opportunities.

  • A_t

    Just bring out France & all you idiots start spouting your rubbish… RC Dean, ” If the French want to root out the cultural rot in their Islamic slums, then they should start by arresting and jailing the rape gangs, and making sure everyone has decent economic opportunities.”

    Yeah, & if the US wants to sort out gang warfare in it’s major cities, perhaps it could arrest all the gangbangers & make sure “everyone has decent economic opportunities.” too… How do you propose this is done? Facile, cynical, unrealistic analysis.

    All this talk of “oh, French foreign policy has been so cynical” makes me laugh. Wherever you’re from, unless it’s Switzerland (& even then…), your nation’s foreign policy will have been dictated by “cynical” self-interest, not some bloody “oo, let’s sort out the world out of the goodness of our own hearts” rubbish. Americans seem particularly able to overlook this simple fact.

    I agree with Verity (wow… surprise!); Chirac’s put in a nasty position here. He doesn’t want to see these men die, but equally cannot give in to terrorism & give up a policy he clearly beleives in. Thus he will have to stick to his guns & possibly watch two men die for his principles. I should imagine that’s not an easy thing, regardless how jaded you are.

  • Verity

    Well, well … A_t and I on the same team. What next?

    Chirac and Jacques Lang (it was the two of them who drove the hijab ban through) will look distraught at the memorial services for these two men because that is how they will be feeling. As A_t says, they will have condemned two of their compatriots to die for their principles. I do not think they will be taking this lightly at all.

    R C Dean: Oh, won’t back down from hijab thing. Tell me again why I should care about French hair fashion. If the French want to root out the cultural rot in their Islamic slums, then they should start by arresting and jailing the rape gangs, and making sure everyone has decent economic opportunities.

    Are you really so deeply ignorant that you think the hijab in Western countries is about fashion? How many times does it have to be explained to you that these little girls are being used as tools with which to fight French civil society by the males in their families. Little girls of 13 and 14 want to look like their classmates. They don’t want to be put apart in a pen. The message these primitive fathers and brothers are trying to inculcate in French society is: our women are more special and more modest and more godly than your sluts. We are a superior civilisation.

    Oh, gosh! The police/Gendarmes should simply arrest all these gang rapists!!! Why did no one else think of that? Let me tell you something: any girl who reports a gang rape to the police is dead meat in those suburbs. It is her word against the word of everyone else in the building, who saw nothing and heard nothing, and Ali’s mother will swear he was out at the supermarket picking up some last minute things she needed to cook dinner, like a good Muslim boy.

    Sometimes, when a girl finds out that one or two of her schoolmates have also been gang raped, the three of them will somehow get up the courage to go to the police together. There they are treated with kindness and sensitivity and they are given protection. It takes a very, very brave little Muslim girl to go against her culture – given that her father will probably want to kill her for having got herself raped by five or six boys – and ask the police for help.

    Even Catholic girls who are raped for the temerity of not wearing a hijab when they step outside their door on the projects are fearful of reprisals for going to the police – although in the Catholics’ case, they will have the support of their entire family.

    This cancer at the centre of the lives of so many of their fellow citizens who live on the projects came to the attention of Chirac and Lang personally around 18 months ago, and they have wasted no time in nailing policies into place to try to make a dent in it, and eventually resolve it. The whole French Senate (with the exception, it goes without saying, of around 15 Muslim senators) is behind this action. They will not back down. They are genuinely very angry.

    The Islamics in these projects, like their co-religionists throughout Britain and Europe, do not have the faintest interest in integrating and adopting French society as their own. They are in France as colonisers. When someone in the projects calls the police, these super sophisticated people throw small refrigerators and large pot plants from their windows down onto the police cars – which were responding to an emergency because someone had called them for help.

    Even the firefighters, whose motto is Save or Perish, are attacked for responding to calls of a fire. The Muslims throw heavy objects from their windows as they are running carrying heavy hoses.

    You must live in a very simple, straightforward world, RC Dean, to make such silly statements.

    Someone a few threads ago accused me of ranting (actually, I think it was A_t) and this has turned into a genuine rant. But the knee-jerk anti-Froggie ignorance is irritating. I yield second place to no one in my dislike of many, many aspects of France, but for god’s sake, they do have a glorious history, their language was the lingua franca of the civilised world, they have made great contributions to diplomacy. They have advanced civilisation. They are quite capable of intelligent thought without advice from ignorant foreigners.

  • The question now is what will France do?

    Will they continue to balk at becoming involved in Iraq?

    Or will they put their admitted expertise to work, since their neutrality has been so rudely terminated?

  • Dalmaster

    Do residents of the middle-east really lose sleep over the domestic policies of a land thousands of miles away, that affects them in no way, shape or form? The kidnappers are using improvised warfare against a nation which their woes have nothing to do with.

    And as for the target of their warfare:

    Western Europe is not pre-1930′s USA: We don’t advertise (intentionally) ourselves as a golden land of oppertunity, open for all who want fresh pastures. If you come here, you are either working for us temporarily, or you have an interest in becoming part of our culture.

    Why is it that so many seem to emigrate, if they have no interest in integrating? It helps me understand why British ex-pats are so loathed. Only ex-pats have a use: they empty their vast wallets.

    I hope the French government does not waver, and if these headscarves really are a symbol of oppression as much as you claim, it will only be a matter of time before my native UK finds itself a good government who can follow in their foot steps.

    I also hope the militants see their goals are hopeless, and if anything hinder their efforts more than anything – then let them go.

  • Would be interesting to know what the response to all this has been from French Islamic groups/spokesmen.

  • Doug Collins

    Insofar as stopping the rape gangs is concerned, a series of stings seems easy enough to arrange, particularly since the bait – hajibless girls – need not even be muslims. In fact, if the civil authorities don’t do something like this, I would eventually expect some sort of vigilante effort, perhaps like the “Guardian Angels”.

    Even if the French do not have the appropriate baseball equipment handy.

    Perhaps stale, hardened loaves of french bread would work – not as well as a Louisville Slugger – but well enough.

  • This entire episode is distressing on two counts: 1. these animals have taken two journalists hostage and are threatening to kill them 2. I have to support the French on this one.

    I hope Chirac keeps his nerve (which I think is almost certain) and does not give into the cretins that hold France’s citizens to ransom. Give em’ hell Jacques!

  • Shawn

    Like other people who have posted here I agree that this is no time for France bashing. I have serious criticisms of French economic and foriegn policy, not to mention the rampant anti-Americanism, but they are still part of the West (not to mention the motherland of my ancestors), and in the current crisis they deserve nothing but our full sympathy and support.

    Moreover, as this Jerusalem Post article shows, both the US and Britain could learn some things about the French domestic response to Islamism.

  • Jean-Pierre

    Simply stupid….