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Education: Rotterdam Conservatory, Cambridge University // Activities: composition, writing

Saturday 5 December 2015

French culture wars

The incredible, bottomless stupidity of the french extreme right-wing party, the Front National, is happily helping foreign terrorists to recrute more local brothers-in-arms. Instead of fighting against radicalization within the French muslem community by helping immigrants to integrate and becoming truly European, also in terms of employment and housing and - especially - education, the party mobilizes anti-muslem fears into a French patriotism which excludes muslems, focussing upon islam as the threatening non-French factor which tries to turn the country into an islamic state, ruled by sharia. The FN is waging a culture war, showing ignorance about what it claims to defend: French national culture.

Current successes of the party in the south of France do not bode well for the country as a whole, which once was an enlightened example of Europeness. There is much resistance against the FN, as recent rallies in Paris and elsewhere demonstrated, but there also is a worrying rise of sympathy for the FN's political agenda. In this way, groups and communities are set-up against each other, as if following a clearly-instructed trajectory. The origin of this trajectory can be seen in the terrorist attacks themselves.

The FN's cultural patriottism is, in fact, violating France's real cultural nature which is based upon the idea that a culture can be chosen, independently from an individual's origin, which has been proven in the past with the export and acceptance of french culture all over Europe, in times when France was looked upon as the most sophisticated, most culturally-developed nation of the world, producing high quality in all fields of civilizational endeavor, even including cooking. Turning immigrants into french citizens and their religion into french versions where necessary, seems to have been too difficult for the french authorities over the last decennia, quite understandably so because of the fundamental rights on freedom of expression and religion. But this freedom does not work-out so well if it leads to social separation and discrimination. A thorough Europeanization process for the french locals is a precondition for the Europeanization of immigrants..... and one can only hope that in France, their own culture as developed and polished in the past, will experience a rejuvenation, to help to protect the french against more senseless violence.

What happened in the recent dramatic Paris attacks is a lesson in culture for the entire West.