French Jews are getting it from all sides. Muslim inspired anti-Jewish attacks are well documented, and now we are witness to the latest outrage – the vandalism and arson of a modest Jewish community center charged with the task of feeding the poor. The vandalism involved the daubing of swastikas and badly spelled hate messages (“Without the Jews, the world is happy”) on the walls of the center and suggested that neo-nazis were involved. However, Agence France Presse reported that some previously unknown group has made a claim on an Islamic Web site that it is behind the attack.
Either way, it’s not so good for les Juifs. Sure, President Chirac is outraged, and sure Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin contemplated the possibility of sending the arsonists to jail for life under tough new French anti-hate laws, but… well, what the hell happened to France?
I mean, the guys that drew a swastika and wrote “death to the Jews” in front of Notre Dame cathedral will in all likelihood never be caught. Notre Dame Cathedral! That’s like spray painting “F*ck Bush!” on the Lincoln Memorial – how does someone get away with that? How inept does law enforcement have to be to allow things like that to happen? No wonder haters are so emboldened!
The thing is that law enforcement in France is not so inept. I’ve seen French police and CRS in action – they can be fierce and efficient when they want to be. They can stop anyone on the street and ask for ID as there’s no such thing as legal niceties like probable cause in France. No ID? No problem – they haul you off to jail until your identity and legal status can be determined. Such efficiency has usually been reserved for unwanted illegal immigrants. But in the case of the perpetrators of anti-Jewish hate crimes (and to be fair, the perpetrators of anti-Muslim hate crimes as well) the will to see justice done is just not there. It’s just not a priority it seems.
Harsh anti-hate laws are great, but if they are never enforced, well, who cares? It just serves to emphasize the decline of France from its once lofty heights. Le Figaro recently invited several notables to discuss what it meant to be French in 2004 – and many got it right on the nose:
‘How is it that such a brilliant nation has become such a mediocre power, so out of breath, so indebted, so closed in its own prejudices. … To be French today is to mourn for what we no longer are.’ “
I so used to so love France. Adored Paris. Looks like the nation that brought us the emancipation and more artistic, literary and philosophical movements than even I can mention has been replaced by a narrow minded, xenophobic, hateful, ineffective, dysfunctional and, dare I say it, “shitty” little country. How sad for everyone involved.