The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Judge Bans Front National Poster

Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National is running in what are in all likelihood his last elections: to be had of my home region, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA), an FN stronghold.

As part of the campaign, the FN's youth wing began plastering the above poster in PACA and then all around. The League Against Racism and Antisemitism (LICRA) called for its banning and, two days ago, a judge ordered the FN to remove these posters or suffer a 500 euro fine for each day in delay (see article in Le Figaro).

The judge ordered this because:
"[T]his poster is not only by nature meant to provoke a feeling of rejection and animosity towards a group of people whose religious practices, women and nationality is aimed but, in addition, is aimed essentially at youth which is by nature more easily influenced."

The poster took example from a similar one from Switzerland. The symbolism includes France speared by minarets, a brown woman wearing a burqa, the Algerian flag covering France and the injuction "No to Islamism!". It appeals to three strains of French racism and Islamophobia, notably:
1) Algerian War Revanchism: The Algerian flag is also that of the Front de Libération National, the revolutionary organization that evicted France from Algeria. Le Pen is a veteran of the Algerian War and many of the FN's supporters are composed former French settlers in Algeria and partisans of French Algeria. This part of the base is driven by the same bitterness and stab-in-the-back theories that flourished in Germany after the First World War and the U.S. after the Vietnam War. In 1997, an FN regional councilor for PACA said "The Algerian War will be over when we have power."

2) Traditional Anti-Arab/Muslim Sentiment: The Algerian flag onto France also refers to the mass immigration from North Africa that began after the Second World War. It refers to q traditional hostility to non-Whites and non-Christians, similar sentiment appearing in most Western European countries around this time, and to a more explicit fear of an islamized Algerian France where the infertile White natives have been replaced by proliferating Arabs. This apocalyptic vision is one shared and also promoted by significant parts of the American neoconservative intelligentsia through the World War IV and Eurabia cottage industries.

3) New "War on Terror" Islamophobia: The explicit call of the poster is against Islamism. Here, it taps into relatively newer images of Muslims as religious fundamentalists and terrorists. The key events are the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Algerian Civil War between the military and the Islamist "Islamic Salvation Front" after the latter won elections in 1992, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks and following propagation of the ideology of the War on Terror. We have the image of France being Islamized, with terrorism and Sharia law being imposed. There are about 6 million Muslims in France. An internal government report estimated the number of women wearing burqas at 2,000. There is little history of Islamist terrorism in France, with the major exception of several bomb attacks in Paris in 1995 (related to then Algerian Civil War).