The New Year in France started much like the old one ended – with an Islamic terrorist attack.
But there was one noticeable difference. In 2015, the Islamists at least had the courtesy to wait until January 7 before launching the year’s first homicidal assault, targeting the Charlie Hebdo offices. In 2016, however, the terrorists were so eager to bring their jihad to France’s streets they did not wait even a day.
On January 1, a Muslim, originally from Tunisia and possessing French citizenship, drove his car at “high speed” at four soldiers guarding a mosque in Valence. Fortunately, the vehicle missed the soldiers who “narrowly avoided” death at the hands of yet another would-be killer from the religion of peace. Ironically, the soldiers were protecting the mosque from Islamophobic acts.
Having failed to strike his targets in his first pass, the driver “put his car in reverse in order to renew the charge.” But the soldiers were quicker. After refusing to obey their order to get out of the car, they fired a volley of bullets, three of which struck their assailant’s arm and leg, severely wounding him and ending the attack. One soldier, struck in the knee by the car, was also hospitalised.
While jihad attacks in France in 2016 were as predictable as night following day, French officialdom’s reactions to the New Year’s Day assault revealed, however, how far removed from reality it truly is.
Like the Fort Hood attack, which was ultimately labelled ‘workplace violence’, the word Islam, for example was never mentioned in any official response. In fact, it was first announced that the assailant’s motives were “unknown.”
This is most peculiar, considering the attacker was yelling “allahu akbar” during his murderous charge, and “images of jihadist propaganda” were later found on his computer. He had also just attempted to kill four French soldiers, not once, but in two successive attempts. Right after his capture, the attacker also openly declared his desire to “knock down the soldiers, attack them, to possibly kill them as well.” He also hoped “to be killed by the military,” indicating martyrdom was also a motive.
The closest anyone came to mentioning Islam or jihad as a factor in the attack was when an official said “he (the assailant) uttered a certain number of words, showing there was a connection between his action and a certain religiosity.”
This contortion of language would make Houdini proud.
French writer Guy Milliere noted this disturbing phenomenon regarding word usage and Islam after the Paris terrorist attack last November, in which 130 people died.
“Almost no one mentions radical Islam,” he wrote. “Those who do, prefer the word ‘jihadism’, and rush to emphasize that ‘jihadism’ is ‘not related to Islam’.”
French politicians are also displaying no sense of shame that they have allowed the security situation to deteriorate so badly in France to the point where thousands of soldiers have had to be deployed to the streets since last February. Even more telling, the government was moved to declare a state of emergency after the November 13th attack.
Instead of shame, France’s leaders are taking pride in the strangest of things. This positive spin is probably done in order to distract people’s attention from successive governments’ ruinous policies that have led to the murderous Islamic threat the French people are now facing as well as to prevent growing hostility toward Muslims.
For example, in the Valence car attack, the defense minister of France’s ruling Socialist Party, Jean-Yves Le Drian praised the wounded soldier’s “mastery of fire control,” since his shooting deliberately low only wounded the attacker and didn’t kill him.
“This kind of experience one only has because one has been on operations,” he said.
No mention, of course, is made of the disgraceful fact that French soldiers themselves are now being targeted for attack inside their own country and have to discharge their weapons in self-defence. According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, there were “not less than 200” reported aggressive incidents against the military since February 2015, “ranging from threats of death and insults to attacks, of which seven were major ones.”
In another case of misplaced pride, France’s interior minister, Manuel Cazaneuve, announced the extra public security the soldiers provide reduced the number of car burnings in France last New Years’ Eve. Only 804 cars were torched.
While most would regard such a statistic as testimony to France’s societal decay and a serious security vacuum, Cazaneuve, like Le Drian, stressed the positive. New Year’s Eve car burnings, he stated, were down 14.5 percent in comparison to 2015 when 940 were incinerated.
“These results confirm the great efficacy of the work of the security forces,” he said in congratulating the troops.
Perhaps if only 128 people die in Islamic terrorist attacks this year in France, twenty less than the 148 murdered last year, then 2016 will also be something for Cazaneuve to boast about.
Avoidance of the truth also extended to the French justice system in the Valence attack. The anti-terrorist section of the prosecutor’s office in Paris said it would not take up the case since the offender was acting alone and “nothing indicates a network.” Other officials stated he was also previously unknown to police and had no prior criminal record.
“The terrorist trail is rejected at present,” said the Paris prosecutor.
One French commenter joked the assailant was perhaps not a radical Muslim after all but rather a radical “automobilist,” and this should be a case for the traffic police. Nevertheless, the assailant will not face a terrorism charge, but will be tried instead for attempted murder.
Milliere proffers perhaps an even more disturbing and frightening scenario for France for 2016 than the expected attacks. Milliere believes France’s ruling elites “are apparently hoping that people will get used to being attacked and learn to live with terrorism.”
“All the French political leaders know that the situation is out of control, but no one will say so publicly,” he stated.
The increasing number of Islamic terrorist attacks and thwarted plots since last November give credence to Milliere’s statement:
* Just before Christmas, a radical Islamic couple, suspected of terrorist activities, was arrested in Montpellier. The wife, a 23-year-old convert to Islam, had bought an artificial pregnancy tummy and wrapped it in aluminum to thwart metal detectors. Police believe she intended either to smuggle weapons or explosives in it, perhaps even use it to blow herself up in a crowd. If the latter, she would have shown how differently radical Islam defines the expression ‘baby boom’.
*Also right before Christmas, France’s intelligence agency arrested two terrorist suspects in Orleans. French citizens of Moroccan and Togolese origin, police believe they were planning attacks against police and military personnel.
* On the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack last week, a man shouting ‘allahu akbar’ and armed with a meat cleaver attacked security officials outside a police station. He was shot and killed. The assailant was a native of Tunisia.
*A 16-year-old high school student of Turkish origin attacked a kippa-wearing Jewish teacher with a machete in Marseilles on Monday. He claimed he acted in the name of Allah and the Islamic State. The anti-terrorism section of the Paris prosecutor’s office has opened a case against him.
All these incidents are part of the new, sad reality in France. And the government’s tepid response to the threat shows it cannot cope. Appeasement and sticking one’s head in the sand is never a good, long-term strategy. One wonders whether the government can, or even wants, to protect its citizens. Whatever the case, the state has failed in its duty toward its people’s safety.
And since it appears, as Milliere states, that “the situation is out of control,” the only solution now for French citizens is to take their security into their own hands. For the safety of their families as well as their own, they are faced with the stark choice of either getting armed or getting out.