Why I Refused To Greet President Macron At France's Commemorative Ceremony

Since the Charlie Hebdo attack, the number of acts of terrorism on our soil continues to multiply, but strangely, the voice of victims is becoming increasingly scarce.
11/14/2017 05:00 pm ET

My father was the first victim on the night of Nov. 13, 2015 at Stade de France.

Afterward, I repeatedly talked to the media, defending the rights of victims. I delivered a speech in front of my political class last year to try to raise awareness for more intelligence and tolerance. These are conditions that seem essential to me to succeed in warding off the threat of radicalization among younger people in particular.

Today, two years after that life-changing Nov. 13, I decided to refuse the invitation to Monday’s ceremony and therefore not greet Emmanuel Macron, the president of the Republic. Macron, since his election, has treated victims of terrorism as the most disfavored of our country in a way that is simply contemptuous and unacceptable.

Lack of solidarity toward victims of attacks

Since Charlie Hebdo, the number of acts of terrorism on our soil continues to multiply, but strangely, the voices of victims are becoming increasingly scarce. We have forgotten the number, the names, the places. The strategy of trivialization has begun.

President Macron has indeed striven, since his election, to overshadow the victims, first by eliminating the Secretary of State, who was dedicated to them. Then, recently, by reducing aid to certain categories of victims, thus relativizing the suffering and the multiple losses again.

The rhetoric of our president and his government toward victims has also changed. When he speaks about aid to victims, he talks as if it was about an act of charity, when it should be viewed, on the contrary, as an acceptance of responsibility from these same politicians. They have provoked wars in the service of lobbies (engineering, energy, guns), they have been unable to solve the chaos in the suburbs, and they are equally responsible for the lack of social cohesion.  

This trivialization of terrorism is not trivial; it shows an apparent lack of solutions and a will to minimize the legitimate indignation of victims ― those of yesterday and those of tomorrow. It’s a trivialization that we have to confront face to face to avoid any resilience.  

Anatole France once said that, during war, we think we die for the homeland, but we really die for the industrialists. One hundred years later, terrorism revisits this maxim, which could not be more pertinent and is also very much unacceptable.

Individual empowerment of the most disadvantaged

The beginning of Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term has also taken place under the stigmatization of France’s most vulnerable people.

This is displayed in the reduction of APLs (personalized housing benefits) and contempt toward workers who “create havoc,” people unable to buy themselves a suit, illiterates, alcoholics and tobacco smokers from northern France. All Macron’s media outings are an occasion for Emmanuel Macron to utter his class contempt and to stigmatize just a little bit more all those that ultra-liberal ideology, which he perfectly represents, has failed to spare injustices to ― injustices that were created by deregulated globalization.    

Since June, his political action reflects the five-year term that he is planning for us to endure. Unjust toward the most disadvantaged, reviewing social benefits anti-democratically, removing stopgaps from social injustice. We can also no longer be complacent toward the wealthiest. This adds to a lack of intellectual honesty, which consists of the delusion that deregulation of the right to work and presents from the tax man enable the return to growth and full employment (though all reliable economists show that these measures are above all synonyms of greater debts and job insecurity).       

In our country, we have gotten used to our accountability for the ignorance to which we confine ourselves. Here is a president who is now yoked to it in a completely uninhibited way, which I refuse to accept.   

“Voluntary servitude” toward people in power

At a time when socialism seems to have disappeared in our country, Emmanuel Macron wants to impose on us an ideological vision of a politician who can’t be helped, bound hand and foot to this so-called clairvoyant finance, which sets the rules.

Some kind of a La Boétie’s “misfortune,” the man who by (political) greed allows, spreads and sets up voluntary servitude of his people to the tyranny of globalization, market and amoral finance.

By manipulating all of a human being’s primary fears, with employment blackmail and insecurity, stirring up the baseness of each one of us (racism, separation, nihilistic entertainment), today we wish to relieve ourselves of our democratic rights and our sovereignty to decide our collective destiny.

The ideology of our government is that of an ultra-liberalism that commends more freedom for capitals, relocations and goods, as well as even more alienation and exploitation of workers. I invite you to oppose the person who justifies budget cuts in education, security and health on the pretext of an economic rationality.

Étienne de La Boétie, in his discourse on voluntary servitude, said to us: “Be determined to serve no longer, and you will find yourselves free.”   

This is why I will refrain from expressing any demonstration of servitude this Nov. 13 as a sign of protest for more collective freedom.

CONVERSATIONS