France

by Suresh Hanubal, Editor-in-Chief

France, a country of 60 million in Western Europe, is an enchanting place. Romance, Lust, Love, and presumably other things abound from Toulouse to Lyon and beyond. France, the home of baguettes, croissants, and Emmanuel Macron, has been in the news a lot recently. This is of course due in part to its irresistible allure, but mostly due to the murder of Samuel Paty and subsequent events. 

Paty, a middle school teacher in a Paris Banlieue, apparently showed students in a class on freedom of expression that he taught pictures of the Prophet Muhammad, something that is seen as offensive by many Muslims. The murder of Paty as a result of this caused an uproar across France, which is of course a proudly secular country that practices the principle of Laicite, or a full separation of church and state. In response to this terrible tragedy and a larger perceived trend of radicalization of the country’s Muslim population, the French government decided to take a hardline response. 

Specifically, they called for the deportation of suspected terrorists or hardliners with dual citizenship, and the closure of mosques and Islamic Organizations seen as promoting Islamic radicalism. Macron, who is seeking re-election to the presidency in 2022, and will most likely be facing Far-Right candidate Marine Le Pen in that election, most likely deployed this sort of hardline rhetoric and introduced these measures as a means of staunching the flow of voters to Le Pen.  These measures, and the broader trend of perceived intolerance towards the countries Muslim population that they seemed to represent, drew ire from a number of Muslim majority countries. Many of them, including Turkey, Kuwait, and Malaysia, called for a boycott of French goods and other punitive measures. 

Additionally, after this terrorist attack and a number like it in the previous several years, the French government, led by the conservative Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, have been pushing for a new security law that would make it illegal for citizens to film police. In a country as protest happy as France, this also has obviously led to a number of increasingly violent demonstrations against the measure. This law was additionally also introduced after the French police violently assaulted a Black Music Producer.

Anyways, the future of France is at this moment in time not looking particularly bright due to the reasons aforementioned, as well as its long-stagnant economy, seething gender and racial inequities, and a host of other factors. However, what would I know? I am just an incredibly biased American college student judging a country I know almost nothing about! The End.

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