Immigration And Terror In France: Reflections Of A Frenchman

 

Camille Wead

Camille Wead, editor of Law & History

Exactly two months from today a man ran over eleven pedestrians with his car yelling “Allahu Akbar!” in Paris France. Last month twenty men were killed in Paris by the mass shooting at Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters. Less than three weeks ago, a brutal stabbing injured three men guarding a Jewish center in Nice. While these acts of terror shock the world, they are not the first glimpses of terrorism in France and certainly will not be the last. Known to be the worst terrorist attack in modern French history was the 1961 train-bombing that killed twenty-eight, and injured more than a hundred. The 1995 train bombings in Paris, included eight bomb attacks in all, and was known to have injured more than 140 people. Looking at the records from 2000 to 2015, one will find numerous bombings, shootings, and stabbings, but these actions are nothing new. Acts of terror in France can be traced back to the 1960’s.

With all these events occurring, one might question what do the citizens of France think? Why are such events happening? And finally, what is the French government doing to stop these acts of terror on innocent people? Throughout this feature story you will hear the viewpoint of an army veteran, and French citizen. This topic is extremely controversial in French politics and may be found offensive. Due to the protection of my interviewee, we will call him André.

awwwAndré served as a driver to a Colonel in the French military for the Algerian Civil War. Recently a French colony, and known to be a Muslim country, Algeria was fighting to obtain their independence from the French in 1954. André remembers, “We were sent to defend the wealth of the rich French farmers in Algeria.” He would drive the Colonel down the same road five to six times a day, but on one specific occasion the breaks on the car broke. The car flipped, throwing André out of the car, and sending him straight to the hospital. His femur was broken and sticking out for all to see. He was at that hospital for a month in Algeria, then switched to a local hospital in France near his hometown.

awAfter the injury he went back to school to become a mechanic. Soon the army called for him to be sent back to Algeria for fifteen more months. André recalls, “I should’ve been sent back to the front lines, but I used my education as an excuse.” In France at that time if you were getting an education, the military would take you off the list. So once the French army knew André was getting an education and studying for his exams coming up, they let him be.

André remembers his time in Algeria well. “I remember how fascinated the children were with us French soldiers. I remember noticing a lot of lazy Algerian men. They made their wives work really hard as the men did nothing. Most importantly I remember how pointless the war was. The only thing my friends and me knew about the war was that we were defending the rich. It seemed like a pointless reason for men to die. The French army had over 100,000 deaths, as well as over a million dead Algerians on the opposing side.” After the war a large portion of French settlers, and pro-French Algerians moved to France. So much that Algeria was left with a huge lack of laborers. It was through this war that Algeria did in fact become an independent nation, and it is through these events in history that the terrorism attacks in France today unfold.

The immigration laws in France were very loose, and as the French government tried to tighten them during the 1990’s through the “Pasqua Laws” there was a growing amount of protest from their now many immigrants. In 2005 surveys reported that Algeria was considered the number one country sending immigrants to France. This made France the European nation with the highest number of Muslims. In 2030 it is said that the percent of Muslims living in France will grow more and more due to demographic reasons, and lower birth rates of non-Muslim Europeans. André comments, “It’s our government’s own fault that these acts of terror occur in France. We have always known, since immigration was opened to pro-Muslim countries, that the government should have never let those people in. We have seen that aggressive Muslims are born fighters. It comes as no surprise when we see Islamic terrorism and extremists. It is in their blood to fight. It is justified by their Koran, more than that, these acts of terror are instructed by their religion.”

Many French citizens are convinced that huge acts of terrorism, such as that of Charlie Hebdo, are a result of the immigration laws being open to such violent people entering the country of France. They know it is not the beginning of such acts of terror, and they also know it is certainly not the end. André ended the interview talking about what his government can do regarding terrorism in France, “I don’t know if there is anything the government can do about it. First they have to make the immigrants in France understand that terrorist attacks are wrong. Then they have to teach all the people of France that our country is founded on freedom, and respect towards one another. These acts of terror are horrible representations of my country.”

Officials join hundreds of thousands of people on a Je Suis Charlie march in Nice, FranceTerrorEiffelTower

 

 

Protecting Americans and the Loss of Civil Liberties

Camille Wead

Camille Wead, editor of Law & History

What if I told you that in this day and age you have less rights as an American citizen than some of our country’s founding fathers, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson? What is so sad about this question is the truth behind it. The government has been keeping record of your emails, as well as listening in on your personal phone calls. But with this invasion of privacy now public and discussed all over the Internet and news media one might ask, “Who cares?”

Remember the freedom discussed in last week’s blog post? Are we a communist or socialist country that could care less about the privacy of our own citizens or the privacy of our own selves? Does it matter more that your rights are violated so that the country can be safe? Are you a terrorist? Are you meaning harm on thousands of innocent Americans? Or better yet is your six-grade daughter going to be the next suicide bomber? Should your second grader’s iPad be looked into? Is their any hint of terrorism in your fourteen year old’s artistic brain? This week’s blog post discusses the education all Americans need as far as our rights and civil liberties go. For this feature story I interviewed Presidential Historian and political consultant Doug Wead, bringing us amazing insight into the topic of civil liberty loss.

atpc070rop069book8

French 17th century leader, Cardinal Richelieu once said, “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.” Richelieu was making the point that if the government wants to target someone they can always find a legal reason to justify themselves. Wead says, “Only a few years ago a president had to have permission from a judge to listen in on your telephone conversations. Now, without a judge’s signature, and with permission from his own appointed judiciary review staff, he can kill you.”

Yes, the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights are being violated. According to history Wead comments, “The U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Bill of Rights are documents that emerged after hundreds and thousand of years. Many people suffered at the hands of government so our founding fathers wanted a government that served the people and didn’t abuse them.”

Where is America’s freedom now? To answer this question we have to take a look back at the information Wead gave us about the year 2013.

In March of 2013, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was asked, under oath, in a Congressional Hearing, whether the government was collecting data on Americans. Clapper answered “No Sir”. Only months later the story became public that the National Security Agency was collecting and storing massive amounts of private information on the American people.

Wead says, “It was soon learned that the U.S. government was listening in on the personal phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.” The revelation prompted members of the U.S. Senate to wonder if they, themselves, were targets of government snooping. Called before the U.S. Senate, CIA director, John Brennan was asked if the CIA was spying on senators. He flatly denied it. Wead answers, “This too was later shown to be false. A CIA inspector general’s report contradicted Brennan’s statements.”

dwcw1Most Americans are okay with the government reading their emails and listening in on their phone calls. They say, “I don’t have anything to hide”. Wead says, “This misses the point. Did Thomas Jefferson have something to hide? Did George Washington and John Adams have something to hide? Was the Bill of Rights and the Constitution written to protect a criminal class?”

Benjamin Franklin’s sage advice is even more relevant today than when he first said it, “If you give up your freedom for safety you don’t deserve either one.” Yes the threat of terrorism is great, but no greater than the threat of Great Britain, the world’s biggest super power, that threatened to destroy America at its birth.