For we are still steeped in a colonial way of thinking – the idea that we have the right and duty to deliver justice anywhere in the world. And the government is banking on this structural double standard, this outlook.
It has also relied on the fact that, since Vietnam, there are no longer pictures nor stories of the killings caused by our bombing. No individuals under the bombs. No evidence of murders. Not even statistics.
On the other hand, the consequences of the November 13 attacks « at home » were documented extensively – stories of survivors, emergency crews, firefighters and police officers were sought out, recorded, broadcast continuously on every TV channel, printed in every newspaper. Then, once all the news stories and eyewitness reports dried up, they published the pictures of the dead and their life stories. Two months later, commemorations began.
A whole country was occupied, fascinated and mesmerized by the narrative of this violence, to which heart-rending new details were relentlessly added. There was an overwhelming feeling that we owed something to the dead, those poor dead whose lives we could not save. Like those who witnessed their deaths and wondered aloud why they had been spared, we experienced survivors’ guilt. The spirit of revenge, which requires no invitation, arose. And despite warnings against equating the killers with all Moslems, the spirit of « If it is not you, then it must be your brother” resurfaced, exacerbating an already thriving post-colonial racism.
Opening Statement, January 15, 2016 at an anti-war meeting held in Paris.
Ouverture du meeting contre la guerre du 15 janvier 2016, à Paris.