I’ve had enough of this woman’s frivolity. Everytime she writes a piece in The New York Times she irritates a lot of people, including me, because of her myopic unworldliness. She’s an ingénue. The only reason I’m writing this post is because comments to her March 25th piece (which I’ve just read) are closed. It’s entitled Je Suis Sick of This. I’m sorry, but that title is about as puerile and petulant as the titles of her books. She might be a seasoned book author with such highbrow titles as French Children Don’t Throw Food and Bébé Day by Day to her name, but I’m a seasoned Parisian with over 20 years of living in Paris under my belt. An ordinary resident, I also work in an ordinary office with ordinary people. I don’t have a cushy stay-at-home writing job with a New York Times expense account.
The following comment of hers, which provoked me to write this post, is erroneous and reveals her naïveté – “Salah Abdeslam, who helped orchestrate the attacks on Paris, managed to slip out of the country afterward. Four months later, he was found hiding in Molenbeek, the Brussels neighborhood where he grew up. That’s one of the hardest facts to reconcile: these are Europeans attacking their own homelands.”
Excuse me?? Europeans? Attacking their own homelands? Their homeland, Ms. Druckerman, or to use the word in a certain Arab dialect, their bled, is in North Africa. Not France. Not Belgium. But Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia, otherwise called the North African Maghreb. (the Arabic word, ‘maghreb’ means ‘where the sun sets’ because of its westerly direction.)
Was Ms. Druckerman trying to be politically correct when she wrote those words? Or is she so separated from real French society – ensconced in her ivory tower with the selected view – that, in truth, she doesn’t know much about it?
Let’s call a spade a spade. The terrorists in question are Muslim Arabs who speak Arabic. (WARNING – do not misconstrue this sentence to believe that all Muslim Arabs who speak Arabic are terrorists.) They were either born in Europe or came to Europe as children or, later on, as adults, but one thing is sure – their parents are from North Africa and strong connections remain not only to the region, but to the culture and religion. As is common with immigrants the world over, the parents bring their customs with them to their host country. Consequently, the children are socialized and receive a European education outside of the home, but inside the home they might as well be back in the bled.
Example – a few months ago, I asked a work colleague of mine the following question – “Do you feel French or Moroccan?” (a small group of us were having a discussion about identity.) Here’s what she replied – “Muslim.”
We all stared at her, somewhat taken aback. “But Muslim is a religion, not a nationality,” I replied. “You were born in France, you were schooled in France, you have a European passport.” In fact, she’s an immigrant success story. Her (illiterate) mother and father emigrated to France from Morocco in the 1960s or 70s and, thanks to French schools….and to her own diligence, of course, my colleague became a lawyer. She has lived in Paris her entire life.
But she doesn’t feel French. She doesn’t feel European. She feels Muslim. Now why would that be??
And that’s the question, in order to understand, I always ask myself – where do people’s loyalties lie? We see that Salah Abdeslam’s loyalty does not lie with Belgium or Europe!
Later on, I imagined someone asking me the same question. “Juliet, do you feel Canadian or French?” I cannot imagine in a million years replying “Christian.”
Here’s a very good reader’s comment to Druckerman’s piece – “Interesting the comment that these are Europeans….no, I don’t think so. Birth isn’t enough to make you a European. If you consistently and resolutely refuse to assimilate and remain committed to your anti-European beliefs, then you are not a European. You are someone who lives in Europe enjoying all the freedoms your own beliefs would never allow, but you harbor a hate that manifests itself in violence.”
The headline of Druckerman’s piece, Je suis sick of this (she’s referring to the recent terrorist attacks in Europe) seems puerile and self-indulgent in view of the gravity of the situation. She’s sick of this? How does she think, if she thinks at all, the victims feel???
For an edifying read, and some truly serious journalism, have a look at the article below taken from The Guardian newspaper. The author, Mark Townsend, provides unusual insight into the radicalisation of young men – From Brighton to the battlefield. It depicts a sad, sad life of violence.