Judith Butler in Paris, or the Bataclan dead-end

Candles – Paris 2015 – © M.Docher

Judith Butler is a philosopher and a professor at Berkeley University, California. On the 16th of November, the website of the publishers Verso Books published a “letter from Paris” signed by her and dated 14th November 2015[i]. Three days later, a slightly imprecise translation was published by the French daily newspaper Libération. The text has been much relayed by English-speaking Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. We read it and took the time to analyse it. Judith Butler is not just any philosopher: among other things, she published Gender Trouble in 1990, an undeniably important book. This “letter from Paris” concentrates key elements of a rhetoric which has shaken us since January 2015, with dangerous amalgams and counter-truths. We deemed it necessary to underline them.

« The questions debated on television include […] how to fight “Islam” – an amorphous entity. […] Those commentators that seek to distinguish among sorts of Muslim communities and political views are considered to be guilty of pursuing “nuances.” Apparently, the enemy has to be comprehensive and singular to be vanquished, and the difference between Muslim and jihadist and ISIL becomes more difficult to discern in public discourse. The pundits were sure who the enemy was before ISIL took responsibility for the attacks. »

Judith Butler wrote this text on November 14th, and pretends she watched French public television[ii]. Like many others, we closely watched the news, analyses and debates on France 2 on November 14th. At no moment (neither on that day nor on any other) did we hear such discourse. Nobody, to our knowledge, talked about “fighting Islam”. Judith Butler should tell us on what channel, when and by whom such words were uttered – which we allow ourselves to doubt, as we did not see any trace of them. If they indeed were uttered, such a statement would remain extremely marginal, and it would be deeply misleading to allow anyone to believe that it would reflect what was discussed “on French TV”. No need to add that such a lie spread abroad is likely to have serious consequences.
Far from hearing anyone blaming commentators trying to make distinctions for “pursuing nuances” – again, who did so, when, and where? –, we on the contrary noticed a constant care to distinguish Muslims in general not only from jihadists and the self-proclaimed Islamic State, but also from islamist and salafist tendencies. Suggesting to the English-speaking international community that “the difference between Muslim and jihadist and ISIL becomes more difficult to discern in public discourse” is very serious. And it is just false, scandalously so.
The experts were indeed sure that it was an attack of jihadists having made allegiance to the IS, because they know these networks very well and had been warning about the imminence of their acting out for a long time. Why make such a remark on experts? Is Judith Butler insinuating, like Hani Ramadan[iii], that the authors of the attack may not be the ones that have been alleged, or that they have nothing to do with the IS? This would require serious argumentation if it were the case.

« The choice of the rock concert as a target – a sight for assasinations, actually – was explained: it hosted “idolatry” and “a festival of perversion.” I wonder how they come upon the term “perversion.” Sounds like they were reading outside of their field »

By her “actually” and this last remark, Judith Butler seems to imply that the statement attributed to the IS and claiming responsibility for the attacks is in fact a fake. Is it necessary to stress again that this would require being seriously argumented? And if this passage isn’t such an insinuation, what is it?
By questioning in such terms the readings and vocabulary of the members of ISIS, Judith Butler shows that she seems to be unaware of the fact that many Westerners have joined ISIS. She also evidences not only an orientalist and slightly contemptuous vision of ISIS supporters, but also crass ignorance of the ideology of radical Islam. How can she not know that the word “pervert” occurs dozens of times in the Quran, and particularly to qualify unbelievers , for example in a passage which can seem to call the believers to chastise them? [iv] Judith Butler probably never took the time to read the Quran, which is a pity, for it would enable her to understand why the Salafists, the adepts of Wahhabi Islam and other fundamentalists supporting a literal reading of the Quran (that is to say a tiny minority of Muslims, but unfortunately a very active one) advocate by construct for the rejection, as “idolatry” or “perversion”, of fundamental values of our societies, such as abiding by democratically adopted laws or the principle of equal rights between men and women – just as a literal reading of the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity would imply. [v]

« In the  rock concert hall, there was apparently a diatribe by one of the attackers committing the 89 brutal assasinations, blaming France for failing to intervene in Syria (against Assad’s regime), and blaming the west for its intervention in Iraq (against the Baathist regime). So, not a position, if we can call it that, against western intervention per se. »

This passage reinforces our feeling that according to the author, the statement made by the IS might be a fake. We seem to be given to understand that the terrorists may not have acted on behalf of the IS, and anyway not in response to the support given by the French army to the international coalition against ISIS, nor more broadly to the struggle led here or there against armed radical Islamism. Whatever the case, the killers are therefore (“so”) supposed to have acted (righteously so?) against France in reaction to its non-intervention against Assad’s regime and to western intervention against Saddam Hussein’s one.
Should we remind her that France, on the contrary, opposed (and did not participate in) the Western coalition led by the USA against Saddam Hussein’s regime? Should we remind her that France tried to mobilise the international community into intervening against Bachar Al Assad and was about to do so during the summer of 2013, but that the project failed, notably because of US opposition?
The effect of this misleading presentation of history is to consolidate the amalgam built by those who try to enrol as many people as they can in a war against “the West”, understood as a uniform entity mainly characterised by its indifference to the slaughter of people as long as they’re Muslims. As the French former anti-terrorist judge Marc Trevidic summed it up in September 2015, talking about the attacks which wouldn’t fail to take place in France: “Jihadists present themselves as the only true defenders of an Islam oppressed by the West. That is what I heard all the time during interrogations. They mention the Iraq wars, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and select their arguments to legitimate their actions.”
Moreover, if Judith Butler is indignant about Western inaction in the face of the slaughter of Syrian people by Bachar Al Assad, why did she not protest against the absence of intervention of her country in 2013? (unless we’re mistaken, she did not). Why doesn’t she protest against the support of Bachar Al Assad’s regime imposed to the rest of the world by the USA, Russia and Iran – a support also shared by the Hezbollah? It may be time for her to take some clear distancing from the latter, which in another stunning inversion she qualified, as well as the Hamas, as a “progressive” movement that is “on the Left”. [vi]

« It seems clear from the immediate discussions after the events on public television that the “state of emergency”, however temporary, does set a tone for an enhanced security state.  The questions debated on television include the militarization of the police (how to “complete” the process) […] And yet, buffoon that he is, [Hollande] is acting as the head of the army now.   The state/army distinction dissolves in the light of the state of emergency. People want to see the police, and want a militarized police to protect them. A dangerous, if understandable, desire. […] Are we grieving or are we submitting to increasingly militarized state power and suspended democracy? How does the latter work more easily when it is sold as the former?  […] Also, the state explains it must now restrict liberties in order to defend liberty – that seems to be a paradox that does not bother the pundits on television […] The state […] prepares for an even more thorough militarization of the police. […] It seems that fear and rage may well turn into a fierce embrace of a police state. »

If we understand clearly, Judith Butler claims that the attacks are about to accelerate an already well advanced process of militarisation of the police and the state, with scared and infuriated French people about to adhere to this, with the active complicity of the media. What can be said? It just seems to us that Judith Butler is talking about another country. If it is really necessary to alert international opinion, and incidentally the French, about the state of affairs, in that case it would require much more care and other means than such sweeping statements.

« The beneficient aspects of the special powers accorded the sovereign under the state of emergency included giving everyone free taxi rides home last night, and opening the hospitals to everyone affected, also draws them in. »

On the evening of the attacks, some taxis have taken the initiative to drive home for free some people who had been in Saint Denis or in the Parisian districts concerned. This has absolutely nothing to do with any state decision, and still less with the state of emergency. Besides, Judith Butler seems not to know that in France, public hospitals are open to everyone, taking care of any injured person (including foreign ones), without their having to offer first any guarantee of payment – as is the case in the US. There again, no relationship whatsoever with the state of emergency, nor even with an exceptional situation.
Judith Butler does not only evidence ignorance here, for she also claims that these so-called benevolent aspects of the state of emergency make it desirable for people. Beyond the distortion of facts, the reasoning is very poor. Insinuating that people are stupid and venal enough to adhere to any security measure just to benefit from free services is deeply contemptuous.

« There is no curfew, but public services are curtailed, and no demonstrations are allowed. Even the “rassemblements” (gatherings) to grieve the dead were technically illegal.[…] The state defends the version of liberty attacked as the very heart of France, and yet suspends freedom of assembly (“the right to demonstrate”) in the midst of its mourning »

To begin with, public services are reduced to a minimum at the week-end in France: what she describes is simply the ordinary. Besides, public cultural resorts – not public services – were closed in Ile de France (Paris region) for two and a half days (reopening was announced by the ministry of culture on 16th November). What was shocking about temporarily and locally closing down a few places concentrating thousands of people when some of the perpetrators were still at large?
Then, demonstrations on the public thoroughfare were forbidden by prefectoral regulation in Paris and 3 surrounding departments between Saturday 14th  and Thursday 19th. Again, was it shocking to take such local and temporary measures in that context? Several gatherings took place in Paris without being repressed, as well as others in France.
The state did not suppress the right to demonstrate, nor freedom of assembly. The state of emergency simply gives authorities the possibility, on a case-by-case basis, to forbid demonstrations presenting a threat for public order, and that’s what was done and still continues to be done here and there – still with a risk of arbitrariness, but which would entail such a high political cost for our government that they are not likely to embark on abusing it.

« There is also a politics of names: ISIS, ISIL, Daesh. France will not say “etat islamique” since that would be to recognize the state. They also want to keep  “Daesh” as a term, so it is an Arabic word that does not enter into French. »

First of all, Laurent Fabius expressed the wish in September 2014 to have the IS called Daech, but not for the reasons stated here. Here is what he explained to the National Assembly on this issue: “This terrorist group is not a state. It wishes it were a state, but it is not, and calling it a State would be giving them a gift. In the same way, I recommend not using the phrase “Islamic State”, because it creates a confusion between Islam, Islamism and Muslims.”[vii] In relation to what was said above, our readers will appreciate the manipulation operated by Judith Butler.
Then, despite the recommendations of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the expression Islamic State and the acronym EI have been widely used in the press and by several politicians. What is “France” for Judith Butler? Does she read the French press, and does she really watch French TV?
Then, Daesh is the transliteration of “داعش”, the acronym of the self-designation of the group in Arabic, and it was used for the first time by a Syrian opponent on a Saudi TV set[viii]. We therefore don’t see how using this Arabic term would less make an Arabic word enter the French language than using ISIL as Judith Butler does – and if she spoke Arabic, she would realise that Hollande even tries to pronounce it correctly , which leads him to rather say “Daach”. Besides, suggesting that France is somehow arabic-phobic from a linguistic point of view is utterly senseless (what ignorance again, to such an extent that we wonder if it is feigned), and this is once again insulting and potentially with serious consequences.

« The presidential candidates have chimed in: Sarkozy is now proposing detention camps,  explaining that it is necessary to be arresting those who are suspected of having ties to jihadists. And Le Pen is arguing for “expulsion”, having only recently called new migrants “bacteria.” That one of the killers of Syrian origin clearly entered France through Greece may well become a reason for France to consolidate its nationalist war against migrants. »

They are not “the presidential candidates” for two reasons: first, there will be other candidates, from the left and the right; and the second reason is that the proposal attributed to Sarkozy was in fact made by Laurent Wauquiez. The latter suggested on the morning of November 14th that “all people registered in the police database should be put in detention centres”, and Sarkozy did not take up this ridiculous proposal[ix]. It was swiftly discarded, as the state of the democracy and the vigilance of citizens have not reached such a state of decay that we could do in France the equivalent of what the USA did in Guantanamo.
Apparently, it should be reminded that such a measure would not only be entirely illegal in normal times, but is also explicitly excluded by the state of emergency law: home custody may be enforced for people “whose activity proves dangerous for public security and order”, but “may not entail the creation of camps in which the targeted people would be detained”. The fact that the periodical Vacarme published an article using the same amalgams and misinformation (going even further) is probably not just an accident.
As to Marine Le Pen, she has been asking since August 2015 for “foreigners known for their links with radical Islamism” to be not only registered, but also evicted. So she has not waited for the 13th November attacks to express this request, nor has she expanded it on the occasion as far as we know. Besides, she has not recently treated new migrants of “bacteria”. What she said is perfectly unfounded and rhetorically abject, but rather different: she called “bacterial immigration” the so-called health hazard induced by the presence of non-European infectious diseases related to migratory flows.
The xenophobic ideology of Marine Le Pen is well known, and it is clear that Nicolas Sarkozy competes with her on the same topics: there is no need to distort their sayings. Most importantly, it is dishonest to allow people to believe that the discourse of these two characters is representative of the general or main state of public opinion or political representatives in France.

« That one of the killers of Syrian origin clearly entered France through Greece may well become a reason for France to consolidate its nationalist war against migrants. »

A Syrian passport was indeed found on the premises immediately after the explosions in Saint Denis, as if it had been left on purpose. The issue of its validity and the possibility of a manipulation aiming at arousing anti-migrant feeling was immediately raised in the media. It is surprising that Judith Butler should have been so definite as to the fact that one of the killers was of “Syrian origin”, for up to this day, the real identity of the bearer of the passport (apparently a fake) remains to be determined. Where did she ascertain such information? If she based it only on vague rumours, which is the most likely hypothesis in our opinion, it seems to us significant that she did not hesitate to turn such a rumour into an established fact.
The fact that at least two of the killers involved in the attacks of November 13th came (back) from Syria has so far only led to a single decision from France : re-establishing control at its borders – or rather the announcement of such control, as we can doubt that France has the ability to really do so. Is it madness to try to prevent people known to have left with the intention of “doing jihad” in Syria and planning attacks in Europe from coming back unchecked and without supervision? Judith Butler may not have any idea of the huge gap existing between border control in the US and in the member states of the European Union.
Besides, when the American Congress voted for a tightening of the conditions of reception of Iraqi and Syrian refugees on the 19th November, in the wake of the Paris attacks, François Hollande has for his own part made it clear on the 16th of November, before the French Congress, that the attacks did in no way call into question France’s pledge to receive 30 000 refugees (a pledge made in September). On the contrary, he reminded the congress that a large number of these refugees from Syria and Iraq are fleeing IS-controlled territories and are “the victims of the same terrorism”. Such a statement contrasts sharply not only with the American decision, but also with Donald Trump’s statements. This candidate in the Republican primary promised in September to send home all the refugees coming from this war zone if he were elected [x]– even Marine Le Pen did not dare go as far in xenophobic expression.
Let us remind the reader at last that France tried with Germany to impose to all EU countries to receive a quota of migrants. We do not consider the French policy towards migrants as satisfactory, far from it. But that’s a far cry from saying that France wages “a nationalist war on migrants”. What should we say about the USA or Hungary – which refused the quotas on the grounds that a flow of “mostly Muslim immigrants” would constitute a threat to the Christian identity of Europe? To put it in a nutshell, it seems that Judith Butler once again enjoys scaring herself by distorting the meaning of words and abusively projecting onto France a reality that is more an American one.

« Mourning seems fully restricted within the national frame. The nearly 50 dead in Beirut from the day before are barely mentioned, and neither are the 111 in Palestine killed in the last weeks alone, or the scores in Ankara. »

The dead of the Beyrouth attacks, just as those from Ankara, have made the headlines of the French media. They regularly inform the public on the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and publicize the fact that the Israeli army kills Palestinian civilians. What reproach is Judith Butler making here, and to whom – Francois Hollande, the French, their media? Is it for not proclaiming “national mourning” for the dead she mentions? Is it for nearly exclusively talking about the dead of a particularly murderous attack on the day following this attack? As in other parts of her text, Judith Butler proceeds here with unpleasant innuendos lacking rigour. Because, what do the killed in Palestine have to do here? What do the victims mentioned here have in common except for the fact that they are all assumed to be Muslims or of a Muslim culture? Why not mention the Yezidis killed in hundreds by the IS or the victims of Boko Haram? After stating wrongly that anti-Islam opinion was widely broadcast by French TV, does she insinuate that the French are insensitive to the death of that particular category of people? Whatever the case, this inequality of treatment of the victims is far from being a specificity of France, and plenty of reasons exist besides indifference or anti-Muslim racism.

« Most people I know describe themseves as “at an impasse”, not able to think the situation through. […] It seems that fear and rage may well turn into a fierce embrace of a police state. I suppose this is why I prefer those who find themselves at an impasse. »

Although Judith Butler seems for the moment not to be able to conceive that there are alternatives between being “at an impasse” and throwing oneself into a police state, we see good news in this passage. Yes, it is good news because it seems to us that we know her friends well. We know them well because we used to share the same struggles with them. They even were our friends too – they or fellow counterparts. Then these friendships were undone and even broke up before the November attacks, according to a mechanical, violent logic. Why?
For a simple reason: for years, they have constructed a binary system of thought with a much too simplistic software to decode the world. And if such friendships have been undone, it was because we neither could nor wanted to follow them into the dead-end towards which they were rushing. Thinking the world in two opposed groups is not only a dead-end, but it fuels division and hatred. These sides, these groups, are amalgams of very different people that they regroup by key words. The one to which they do not belong but choose for different reasons is the side of dominated or racialized people, of anti-imperialism or anti-colonialism, of Muslims, victims by definition, and by construct to be defended whatever if you are on the left, and the other side is the side of dominants, racism, islamophobia, imperialism and neo-colonialism, Christians or Catholics, white, Jewish and philosemitic people, laicity zealots and Charlie supporters. And the border separating these two sides is as impassable as odious: it is inscribed in skin colour.
Reality resists such bi-categorisation, fortunately. But from their comfortable living-rooms, they throw anathems at whomever is not strictly positioned on their line, and one often realises, scaringly, that they know nothing about what they are discussing (especially Islam and its various trends, the multiple cultures of people coming from immigration, the countries and neighbourhoods transformed by the development of Salafism) and their ignorance is consternating for people who sometimes are researchers, writers or professors in universities. It appears then, at the mention of an insult ending with “-phobic” which they champion or through a post on the social networks, that the people they defend with such energy are but an object they don’t know but which they use as a posture. So when this object comes to kill people blindly in their neighbourhood, when they understand that they also are targeted, of course they are unable to decode this. So their feeling at an impasse is really good news.
In the same week Judith Butler wonders “who becomes an acceptable right” when Le Pen becomes “center”, Larbi El Roumi states that when “the left of the Socialist Party and the Greens, by voting the state of exception, its prolongation and future reinforcement, have manifested the relationship […] between themselves and the right”; and Pierre Tevanian calls Abdennour Bidar a“merchant of fascism with a spiritual face” (what words shall we use to describe Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi?) If the extreme right has become the center, if the left of the left is on the right and if Abdennour Bidar is a fascist, who is on the left? They are, of course, as well as Hamas and the Hezbollah according to Butler, but who else? The PIR of Houria Bouteldja? Tariq Ramadan? And did Butler wonder what what she would become, as an American lesbian Jewish woman, author of Gender Trouble, or simply as a critical philosopher if such a left came to power?
A gathering of neighbours on Saturday morning in the area of Reunion –Saint Blaise in the 20th district was enlightening in that respect. Once we managed to break free from the two people who were giving out such speech that we know only too well, continuously waving petitions and anathemas, we managed to speak around a tea with a bunch of people among whom was a neighbour of ours, Fatiha, a forty-year-old French veiled Muslim woman. After some time she confided: “these people who spend their time talking about Arabs and Black people (nodding at one of the organisers), I am cautious, very cautious about them. They are schizophrenic. Plus, they put us in the same category as the terrorists”. And we shared a long glance, which once again exploded their categories. One could believe that this group of friends, finally quite few and unknown by the general public has no influence. It is unfortunately false. As early as Tuesday, the radio France Inter was evoking the text of Judith Butler published the previous day during an interview of Virginie Despentes, and then Liberation and L’Obs/Rue89 among others took it upon themselves to relay it. The activism developed since January 2015 on the social networks by some who do not hesitate to falsify documents, to distort words, thus following the methods of the extreme right wing, and cautioning by their academic status suspicions of conspiracy, has had several consequences.
It has fed and justified even more exacerbated resentment in fellow citizens who have been “racialized”, and the effect of this can be felt not only on the social networks, but also in the streets since January, in the neighbourhood in which we live and elsewhere. Such activism has also gagged the expression of all those who have said for years that radical Islamism is a growing time bomb. Mothers from the suburbs haven’t been heard, Maghrebin people living in France or elsewhere, intellectuals, artists, students, activists sounding the alarm bell have been called traitors or stooges, and others, like us, have been called racist or islamophobic so that some progressively moved to the right wing of the political spectrum in order to be heard at last.
We remain on the left even if we lose friends, even if it is very uncomfortable. We will not negotiate our values on the altar of their blindness and passive collaboration to a political project repulsive to us. Their posture has become an intellectual imposture perfectly in keeping with a propaganda that we denounce and the strategy of which is to “widenen the gaps in western societies between populations of Muslim origin and the others , accused of islamophobia, to ultimately create situations of civil war according to the logic “provocation-repression-solidarity”[xi].
Where is Judith Butler today? Where are her friends? In what wonderful country have they decided to live? We hope they read the press and that they realise that one week after the Paris slaughters, the citizens of this country have gone down the streets, in Paris and the rest of France, that they march, from Bastille to République to welcome the migrants, to contest the state of emergency, to demonstrate during the debates of the COP 21. We hope they know that we gather in very socially mixed neighbourhoods to be together, that they hear these young people claiming they are fed up on the social networks. We hope they are reading the letters of friends and relatives of the victims who refuse to respond with hatred and anger to the violence that has upset their lives.
Judith, you do not seem to realise that you are playing with matches at the heart of a very dry forest. And you create a smokescreen which hides a whole portion of the reality of a country you seem to know little about. You do not see the mobilisations of dozens of thousands of activists and citizens for the reception of refugees, cooperation and exchanges at local and international levels. You don’t see all these people of various origins, cultures and opinions who work, militate and live together – the list of the people killed is eloquent about the social mix on which the killers shot.
Of course there are racist groups, of course a part of the population fears the arrival of migrants, of course the foreign policy of France is highly questionable. But caricaturing the National Front to say “Here is what France is” is a huge problem for us. We are not nationalists, we express no pride of our country, no patriotism, and we remain watchful of the evolution of law and liberties of which the state must remain the guarantor. We only express this desire to keep living together. We hope today that once cornered in the impasse you mentioned, Judith, maybe the one that flanks the Bataclan, our former friends will open their eyes, and you with them. It will then be with great pleasure that we will join you to share a drink on a terrace.

Marie Docher & Odile Fillod

[i] The letter was originally published on http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2337-mourning-becomes-the-law-judith-butler-from-paris, and unpublished by the 24th of November. It is still available in Spanish on http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2346-el-luto-se-convierte-en-ley-judith-butler-desde-paris, and the original version can still be found on various sites, including http://www.eutopiainstitute.org/2015/11/isis-in-paris-by-tariq-ali-hamid-dabashi-and-judith-butler/, http://autonomies.org/ar/2015/11/judith-butler-a-letter-from-paris/, and http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/judith_butler_warns_france_becoming_extreme-right_militarized_20151119.

[ii] Just before this passage, she mentions “the immediate discussions after the events on public television” .

[iii] See http://haniramadan.blog.tdg.ch/archive/2015/11/14/communique-271736.html#more and http://haniramadan.blog.tdg.ch/archive/2015/11/15/sur-les-attentats-de-paris-du-13-novembre-2015-271791.html

[iv] See The Quran, sourate 9, verses 49-54, as well as sourate 3 verses 110-111, sourate 5, sourate 6, sourate 24 (verse 55), sourate 59 (verse 19) and sourate 32, for instance.

[v] For instance on the incompatibility of the principle of equality of rights between women and men with a literal reading of religious texts, see The Quran, sourate 4, verse 34: “Men have authority over women because of God’s preferences and because of the men’s exertions. The virtuous ones are docile […] For the ones whose disobedience you fear, exhort them, relegate them to their bedrooms, hit them, but if they listen to you stop quarrelling with them”. This passage may be compared to Saint Paul in the First Corinthian XI, 3-10 “The head of woman is man”. See also this humorous page: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/edition/laicite/article/030412/bien-se-conduire-grace-au-levitique.

[vi] For the analysis of this positioning of Butler and others, see Michael Walzer, “Cette gauche qui n’ose pas critiquer l’islam”, Le Monde, May 2015.

[vii] See http://www.marianne.net/Fabius-lance-la-guerre-des-mots_a241436.html

[viii] Using an acronym to designate Daesh, which does not conform to classical Arabic (to which they are attached) is considered as derogatory by them. This acronym is all the more embarrassing to them as the a corresponding to the transliteration of the letter alif (the beginning of the word “Islamic” in Arabic), doesn’t account for the sound “i” and thus makes symbolically disappear the reference to that adjective. Moreover, if you replace the sound “sh” by a “s”, this acronym can also evoke Arabic words loaded with derogatory connotations (but they have a different root, and the word Daesh doesn’t exist in Arabic). Using this term therefore amounts to a political positioning against the IS, but we don’t see why the adoption of such a position by the Minister of Foreign Affairs should be shocking. For further details, particularly on the specific disinformation of English-speaking media, see https://www.freewordcentre.com/blog/2015/02/daesh-isis-media-alice-guthrie/

[ix] Sarkozy pleaded for home custody and/or the implementation of electronic bracelets for people with a S file. Considering the wave of unfavourable opinions coming from everywhere, it seems highly unlikely that this stupid measure should be set. The fact that Hollande announced that he was seizing the Conseil d’Etat for an opinion on this issue (and not on Wauquiez’ proposal), probably to give evidence of “national unity” by showing that he « listens » to Sarkozy’s proposals, does not mean that he intends to implement it, and even less that he finds it relevant.

[x] See http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/ameriques/article/2015/11/20/apres-paris-donald-trump-joue-la-carte-de-l-islamophobie_4813922_3222.html

[xi] Malek Boutih, Génération radicale, 2015, page 33.