Who is Charlie?: Xenophobia and the New Middle Class. (Anglais) Relié – 4 septembre 2015
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"The book offers a deeply reflective analysis of the Charlie Hebdo affair in Paris, and uses it brilliantly to explore and criticise the inner tensions and selective historical amnesia of French society that are taken to be responsible for its current Islamophobia and anti–Semitism. It shows with great insight and wisdom how to deal with these disturbing trends."
Bhikhu Parekh, House of Lords
"Who Is Charlie? stands out from all that has been written on the two massacres that took place in Paris in January 2015. It is an impressive analysis and a gripping read – I couldn′t put it down once I started reading it. Emmanuel Todd′s concern is not merely to trace the cause of these crimes but to reflect on them as a way of understanding the structural contradictions of contemporary France – a nation that continually invokes its Jacobin legacy (liberty, equality, fraternity) and yet allows that legacy to be undermined. This book is a brilliantly argued polemic and essential reading for understanding Islamophobia as a symptom of neo–Republican France in crisis."
Talal Asad, CUNY Graduate Center
Présentation de l'éditeur
In this probing new book, Emmanuel Todd investigates the cartography and sociology of the three to four million who marched in Paris and across France and draws some unsettling conclusions. For while they claimed to support liberal, republican values, the real middle classes who marched on that day of indignant protest also had a quite different programme in mind, one that was far removed from their proclaimed ideal. Their deep values were in fact more reminiscent of the most depressing aspects of France s national history: conservatism, selfishness, domination and inequality.
By identifying the anthropological, religious, economic and political forces that brought France to the edge of the abyss, Todd reveals the real dangers posed to all western societies when the interests of privileged middle classes work against marginalised and immigrant groups. Should we really continue to mistreat young people, force the children of immigrants to live on the outskirts of our cities, consign the poorer classes to the remoter parts of the country, demonise Islam, and allow the growth of an ever more menacing anti–Semitism? While asking uncomfortable questions and offering no easy solutions, Todd points to the difficult and uncertain path that might lead to an accommodation with Islam rather than a deepening and divisive confrontation.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Todd starts off by wondering who was Charlie -- who took to the streets to protest the killings at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo? He finds that it wasn't the poorer sections of the population; it wasn't younger people; it wasn't the provincial working classes; and perhaps a total of 6% of the population. "The unanimity trumpeted so loudly by the media is a fiction," he concludes. The demonstrations were "a moment of collective hysteria." And anyway, he wonders, what kind of society could have brought out as many as four million people on to the streets to show solidarity with a magazine "that specialized in stigmatizing a minority religion, Islam, and designating it as France's number one problem."
Set aside, for one moment, the fact that the demonstrations actually were in honor of free speech and in memory of people who were killed for that right, Todd does make some very valid points about the way that French society and government have completely and utterly failed to come to grips with the reality of the fact that it has a large population of citizens -- French born -- who also identify as Muslims. They cannot legally wear a hijab to work or school, in most cases, if they wish; studies have found that discrimination against them is roughly on a level that African Americans might face in the USA. In some cases it's actually worse, since there are reported cases of French Muslim citizens with college degrees and starting their first jobs being unable to open a bank account, or find a place to live, simply because of their first or last names. That, to Todd, is part of the problem. He watches a French Muslim public intellectual being harangued on television over the caricatures of Mohammed, which represent blasphemy to an observant Muslim. This individual, married to a non-Muslim, Todd writes, "tried to explain to his inquisitor, courteously and painfully, that blasphemy was difficult for a Muslim, that it was not part of his tradition. That was not enough: to be French meant not that you had the right to blaspheme, but that it was your duty." An exaggeration? Of course. But Todd also is making a point about the almost exaggerated respect for secularism in French society today -- something that Jews also have felt the brunt of, as anti-Semitic attacks have been on the rise.
That's the context in which Todd has compiled a lengthy series of statistical analyses of the January 2015 "Charlie" demonstrators and concluded from them that those who took to the streets did so less in order to support positive French values, such as liberty, fraternity and equality, but rather out of racism (anti-Muslim sentiment) and as reactionaries. Again, there's an extent to which he overstates his conclusion, and relies far too heavily on "false consciousness" in formulating it, but it's very hard for me to quarrel with the combination of the data and what I see and hear coming from an extended network of friend and former colleagues in Europe (where I grew up and where I have worked and where I still spend a reasonable amount of time.) Casually racist comments of a kind that we wouldn't tolerate in the US (in polite circles) are unnervingly frequent; comments on these are met by "you don't understand 'these people'."
This is a book to approach with tremendous caution, however. Although I've given it four stars, that only means that I think it should be read as contributing to the ongoing dialog, not as an endorsement of all Todd's views. He has an agenda -- which is absolutely transparent -- and promotes it vigorously. At times, doing so isn't just provocative but actually provides us with valuable, contrarian insights. Do we want to live in an echo chamber? Todd may be an eccentric thinker, but he isn't an erratic one or an undisciplined one, and if you can engage with his arguments, you'll find some concerns that are worth addressing (such as the fact that the French government clearly has NOT done an outstanding job of protecting its citizens from terrorist attacks, or the fact that there is a sizable part of the French population who is xenophobic, and it has been growing steadily since the 1980s) as well as others that you can safely put to one side. But it's worth engaging with the whole, rather than dismissing it out of hand as something that is valueless. The French Prime Minister doesn't get bent out of shape over someone who is a nutcase...
I don't know if I'm disappointed in the answer that is provided by Todd's book. I understand that the book is not just on the crime itself, but what seems an analysis of the social eco-system that this event happened and the aftermath. It was interesting in learning the socio-political structure of France and the effect of immigration. That said, I found myself wincing when the writer used 'zombie' with Catholicism. Maybe I didn't get what he meant but it just seemed denigrating, especially when he seemed so sympathetic to Islam and Muslim assimilation. I don't know. Maybe I got it wrong.
Anyway, it was an interesting read and I do commend the author for keeping his writing style accessible.
In light of this weekend’s events, I believe more and more that the overwhelming outpouring of support and solidarity after the Paris attack aligns with the same outpouring after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, and the current show of support to Orlando. Whereas the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices represented an extremist’s assault on freedom of speech, this weekend’s attack in Orlando is an assault on another essential freedom – that of assembly. I believe that such expressions of sorrow, outrage, and support are part of the new world order. Decent people with regard for their fellow man are insulted by these violent expressions of ignorance, and speak their decency out loud in the never-ending hope that truth and justice will someday prevail.
This book takes a scientific approach to understanding these activities, and draws conclusions based on that understanding. History will either support or deny such conclusions down the road. But the fact that this book is so well written and presents such erudite and eloquent with passion and honesty makes it well worth a read that may certainly be a struggle to some. It was to me, but it was worth taking on, and I am glad that I did.