I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized Why Kill Charlie?

Why Kill Charlie?

Max McGuinness
Nearly three months after the deadly attacks on Charlie Hebdo, on a police officer in Montrouge and the Hyper Cacher supermarket, things seem to have returned to normal in France. The Paris region officially remains on a state of high alert and the army continues to guard synagogues, mosques, Jewish schools, the offices of media organisations and other possible targets. Shrines to the victims, festooned with cartoons and flowers slowly disintegrating in the rain, still mark the scenes of the atrocities. But the quasi-euphoric spirit of solidarity that emerged in the wake of the attacks, along with excited talk about revitalising republican values, has clearly faded. Following a brief display of unity, the country’s political class soon resumed its habitual squabbling amid a perennially bleak economic backdrop. At the end of February, the prime minister, Manuel Valls, was even forced to resort to a little used constitutional loophole in order to ram a set of minor neo-liberal reforms through the National Assembly. Rebels from his own Socialist Party were unimpressed by the government’s argument that extending business opening hours and deregulating long-distance buses would somehow be in keeping with the memory of the slain cartoonists. A more pertinent gesture was Valls’s earlier denunciation of “territorial, ethnic, and social apartheid” in the nation’s suburban blackspots. But budgetary austerity remains sacrosanct and there will thus be no significant new investment in the banlieues. If apartheid there is, then it appears to be here to stay. Having been excluded from the January 11th march, which brought an estimated four million people onto the streets, Front National leader Marine Le Pen continues to lead in the polls, with up to thirty percent of respondents saying they will vote for her in the next presidential election. And just over a month after the first shootings, the FN came within eight hundred votes of winning a by-election in a Socialist-held constituency. The party then obtained a record score in March’s departmental elections, narrowly failing to take control of an entire département for the first time. That the FN was seen as having underperformed relative to expectations just shows how much its influence has grown. Initial hopes that the attacks might stem the political system’s steady drift towards the far right have proved illusory. There is some evidence of a nationwide spike in bigoted behaviour following the attacks. According to the French Council of the Muslim Faith, an umbrella group of…



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