Category Archives: Nice attack (2016)

Judicial leniency and the terror threat in France

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 07.02.38Un petit délinquant devenu djihadiste

The perpetrator of the Nice outrage, Dalrymple relates,

was born and raised in Tunisia and, a totally unskilled man, was given leave to enter and stay in France because he had married a French citizen of Tunisian origin in Tunisia. The decision to allow him into France was based on an abstract doctrine of human rights—in this instance, the right to family reunification—rather than on France’s national interest, which is never allowed to enter into such decisions.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel

was very violent to his wife and she divorced him, but it was impossible to deport this père de famille, for to do so would have been contrary to his children’s right to a father. His children therefore acted as his permis de séjour, which was renewed when the original ran out.

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Paterfamilias: Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel

Trivial little offences

The public prosecutor of Paris

described him as a petit délinquant, though his offences included damage to property, robbery, making threats and repeated acts of violence.

He hit a man

with a baseball bat (which he happened to have with him, though baseball is not played in France) because the man asked him to move his van, which was blocking traffic.

He was sentenced to six months in prison. The sentence was suspended. Dalrymple asks:

Is a state that cannot bring itself to punish a man who attacks another with a baseball bat one with the will to thwart terrorism?

Out come the candles

Outside the French Embassy, London

Outside the French Embassy, London

They’re such a comfort to the Islamists

Dalrymple says he knew that,

within a few hours, the candles would be out.

Sure enough,

like the ants that appear on my kitchen surface when there is something sweet left about, lit candles in little glasses appeared. Where do they come from, these candles, and where are they hiding before a massacre, an assassination or a disaster?

Promenade des Anglais

Promenade des Anglais

Dalrymple thinks it likely

that all those who light candles and stand or sit looking sad but beatific and virtuous behind or beside them after a terrible event are not religious. They would not be seen dead lighting a candle in a church. But they are probably the kind of people who say they are ‘spiritual but not religious’, that is to say who indulge in all kinds of spiritual kitsch, for instance

  • reiki therapy
  • healing chakras of the earth
  • wind chimes
  • strategically-placed crystals
Circular Quay, Sydney

Circular Quay, Sydney

What, he asks, is the message?

That they are opposed to massacre or assassination and regret disaster? Does this have to be expressed? Perhaps they are trying to recapture a belief in the transcendent whose very existence they doubt or, in other circumstances, vehemently deny.

Dalrymple says that candles

are a couple of rungs up the spiritual ladder from teddy-bears, the intermediate rung on the ladder being bouquets in cellophane piled high at or near the site of death. The black armband and the mourning dress have been replaced by the teddy-bear, the unwrapped bouquet and the candle in its little glass.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.17.25Candles are also

a couple of rungs up the social ladder; the lighters of candles would probably regard teddy-bears as infra dig.

Dalrymple notes that the candles and teddy-bears

must be very comforting for Islamists. When they see them, they must think, ‘These are weak and feeble people, easily intimidated and eminently destructible.’

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