Middle East | Inclusive society can wean away French Arabs from militancy: Analyst

Inclusive society can wean away French Arabs from militancy: Analyst

November 18, 2015 4:59 PM (UTC+8)

 

The 13/11 terror attacks in Paris cannot be excused or justified in any way. However, it can be explained, writes French journalist and political analyst Gilbert Mercier in News Junkie Post.

A French Arab covers his eyes as police charges pro-Palestine protesters with tear gas in this file photo
A French Arab covers his eyes as police charges pro-Palestine protesters with tear gas in this file photo

Before going into the root cause of the deep social malaise that turns some of the young North African Arabs into jhadists, Mercier draws the attention of readers to a neocolonialist bias of the Western press in news coverage.

On the same day terrorists carried out a series of attacks in Paris, attacks occurred in Beirut, Lebanon, targeting Hezbollah-controlled areas killing at least 40 people.

Western press merely noted the incident. No extensive follow-ups or expressions of sympathy. It was as if French lives mattered quite a lot more than the loss of lives of people in the Middle East.

How will young French people of Arab origin, who are usually at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder, feel about this neocolonial bias by Western Press, the author asks.

Their anger and frustration will only mount because for decades, they have been treated like outsiders. Being socially alienated, they can be easily persuaded to do acts of violence and even suicide missions, Mercier says.

People with such grim social prospects turn to IS whose ideology helps them give vent to their pent-up anger toward a society which had rejected them.

An inclusive society that gives them hope for a better future could address France’s deep social malaise and make jihad less attractive to young French people of North-African origin.

But most of France’s political class and ruling elite, instead of addressing this serious issue, followed a policy that pushed these Arabs to the dead end of repression and exclusion.

Disenfranchised young French-Arabs know and feel the misery that their brothers and sisters in the Middle East have suffered in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Gaza from the guns and bombs of the US and its European sidekicks, Mercier says.

The confusion from that pain makes them believe that ordinary Parisians would also suffer the same way.

The French author views Paris attacks as symptoms of a systemic failure.

According to him, victims of Paris attacks can be viewed as yet more civilian collateral damage — neither more nor less important than innocent victims of, say, US drone attacks elsewhere — in a world where the net result of absurd Western policies is always the spread of misery and death.

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