The French political dynamics have largely shifted in the face of the Islamic extremist onslaught, and President Emmanuel Macron has been at the forefront of dealing with the issue. However, the politicians of the right in France like Marine Le Pen are not happy with the extent of the actions and have been critical of the government for not being strict and resolute enough. A new open letter has been published in France warning of the threat of civil war and claiming to have more than 130,000 signatures from the public. The message, published in a right-wing magazine, accuses the French government of granting “concessions” to Islamism.
While many of the concerns may be legitimate, but the far-right political leader Le Pen should understand that the best-case scenario for the French people and the future of France can be served if she allies with Macron in further strengthening his position to counter Radical Islam that has crept in the French society.
The latest letter said, “It is about the survival of our people.” Soldiers are said to have issued it anonymously, pleading for public help. It was condemned by the French government, as was a similar letter sent last month. Gérald Darmanin, the Interior Minister, called the new letter a “crude manoeuvre” and accused its anonymous signatories of lacking “courage.” Semi-retired generals too wrote a letter to the Macron government last month.
Florence Parly, the minister in charge of the armed forces, said that they will be disciplined for breaking a law that prohibits reservists and serving service personnel from publicly sharing their views on religion and politics. However, far-right leader Marine Le Pen, a candidate in next year’s presidential election, spoke out in support of the estimated 1,000 servicemen and women who backed the April letter.
The April letter states, “France is in danger. Several mortal perils threaten her. Even in retirement, we remain soldiers of France and cannot in the present circumstances remain indifferent to the fate of our beautiful country.” They charged President Emmanuel Macron’s administration with fanning the flames of hate by authorising a violent police crackdown on the so-called yellow vest movement. The generals claimed that France was “disintegrating with the Islamists of the hordes of the banlieue [suburbs] who are detaching large parts of the nation and turning them into territory subject to dogmas contrary to our constitution”.
The generals predicted that if nothing is done to address their fears, a sudden “explosion” will occur, necessitating a military coup to overthrow the government. They said, “There is no time to waffle, or tomorrow civil war will put an end to this growing chaos and the dead, for whom you will bear responsibility, will be counted in the thousands.”
However, this constant bickering among the people who obviously want to entirely deal with Radical Islam in its incipient form will turn out to be counter-productive. The division and self-inflicting brouhaha will only help the radicals and the Islamic-leftist combine, and may even lead to missing out on the momentum and opportunity to provide a model for the rest of Europe to follow.
Most French citizens are concerned about crime, narcotics, and Islamism, so the fact that soldiers, who are instinctively more attached to tradition, law, and authority than most, share those concerns is hardly noteworthy. The desire to go public and blur the lines between the military and the political is the point of contention. And there will be those in the military who disagree with the letter-writers on this point. The research, including the dire predictions of disintegration and civil war, could be widely disseminated.
Whatever may be the political compulsions, for the sake of a concrete and sustained push to counter Radical Islam, Le Pen should shed all her differences and work with Emmanuel Macron to give force to these efforts and not be a critic which will weaken the momentum.