On Friday, the 22nd of January, the french government announced that will present to the council of ministers a project of law to prolong the state of emergency in the country, declared on the 14th of November, in the wake of the attacks on Paris. The country’s Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, in comments to the BBC at the Davos gathering declared that the state of emergency is “a way to protect the french” and that it will be prolonged for “the time that it is necessary. Until we can finish obviously with Daech [ISIS]”. (Le Monde 24-25/01/2016). But since it is equally obvious that ISIS, or any other future incarnation of the same, will not be “finished” any time soon, the state of emergency promises to stay.
Simultaneously, the president François Hollande continues to work towards a change of the country’s constitution, a change that would allow stripping any french citizen, who holds dual citizenship, of their french nationality, if they are convicted of any terrorist or terrorist related activity.
One has to go back in time to the french Vichy republic to find anything similar, or to the program of france’s Front nationale party. In other words, it is to the history of fascism and nazism that we may find the precedents for such laws.
If the change to the constitution goes through, and unless popular protest were to halt it, everything suggests that it will, then french nationals will be divided into two categories, those who are truly french and those who are until further notice. And nothing prevents those from the first category of being responsible for future murders classifiable as terrorist.
But then it is not the “terrorist” who is the target of such laws, but dissidence and protest as such. And fear becomes the reigning political instrument of control.
In a gesture of protest and resistance, a group of french anarchists (members of france’s Federation anarchiste), in the spirit of Boris Vian, have written to the president asking to be stripped of their french nationality. We share the letter below, in translation, along with Vian’s older Le déserteur …
F.T.P. (Francs Tireurs et Partisans d’une citoyenneté mondiale/Rebels and Partisans of a Global Citizenship)
35, allée de l’Angle
Tél. : 05 46 76 73 10
Adresse électronique : email@example.com
Chaucre, le 22 janvier 2016
Subject: Demand for the revocation of French Nationality
To the President of the French Republic.
Mr. President, we write a letter to you that you may read if you have the time.
We were born in this country, France, by chance. We neither chose to be born, nor to be born in France. This is true of all human beings. Until now, this non-choice did not pose any serious problems for us. It could have been worse.
For some time now, however, between Notre-Dame-des-Landes and conviction of trade unionists to prison terms, we have had some doubts about your ability to inspire the dream of a France said to be a country of human rights. You will not even allow us to speak of socialism. With your lastest politico trifling about the loss of the right to nationality, things are clear. You are playing with matches. You know that the terrorists couldn’t care less about losing their …, something like losing their first shirt. And yet, you’re setting up a demagogic legal arsenal that today places under house arrest ecologists and trade unionists and who, tomorrow, will turn against you.
Remember, Martin Niemöller, freed from the camps after the fall of the Nazi regime in 1945. He is the author of Quand ils sont venus chercher … falsely attributed to Bertold Brecht. He said: “When the Nazis came for the communists, I did not say anything … I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, I did not say anything … I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, I did not say anything … I was not Jewish. When they came for me … there was no longer anyone left to protest.”
Mr. President, tomorrow, when those that you pretend to combat are in power, they will be be content to simply apply your laws. How do you not understand this? Consequently, as you still allow us a constitution, we declare ourselves in a situation of insurrection.
Hereby, please accept our request for the revocation of French citizenship. Why?
We, the French by chance, no longer want to be French as long as you incarnate the idea of France.
Hereby, we also inform you of our desire to create in the shortest possible time an identity card and a passport of citizen of the world.
Mr. President, warn your gendarmes, that we will be heavily armed with those weapons of mass destruction that are intelligence, non-violence, honor and … humor. And we will not hesitate to shoot! With these weapons!
Jean-Marc Raynaud, Dominique Lestrat, Yannick Thebault Stephane Troplain Paul Boino, Annie Arroyo, Laurent Conduché, Thyde Rosell, Claudie Annereau, Thierry Sassi, Michel Di Nocera, Jean-Pierre Georges, Bob Sine, Benoist Rey, Jean-Pierre Anselme, Bertille Raynaud-Rosell, Ludovic Cardinac Michel Bonnet, Jean-Louis Larraux Micheline Larraux Patrick Schindler, Anita Alegre, Fabien Mallet
(The original letter is posted as a petition).
From Boris Vian …