It has just been revealed that Emmanuel Macron, President of France, has in the first three months of his presidency spent more than $30,000 on make-up services. That would be a remarkable sum for anyone to spend, but what makes it even more remarkable is that Macron is only 39, the youngest French President ever, and therefore, one might assume, someone who would be least in need of such services, and certainly not to this expensive extent.
Even before this embarrassment, Macron had been stumbling. Just a few months ago, a political neophyte, he had defeated Marine Le Pen for the French presidency with an astonishing 65% of the vote. Now his popularity has plummeted to 36%. What explains this colossal drop? Partly it has to do with Macron’s authoritarian personality, revealed only after the election, and most evident in the curt way he treated the army chief of staff, who objected to defense cuts, leading to the general’s resignation. Partly it has to do with his proposed cut of 10 billion euros to spending on research, health, and housing, and on his controversial proposal to revamp the labor laws, making it easier for employers both to hire and fire.
But Macron’s rather cavalier views on Islam may also have played a part in his drop in popularity. During the election, he said little on the subject of terrorism. It was enough for voters that he was not Marine le Pen, who had been endlessly maligned in the media, labelled an “Islamophobe’ for expressing alarm both about what the Islamic texts and teachings inculcate, and about the observable attitudes and behavior of too many Muslims. But the little that candidate Macron did say on Islamic terrorism was disturbing. “We have a share of responsibility,” he warned, “because this totalitarianism feeds on the mistrust that we have allowed to settle in society…. and if tomorrow we do not take care, it will divide them [the Muslims] from us even more.”
So for Macron, it was “we” — the French — who must acknowledge responsibility for Muslim terrorism, because it is our mistrust of Muslims that causes them, in turn, to subscribe to Islamic “totalitarianism.” We must force ourselves not to “mistrust” them. But that’s an attitude that cannot be commanded. How should the French react, after each attack by Muslim terrorists, at Charlie Hebdo, at the kosher market, along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, at the Bataclan nightclub? How should they react as each thwarted attack — along the Champs-Elysees, outside the Louvre, in front of Notre Dame, beside the Eiffel Tower — is announced? With so much murder and so much mayhem, how can they not mistrust the Muslims in their midst? Macron followed up this impossible demand with a sentiment worthy of Pope Francis: To lessen this “mistrust,” Macron said, French society “must change and be more open.” More open to what? To Islam, of course.
On April 20, 2017, during the campaign, after an Islamic terrorist killed one police officer and wounded two others in Paris, Macron said: “I am not going to invent an anti-terrorist program in one night.” He had been a government official during two years of continuous terrorist attacks on French territory. Didn’t the public have a right to assume that he would have given some thought to anti-terrorist measures to be taken? Instead of insinuating that he was being unfairly asked to suddenly come up with “an anti-terrorist program in one night” (he was being asked no such thing), shouldn’t he at least have shown the French people that he had been thinking carefully about how to deal with the terrorist threat, and here were some of his thoughts?
Also disturbing was the revelation, during the campaign, that there were some doubtful Muslims on his staff. One of these was Mohamed Saou, who was discovered to have promoted on Twitter the Islamic statement: “I am not Charlie.” Sensing a potential scandal, Macron felt compelled to dismiss Saou on April 6. But on April 14, on a Muslim French radio station, Macron was caught on a “hot mic” describing Saou as a “good guy, a very good guy.” Is a Muslim who insists he would never express solidarity with the murdered cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo a “very good guy”?
On April 28, Mohamed Louizi, author of the book Why I Quit the Muslim Brotherhood, released a detailed article on Facebook that accused Macron of being a “hostage of the Islamist vote.” Republished by Dreuz, a Christian anti-jihad website, Louizi’s article gave names and dates, and explained how Macron’s political movement had been infiltrated by Muslim Brotherhood militants. Since Macron has not refuted the article’s facts, we can assume it is correct. And if it is correct, then we have to worry about Macron, and it’s he who, with the election behind him, has to convince the French public that he recognizes the meaning, and menace, of Islam. It’s the only way to calm their fears.
Since being elected, Macron has announced the formation of a task force on terrorism, consisting of around 20 people, chiefly intelligence analysts, who will supervise and oversee all counter-terrorism efforts directly under the president’s authority. But this, while laudable, is not nearly enough; he has to express a different vision of France, one that has no room for a supposed “amalgame” with Islam.
Is Macron an open promoter of Islam in France? It is more politically correct to say that he is a “globalist” and an “open promoter of multiculturalism.” He does not want to think of France as too French. For he wants to deny the French that heightened sense of their own country, with a specific history, art, literature, politics — a French civilization — of which they have always been proud. Instead, he thinks of Islam as part of this new, multicultural amalgam that he claims France has become. When he visited London last February 22, he told an audience of expatriates that “French culture does not exist, there is a culture in France and it is diverse.” The same day he dared to dismiss one of the greatest sources of French national pride: “French art? I never met it.” Clouet, Chardin, Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Gauguin, Derain, Bonnard, Matisse, then, are apparently not French artists, for there is no such thing as “French art.”
If France is for Macron nothing but a cultural amalgam or olla-podrida, and there is no longer anything specifically French about that county’s civilization, then the Muslims in France are just as “French” with their Muslim culture as the French are with French culture. But the Muslims do not accept the idea of an “amalgam.” They do not celebrate multiculturalism. They want not a mixture of cultures, but for Islam to dominate. Macron fails to realize that it has not been the French who rejected the Muslims; France has made great efforts, teaching its language and its culture to many different kinds of immigrants. The country has been open and welcoming to these migrants and tried, with great success in most cases, to integrate them. That program of integration worked with immigrants from Portugal in the 1950s, from the French Antilles in the 1960s and, in the half-century since, with immigrants from all over: Eastern Europeans, Hindus from India, Filipinos, Brazilians, Andean Indians, Vietnamese Buddhists, and sub-Saharan African Christians. Only the Muslims have failed to integrate, that is have failed to willingly accept the laws, customs, understandings of the Infidel French. In French schools, it is Muslim students who refuse to study topics they deem anti-Muslim, as the Crusades or the history of the French monarchy, or as likely to encourage sympathy for the Jews, as the Holocaust. Meanwhile, Muslims press for ever greater attention being given in those same schools to the study of Islam.
In May, Macron visited West Africa, where French troops are engaged in a campaign against Islamic militants in Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, and where he promised to be “uncompromising” in the fight against the Jihadists. One wonders why he can be so forthright and clear-headed about the Islamic threat in West Africa, and at the same time fail to recognize the threat within metropolitan France from those millions of Muslims whose religion teaches them to hate the Kuffar, who are commanded to wage Jihad until the entire world is subjugated, and Islam everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere. The fact that not all Muslims follow the Qur’an’s commands is slight consolation, for that may reflect not moral but prudential considerations. The time may not be ripe, as Muslims still constitute less than 10% of the French population. But the duty does not dissipate, and Muslims are patient. Macron recognizes a Muslim menace, but so far only in a not-in-my-backyard, limited-to-west-africa sort of way.
At this point, Macron has little to lose in taking a strong anti-Islam position. Everything that has happened since he won the election on May 7 has only increased alarm in France and in Europe. Just two weeks after he was elected, there was a major attack at a concert in Manchester. Other attacks have taken place since then in France, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Finland. Jihadist attacks include the Barcelona van attack, a car attack on French police, a car attack on police in Belgium, a knife attack in Paris, a knife attack in Hamburg, an attempted bombing in Brussels, a car attack in Paris, a knife attack in London, a knife attack attempt in the United Kingdom, a knife attack in London, a hammer attack in France, a vehicle attack with knives at London Bridge, a machete attack attempt outside Buckingham Palace, a machete attack in Brussels, a second machete attack attempt in Brussels, a stabbing attack in Turku, a machete attack outside Buckingham Palace…and these are only the ones that come instantly to mind.
President Macron is surely aware of all this. It’s time he started to talk about Jihadists in Paris the way he talked about them in West Africa. He needs to stop painting his face, and start telling his own people, the French people, that this entirely factitious ‘“amalgame” of Muslim and French culture does not exist, that French civilization — its politics, its art, its literature, its music, its philosophy — is eminently worth defending, and that if Muslims have their way, France would end up looking, at best, like one of the dreary North African countries. What Macron needs most is not all that expensive makeup and the services of some pretty esthetician, but a makeover in his understanding, so that he will sound the way in these parlous times he ought to sound, which is to say, a lot less like Tariq Ramadan, and a lot more like Charles De Gaulle.