Has France changed?

Has France changed?

Actor Mathieu Kassovitz’s comments on the political situation in France, which is becoming worrying for neighboring European countries and for the future of the European Union, have sparked an outcry from the left, which has cried betrayal, as well as a lot of confusion. In reality, these comments draw attention to a deep problem in France: the country’s moral decline.

Kassovitz said: “I’ve always been a little bit waiting for the FN (National Front, former name of the RN, editor’s note) to come to power, to see what the real reaction of the French is. Are we really the country of human rights or have we become something else? It’s also interesting, because maybe we have become something else, and we have to accept that too.”

We should not fall into the trap of considering these remarks as an endorsement of the theses of the National Rally. As an artist who is a partisan of the progressive left, Kassovitz cannot sink into the radicalism, anti-republicanism and decline reflected in the rise of the extreme right.

On the contrary, Kassovitz highlights a truth that is often ignored in the current debate: the moral and strategic decline of France. Compared to the France of De Gaulle and even Chirac, who imposed their worldview and their ideals, today’s France faces a strategic weakening marked by a rise in racism and anti-Europeanism.

In 2003, France rejected the American diktat regarding the invasion of Iraq, orchestrated by oil-hungry neoconservatives and motivated by false accusations of weapons of mass destruction. Today, France is unable to assert itself to end the massacre of Palestinian civilians and remains silent.

Dominique de Villepin’s speech against the war in Iraq contrasts with France’s current silence on the genocide in Gaza, while countries like Ireland have clearly spoken out against Israel’s behavior and have recognized the Palestinian state, unlike France. In 2003, Villepin told the UN: “And it is an old country, France, from an old continent like mine, Europe, that is telling you this today, which has known wars, occupation, barbarity.” These words could be repeated in the current context, but France remains aligned with Israel’s militaristic policy.

France, once a country of human rights, is today struck by a moral and strategic decline. Islamophobic intellectuals are leading a campaign against Islam, attacking the thousand-year-old heritage of this civilization. Eric Zemmour, by developing new Islamophobic theses, has contributed to this atmosphere, although marginalized by the leadership of the RN.

A part of the RN electorate establishes a false link between their daily problems and the presence of the Maghreb and Muslim community in France. A vicious circle is formed, where economic and strategic decline reinforces xenophobia and Islamophobia, which in turn feed this decline.

The rise of the RN is the result of this vicious circle. Their program alarms European businesses and institutions, because it is based on an irrational and reactionary ideology, promising tensions with neighboring countries and in the Mediterranean region. Their fight against immigration ignores the benefits of immigration, and their policies will create more tensions and isolation for France.

Ultimately, Kassovitz’s words are prescient, reflecting a historical change and a fracture in French society, which is struggling to rid itself of its demons of the past and its historical and psychological burdens.