Yesterday was World Kindness Day. It was also a “Black Friday,” not the kind when people fight each other to get a discounted item at Wal-Mart to offer their relatives for Christmas before they put it on eBay for sale. Instead, it was the kind when the 13th of the month happens to be a Friday.
Between kindness and bad luck, it seems that Fate has chosen the latter. “Fate,” here, took the shape of Islamic terrorists.
As everyone knows by now, there have been six shootings and bombings in Paris yesterday evening, leaving over 120 dead people, and counting.
Unlike the Charlie Hebdo attack last January, these people were not engaged in any kind of fight, whatever we might think of the one Charlie Hebdo cartoonists believed they were committed to.
The deadliest of the six shootings took place at a trendy concert facility, “Le Bataclan,” where a rock band was performing. As we know, rock is a musical genre mostly enjoyed by Whites, and the significance of it should not escape us.
As I usually do when I have time on my hands, I came back from work by foot, and when I walked by the “Bataclan,” there were already many people waiting at the entrance. Among them were likely people who found death a couple hours later.
It all started like a normal evening though. At the Saint-Denis stadium, there was a football (yes, football, you can allow me that at a time like this) game between France and the incumbent world champion, Germany.
During the game, several explosions were reported. But the show had to go on, as it had in 1985 at the Brussels Heysel Stadium, when 39 football fans died during the European Cup final opposing FC Liverpool to Juventus Turin. Despite the tragedy, the game was allowed to proceed, to the end.
Yesterday, likewise, the French national team was allowed to defeat Germany (2-0) and thus take its revenge for the 2014 World Cup quarterfinal match. But France's Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, François Hollande, had already fled. Napoleon at Berezina.
It's only when I checked the game's result that I discovered what had happened all over Paris. Among the six shootings and bombings, one occurred at the terrace of a restaurant located only four blocks from where I live. I used to go there a few years ago. I'm not mentioning this to look like a hero that I'm not, but to explain that it affected me more than the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
My first reaction, though, was similar to the one I had after the Charlie Hebdo shooting: “Keep Calm and Ride the Tiger,” with a finely tuned mix of Schadenfreude, “I told you so” and Stoicism.
But my inner Epictetus was soon silenced by my inner Howard Beale, who reminded me that “First, you've got to get MAD!” I was angry, and I was mad, because what happened yesterday was entirely predictable, and was actually predicted by many experts.
The “invade the world, invite the world” policy initiated by George W. Bush and followed since then by his Parisian satraps (with the bygone exception of Iraq in 2003) killed yesterday. And it will kill again if drastic action is not taken, first to protect legitimate regimes in the Near East, then to shield Europe's borders against the tsunamic wave of so-called “refugees,” inside which some of yesterday's shooters were embedded.
Writing this last paragraph, I have the humiliating feeling of waving a Buckleyite fist at a world I no longer fit in. But as humiliating as it looks, I am not alone in that respect. As a matter of fact, we're all powerless to oppose the suicidal policies of Washington, Berlin, London and Paris. We are all powerless because we are no longer a people.
What we are, instead, is a collection of atomized monads, ready to be scattered by the first collective force, however primitive, that it encounters.
It is this atomization that explains that no organized opposition took place when the atrocity of Rotherham was exposed. It is this atomization that ensured that in 2009 no one shut down the U.S. Army Chief of Staff General when he had the gall to say that “it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty” after Fort Hood's massacre in Texas (13 dead).
Three years ago, when I reported on the French Identitarian Convention that happened just after Génération Identitaire's storming of the Poitiers mosque, I mentioned a round-table titled “Refaire un peuple” (“Remaking a People”). As promising as the title was, none of the speakers dealt with the fundamental issue: if we have to ask ourselves how to remake a people, it's because we are no longer a people to begin with. The same way that if NPI's last conference was titled “Become Who We Are,” it's because we are not who we are, or rather who we should be.
As I write, I doubt the heartwarming solidarity of the Western world with yesterday's victims is going to allow us to become a people again.
Last January, after a first major warning, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to show that they were Charlie. But it wasn't clear then whether it meant that they were ready to resist, or that they would willingly accept a similar fate as the cartoonists'.
Later this year, roughly the same people were ready to “welcome refugees,” and it's clear now that what we suffered yesterday is only one of the many outcomes that this pathological outburst of altruism is going to lead to.
But hope is what makes us human. I don't want to exaggerate the significance of people adding a tricolor filter to their Facebook profile pictures, but at this very moment, I have the feeling that we—we French, but also we Europeans worldwide—are a people again.
Let us not miss this historic opportunity to make that momentary feeling a permanent one.
EDIT: Sunday, November 15th; Roman Bernard joins Richard to relay his experience in Paris during the recent terrorist attacks and discuss the symbolism of violence and potential for a European awakening: