FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE : For Pierre Rigoulot, the death-threat hanging over our liberal societies comes from islamist fundamentalism and not from “fanatical madmen”. Our history, distinguished by various forms of totalitarianism, should serve as our guide, says the historian.
Nice: no, it wasn’t a madman, but an islamist terrorist
First published in French 15th July 2016, in Le Figaro
Editor-in-chief of the quarterly History and Liberty, Pierre Rigoulot is director of the Institute of Social History, which is dedicated to the history of communism, socialism, and trade unionism. Author of numerous reference works, Pierre Rigoulot has worked notably on the collaborative project, The Black Book of Communism (Robert Laffont).
There’s nothing like a jihadist for focussing our minds on the essential: our mild society, democratic, open to others, tolerant, and as such, hated by islamist fanatics. A hatred that commits them to the destruction of our liberal society.
This islamist [who committed the attack in Nice] was not a “fanatical madman”, contrary to what Alain Juppé [candidate in the Republican primaries] has declared. He came from those islamist fanatics who imagine themselves able to do away with a world that thinks, lives, and acts differently from them. This killer had the will to cut down all alternatives to his fanatically Manichean vision. All the attacks to which we have been subjected over the past few years were committed by the religiously motivated, incapable of accepting that people other than themselves had a right to exist.
What is at work here is the fantasy of an otherness that must give way to a single all-muslim world, with those who criticize or denounce it, who are indifferent to it, who claim it as theirs but act in their own manner, being worthy only of destruction.
“The communist totalitarianism against which we fought is dead. In the struggle against it, we picked up certain lessons that we should now be applying against jihadist islamism.”
Once more we are reminded of the great danger that presses on us in terms of victims, of threats to our society in its diversity, its tolerance, its hedonism, its attachment to human rights and democracy: the danger represented by jihadist islamism. It is a challenge that has already been hurled at us, and that we must take on.
The communist totalitarianism against which we fought is dead. In the struggle against it, we picked up certain lessons that we should now be applying against jihadist islamism. Other issues — our relations with Europe and Putin’s Russia, our reflections on democracy, on our schools, on radicalism, our involvement in French politics and the coming presidential election — all these make sense only in taking into account the manifold lethal threats that weigh down on us, not from such “madmen”, but from jihadist islamism itself. §