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Gilbert Achcar on France's "state of exception"


At the Jacobin magazine website, Gilbert Achcar warns that in its declaration of war after last week’s attacks in Paris, the French government is following the same dubious path the US took after 9/11—a path that will only exacerbate the conditions that led to the attack in the first place. Instead, he suggests an alternative path:

The priority response to the terrorist danger should be the territorial, social, and ethnic emancipation of the populations “of immigrant origin,” and the end of all the discriminations that they suffer.

This should be combined with a foreign policy that replaces arms sales and the military bragging of a state that persists in playing the imperial power (contrary to its German neighbor, despite its being that much richer) by a policy of peace, human rights, and development in conformity with the charter of the United Nations, of which France was a coauthor. The Swedish social-democratic minister of foreign affairs has shown the way, by deciding to ban the sale of arms to the Saudi kingdom by Swedish companies.

The proper response to the terrorist danger is also a resolute but non-intrusive support for those women and men who are fighting for democracy and emancipation in the Middle East and North Africa against all the despotic states in the region, both the oil monarchies and the military and police dictatorships.

A memorial site for victims of the November 13 attacks in Paris. Via Jacobin.