Revisited: The French Interior Minister Condemns People of Civilizations other than His Own. By Dominique Bénard.
The Interior Minister of the French Government, in an outlandish and peremptory statement, has directly attacked people of foreign origin living in France by saying:
?”There are patterns of behavior that have no place in our country, not because they are foreign, but because they do not conform to our worldview, particularly regarding the dignity of women and men. Contrary to the relativistic ideology of the left, for us all civilizations are not equal. ?Those who defend humanity seem to us more advanced than those who deny it. ?Those who stand for freedom, equality and fraternity appear to us superior to those which accept tyranny, oppression of women, and social or ethnic hatred. ?In any event, we must protect our civilization.”
?The minister’s objective is clear: in this campaign period (presidential elections will be held in France next April), attacking people of foreign origin, particularly those with Islamic backgrounds, can attract extreme right votes.
?Mr. Guéant has his certainties, particularly that Western civilization protects freedom, equality, fraternity. ?It is therefore superior to others … How may me remind Mr. Guéant that the civilization about which he boasts gave birth to the Crusades, religious wars, mass slavery, colonization, genocide of Native Americans, racism, the world wars, the Holocaust, Hiroshima and Nagasaki … not to mention other smaller massacres?
?Would a reminder of the judgment of American Indians (people who are victims of European genocide) on Western civilization, put the minister’s ideas in their proper perspective?
Wise old Wintu (California Indians)
“White people make fun of the earth, the deer, or bear. When we Indians seek roots, we make small holes. ?When we build our teepees, we make little holes. ?We only use dead wood. The white man, he upends the earth, cuts down trees, destroys everything. ?The tree says, ‘Stop, I’m hurt, do not make me ill.’ But blindly he charges on. ?He hates the spirit of the earth. ?He tears the trees and shakes up their roots. ?He saws the trees. ?This hurts them. ?The Indians never do wrong, while the white man ruins everything. ?He blows up the rocks and scatters the leaves. ?The rock says, ‘Stop, you’re hurting me.’ But the white man does not pay attention. ?When the Indians use the stone, they are small and round for lighting their fires … ?How could the spirit of the earth love the white man? … Whatever he touches, he leaves a wound.”
Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Sioux chief, ?1875?
“See, my brothers, the spring has come, the Earth has received the embrace of the sun, and we will soon see the fruits of this love. Every seed is awakened and even the animals come to life. ?We owe our existence to this mysterious power, which is why we grant to our neighbors, even our animal neighbors, the same rights as we have to live in this land …Yet hear me, you all, we are now dealing with another race, one that was small and feeble when our fathers met for the first time, but today is large and arrogant. ?Strangely enough, they have the idea of cultivating the soil and love to possess it, which is a disease.
?”These same people have made many rules that the rich may break but not the poor. ?They levy taxes on the poor and weak to maintain the rich who rule. ?They claim our mother, Earth, for their own use and barricade themselves against their neighbors, and they disfigure it with their buildings and refuse. ?This nation is like a torrent of melted snow that overflows its banks and destroys everything in its path. ”
?Pachgantschilhilas, chief of the Delaware
?”The white men proclaimed loudly that their laws were made for everyone, but it immediately became clear that, while hoping we would obey them, they did not hesitate to break them themselves.
?”Their elders advised us to adopt their religion but we quickly discovered that there were a great number of them. ?We could not understand them, and two white men rarely agree on the need to follow them. ?This embarrassed us until the day we realized that the white man did not take his religion any more seriously than his laws. ?They kept their laws close at hand, as instruments to use at will in their dealings with outsiders.”
?Kondiarionk, Huron chief, addressing the Baron de Lahontan, French lieutenant in Newfoundland.
?”You are already so wretched that you can hardly become more so. What kind of man is the European? ?What kind of creature does he choose to be, forced to do good while having no real motivation for this other than fear of punishment? ?(…) In truth my dear brother, I pity you from the depths of my soul. ?Take my advice and becomes Huron. ?I see clearly the profound difference between my position and yours. ?I am the master of my condition. ?I am the master of my body. I have myself at my disposal, I do what I like, I am the first and last of my nation, I fear no man absolutely, and I depend only on the Great Spirit.
“It is not the same for you. ?Your body as well as your soul is condemned to depend on your great captain, your viceroy who commands you. ?You have no freedom to do what you have in mind. ?You’re afraid of thieves, murderers, false witnesses, etc. ?And you depend on a multitude of people whose place is situated above yours. ?Is this not true?”
Brotherhood of man.
Perhaps we might also remind Mr. Guéant of this passage from the Gospel of Luke (6, 41): “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye and do not you see the plank in your own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me take the speck in your eye, you who do not see the plank in your own? Hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye and then shalt thou see clearly enough to remove the speck in your brother’s eye.”
?At Indaba-Network, we believe that there has only been one human family since the appearance of Homo Sapiens on earth, and that each particular civilization is a symphony in the concert of humankind that we must discover and enjoy to allow us to grow as Humankind. ?Thus, any civilization progresses when it looks at another fraternally and regresses when the other is stigmatized or excluded as an enemy.