How can we win back trust?

Today, the far right in Europe and in the United States is only gaining ground. But is attacking immigrants, as the police are doing, a solution to the security problems we face? What can we do about the rise of jihadism in particular?
Jihadism feeds on the exclusion advocated by the far right and applied by the police. At the same time, we need a functioning police force and justice system to protect us from people who want to use violence. In prisons, among the relatives of victims of police violence, we have confirmation that there will be no opportunities for people of colour or Muslims. If the far right came to power, this downward spiral would be reinforced. The circle of violence where one feeds the other would advance the ideas of exclusion, clans and conflict. How is it that jihadists and far-right terrorists are released by the courts because of poor prison conditions or alleged irregularities? What would it take to regain the trust of both parties?

How can we get people from immigrant backgrounds to want to integrate? How do we get people to want them? For future immigrants, denying asylum rights and encouraging the hiring of these people in illegal and undignified conditions is certainly not a solution because it feeds the idea that workers are being replaced by illegals. Giving in to the demands of jihadists, as Denmark has just done, by restricting freedom of expression, is certainly not the solution either, because it revives differences and weakens democracy.

In the 1980s, fundamentalists in Egypt and Saudi Arabia were afraid because people wanted to adopt the Western way of life in their countries. The West was a beacon of envy. We need to regain that envy in the face of the rise of jihadism and the extreme right. We’ve been provoked and we’ve lost our good standing. The disastrous military interventions in Iraq and the failure to intervene in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Syria have damaged that standing. Putin gassed Aleppo and the United States, which had set a red line, did not intervene.

Putin is the leader of the European, American and African far right. He doesn’t say it, but everyone knows it. He is the leader of a fascism that does not name its master. He highlights the bad behaviour of Europeans and Americans abroad and fans the flames. He sees himself at the helm of a new Europe that would crack down on LGBT+ people, environmentalists and people of colour.
The core of the solution is to enable everyone to have opportunities to develop in society. It’s a shame that schools exacerbate inequalities instead of reducing them. In a country like France, which has the second highest tax burden in Europe and is the fifth power in the world, how can it be that people go hungry, hospitals are overflowing, the farmers who feed us are destitute, transport is expensive and housing is substandard? Inequalities are widening and equality of opportunity is shrinking. At this point, we can only conclude that the people are no longer in control in a France that claims to be a democracy. The government and the police can flout the law because the public prosecutors are not independent and the current government can only hold together thanks to heavy-handed police operations.

What’s more, we live in a highly polluted environment, and we won’t be able to deal with ecological issues until we’ve dealt with the problems of democracy, inequality and international law. Indeed, it is the richest and most powerful who pollute without any consideration for the population, whether in France or abroad. We have to stop blaming the common people for this pollution, when their way of life is not the cause of it and is hard to change. Someone from the richest 1% pollutes 100 times more than someone from the other 99% and has much more power to do something about it. If we compare the pollution map with the income map, we can superimpose it with the map of sick leave, drug use and obesity.

The universality of human and environmental rights must be affirmed. Developed countries are currently selective and pollute without consideration abroad. France was popular when it promoted the ideas of the Revolution. What can we do to ensure that it once again becomes the republican model to which people aspire?

Aurianne Or by Aurianne Or is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0