Seen Beyond

State of Emergency in Paris

French soldiers patrol near the Eiffel Tower in Paris as part of the "Vigipirate" security plan

France has not seen such a nationwide deployment of security forces in living memory. After the attacks from last week in Paris the French government decreed the State of Emergency, which was confirmed in a parliamentary vote yesterday and which suspends large public gatherings — although, fortunately, no gatherings at the sites of the attacks or on the Place de la République have been dismissed — and allows the deployment of additional police and military force in the city. It has also been extended to cover all of France’s remaining overseas territories. The three-month extension of the State of Emergency was voted by an overwhelming consensus, only six representatives were voting against it.

I fear other nations will follow the French model in near future and the State of Emergency will become the future way of government worldwide. Other nations will follow and will say, the French did it as well.

The State of Emergency law in France was created in 1955 at the height of France’s colonial war in Algeria, and has hardly ever been resorted to since.

Within the State of Emergency Paris has banned already large-scale demonstrations at next month’s international climate conference, COP 21, a decision that has already been criticised by activists and civil society groups. Rights groups also have worried that the decision could become permanent, allowing for the extension of authorities’ powers into normal life.

House arrests will be enforced against people suspected of being a threat, and more searches will be authorised. Electronic tagging can also be used to ensure suspects under house arrest who are particularly dangerous remain confined. Where a softly, softly, approach to policing might have been adopted in the past, it will not be now.

In the last days, an important amount of heavily armed police officers and soldiers operates in Paris, implement checkpoints, while others close at will entire neighborhoods to lead arrests and assaults in areas defined by the media as “cradle of terrorism.”


The Paris and New York based architect and writer Léopold Lambert wrote in the digital magazine FUNAMBULIST today: ‘People who know the beautiful cities of Saint Denis and Molenbeek can only sigh in front of this ineptness. Such terminology associating its largely Muslim inhabiting population to the deadly action of some individuals, can only lead to the numerous acts of islamophobia we are currently observing elsewhere.’

The Islamic State has suffered huge losses during the last months, its territory shrinks under the bombardment performed mostly by United States, Russia and France in Syria and Iraq and by the liberation of Kobane and Sindjar on the gournd by the Kurds. Thats why the mercenaries of the Islamic State are now changing their strategy from securing a territory in Syria, Iraq or Lybia to global, inexpensive terror attacks in a 2008 Mumbai style performed in our days in bars, concert halls or football stadiums. Ankara, Beirut and Paris are just only the beginning of this ongoing desperation. This is the violence of our society’s structure. A state of emergency will not prevent this violence .

Léopold Lambert writes, ‘We are in a state of emergency, but not the emergency to deploy more security, suspicion, and bombardments, but, on the contrary, the emergency to dismantle the violence of our society’s structures. This cannot be manifested through the tolerance that the dominant social group would manifest with condescension towards the one that experience this domination on a daily basis, but, rather, through the radical construction of an open-ended definition of this “we” in all its heterogeneity. Such a process is unlikely to prevent any future other attacks, but only through it could we then claim that the violence we experience is unilateral.’


Read the full article State of the Wrong Emergency in Paris at FUNAMBULIST


Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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