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<nettime> Luc le Vaillant: Don't _pray_ for Paris, please! (Liberation)
Patrice Riemens on Sat, 21 Nov 2015 22:46:33 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Luc le Vaillant: Don't _pray_ for Paris, please! (Liberation)

Every time one uses the hashtag Â#prayforparisÂ, one forgets that Paris 
was targetted for attack because of its festive religious unbelief, as 
well as for its admittedly mousy yet perfectly decent tolerance towards 
all religions.

So, you're all nice guys, but please don't feel obliged to _pray_ for 

by Luc le Vaillant, Liberation daily, November 17, 2015

There is a hashtag that annoys me to no end, the more so since the whole 
world seems to have adopted it. It's called Â#prayforparisÂ. and Hilary 
Clinton, Teddy Riner and everyone in between including Thiago Silva are 
all full of empathy and compassion for those who want to pray for Paris. 
Great - but for one thing. Please, Please don't do it: you're playing 
into the hands of religion and its wars. I wouldn't go as far as to say 
play in the hands of islamists, but well ...

I'll probably pass for gullible and arrogant, with a very spiteful mind 
to boot, when declining to acknowledge such honest-to-goodness 
intentions, such tearful attention, such distressed shows of sympathy - 
and probably nobody in the Anglo-saxon world is going to get the point 
of my reaction.

So some explanation is in order. You see, France is a _secular_ country 
where all religions have a right to exist but must remain concealed 
within the private sphere.  The public domain belongs to all citizens, 
irrespective of race, creed, or belief. From 1789 onwards, the battle 
has been long and tough between Catholic reaction and Republican 
progressivism. Its outcome was the complete separation between church 
and state enshrined in law in 1905.

This is the reason why a French president does not take an oath on the 
Bible when assuming function, unlike his opposite number in Washington. 
And this also explains why, when we'll sing the 'Marseillaise' during 
the friendly football duel between our country and the English we so 
much love to tease, we'll sing a revolutionary song, when our English 
cousins will trumpet that it is up to God to save their Queen. And this 
is also why democracy in its French tricolor denomination does not 
submit to the Sharia, or to any dictate coming from a clergy or its 
faithfuls, whether they are catholic, protestant, jewish or muslim.

I am not stupid or naive. I know well that all sorts of zealots try to 
weight on my country's political options, but the greatness of France 
lies in its capacity to resist such pressures. And it makes me raging 
mad when it does yield to these same pressures.

Yet I do acknowledge the need to readjust the 1905 law to our times and 
to build mosques, and to train, if not to pay, imams, in the same way as 
the exchequer subsidizes private schools and pays for the upkeep of our 
churches which are by now doubling as historical monuments.

All what I want to say is that one is fundamentally amiss when using the 
hashtag Â#prayforparisÂ. Paris has been attacked because of its playful, 
partying, a-religiousness, for its fully owned-up Sodom and Gomorha 
ways, and for its admittedly mousy yet perfectly decent tolerance 
towards all religions - as long as these confine their kneeling to the 
cupboards of private life.

So Please my friends of the Free World and of the Christian West, 
refrain from dragging us into your religious wars by turning the Eiffel 
Tower into an ex-voto, and our bleu-blanc-rouge flag into a processional 
banner. and while you are at it, you may also want to try making some 
headway towards a more or less open secularism which is our hallmark - 
you might even like it.

And if you really need a hashtag, why not go for "peaceforparis", or 
"parisisaboutlife", or even, to parakeet Hemingway, "parisalwaysaparty". 
And as far as a logo is concerned, take the Hippy sign with the Eiffel 
Tower as its centre. That jingoist scrapmetal monster I've hated so 
much, and which the Qataris wanted to appropriate, takes a fresh lease 
of life when coupled to the peace-and-love symbol. Filmmaker and 
cartoonist Joann Sfar put it well when he said "Friends all over the 
world, thanks for #prayforparis, but - we don't need more religion! We 
believe in music, kissing, life, champagne and fun!"

Right On - so no more prayers, OK? And let's go for a drink against 
extremism and light some firecrackers against obscurantism!

Q&D translation by yrs truly
Amsterdam, November 21, 2015

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