Decolonial Translation Group


It’s not that the Swiss and the French sound like the far right: the far right sounds like them

By Atman Zerkaoui


The result of the Swiss referendum held 29 November 2009 means that building a mosque with a minaret is now banned in that country. Switzerland is apparently shocked and even surprised by the vote.

Switzerland, the country that has already had several referenda to limit immigration, is surprised?

The Swiss Green Party has decided it will launch an appeal before the European Court of Human Rights since the European Union is apparently surprised as well.

The European Union, which has made itself into a murderous fortress against immigration, is surprised?

The European Union, which approved the “return” directive allowing states to imprison men, women, elderly people and children for up to 18 months without a ruling after refusing to grant them status, is surprised?

The European Union, which claims to be Christian in order to refuse membership to a Muslim country, is surprised?

The European Union, which claims to be concerned about the rise of islamophobia in Europe even while – in the name of human rights – it defends the French law excluding girls who wear a hijab from school, is surprised?

People in France are also apparently shocked. And surprised. How could it happen? France is concerned about the rise of “anti-muslim racism.”

France, where the word islamophobia must not be spoken, is concerned?

France, where a law is being drafted to prevent women who wear the niqab from leaving their homes, is concerned?

France, where Muslims who wear the hijab are prevented from going to school, is concerned?

France, which wants to build mosques certified – controlled – by the state like in the good old days of French Algeria, is concerned?

France, which elects a president who vows an unprecedented attack on social programs and – to compensate – a ban on the slitting of lambs’ throats, is concerned?

France, which takes twenty years to begin building a mosque in Strasbourg, is concerned?

Switzerland is concerned? Europe is concerned? France is concerned?

No. They are all reaping what they have sown.

The parties on the right and the left have explained that “communalism” is dangerous, so as to say, indirectly, that Arabs, Blacks and Muslims are dangerous and need to be watched closely. After all this and the Swiss vote, the French National Front is proposing a referendum on “communalism” so that the people finally have a chance to say “get lost you crooks, niggers and terrorists” echoing what the media and the politicians have long insinuated when they go on about communalism, troubled neighbourhoods, problems with immigration, illegal aliens, incompatibility with the Republic, diversity, religious fanaticism, terrorism, insecurity, etc…. In trying to cover their racism with platitudes, they’ve opened the floodgates. It’s not the Swiss or the French that are talking like the National Front; it’s the National Front that’s talking like them.

Bravo and thanks to the Republic.

For years, we have denounced the islamophobia that has been encouraged and applauded so proudly. We have pointed out its effects and its growth. Together with attacks on their liberty, Muslims suffer hateful stares that turn into insults, that turn into assaults, that have turned into murders. And when the first deaths are acknowledged, France will be surprised. Just like the butcher who discovers that in slaughtering the chicken he has killed it.

There are no doubt some who are aware, or are becoming aware, of this. To those, I say the time has come to act.  The moment for simple demands and hand-wringing has passed. It didn’t work and has never worked. Such monstrous people and institutions won’t be nice just because you ask them nicely. Those who say you have to trust French institutions and parties are lying, whether they know it or not. We can’t align ourselves with those who want us to lose, we have to fight them. Our enemy is active and organized in the political sphere and that’s where we have to fight them. It’s time to create a party that will stop them in their tracks and force them to back down.


 Atman Zerkaoui is a member of the Mouvement des Indigènes de la République (which, since the French version was published, has become the Parti des Indigènes de la République).


Traduction : Karen Wirsig