I printed this article about modern Paris by Ben Judah ten days ago but only read it today, over lunch. Like everything Ben Judah writes it is very good. (He's 27 or 28 and spent part of his childhood in Bucharest.) After the massacre at Nice it is even more topical and even more troubling.
Jews, he says, are leaving France for fear of Muslims and I remember that an Iraqi monk told me that, when the Jews were being expelled from Iraq in the 1970s, a rabbi told him,
"They are getting rid of the Saturday people now. They will come for the Sunday people later."
Jews are also joining and voting for the Front National, although Ben Judah doesn't mention this.
"France’s two-stage electoral system means that a party can’t win an election on only 30 per cent of the vote. Camus thinks that the Front’s attempt to be simultaneously an anti-austerity, anti-Islam and anti-EU protest party has won it a large support base but one that cannot grow. “Swing any more to the centre and it will start to lose votes from the extremes. Swing any more to the protectionist Left it will start to lose votes from the Right.” The Front is also blocked by France’s professionals. For them, quite unlike for France’s poor, a vote for Marine is still largely seen as vulgar and delusional, if no longer totally inexcusable. “This is why Left and Right are still ready to vote for each other to stop the Front passing the threshold. This is the glass ceiling.
The consensus in Paris is that another terrorist slaughter would shatter it."
We shall see.Judah describes Saint-Denis and its cathedral, where the kings of France are buried along with Charles Martel, who saved Europe from the Muslims at the Battle of Tours in 704. Now Saint-Denis is a mostly Muslim ghetto, where the police have given up trying to prevent petty crimes. He interviews the Prefect of the department and asks him why.
“'Those same people who say there is a lack of authority,” snaps the 60-year-old prefect, “are the same ones who refuse the police access when they try and enter. Those from the Maghreb, by origin, permit themselves to behave in ways that would be unthinkable where they came from.'
He tells me that the secret services are currently monitoring 700 people at risk of radicalisation in Saint-Denis, and the police are too frightened to enter alone most areas under his control. '