Home » Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) » In the year 2022, France has continued its slow collapse and a Muslim party leader takes over as the country’s new president.

In the year 2022, France has continued its slow collapse and a Muslim party leader takes over as the country’s new president.

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Furore over novel depicting Muslim-run France

French writer Michel Houellebecq (November 2014)Houellebecq argues that the idea of a Muslim party changing the face of French politics is perfectly plausible

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The BBC’s Hugh Schofield in Paris reports on the publication of a provocative new book which depicts France as an Islamicised country where universities are compelled to teach the Koran, women are made to wear the veil and polygamy is lawful.

In the year 2022, France has continued its slow collapse and a Muslim party leader takes over as the country’s new president.

Women are encouraged to leave their jobs and unemployment falls. Crime evaporates in the banlieues. Veils become the norm and polygamy is authorised.

Universities are made to teach the Koran.

Anti-Islamic scare-mongering?Torpid and decadent, the population reverts to its collaborationist instincts. It accepts the new Islamist France.

A wall covered with mosaics the Paris Mosque (April 2007)Parts of France have a rich Islamic culture, with the Paris Mosque widely admired for the beauty of its architecture and its minaret which is 33m high
Muslims demonstrate in Strasbourg, eastern France, over satirical images of the Prophet Muhammad (11 February 2006 )Houellebecq says French Muslims are conservative by background and do not feel at home with the left – especially since the introduction of gay marriage – but are equally alienated by the political right

Such is the characteristically provocative plot of the new novel by France’s most famous living author Michel Houellebecq.

Soumission (Submission) goes on sale on Wednesday, but for a week now the arguments have been raging.

Is the book anti-Islamic scare-mongering in the guise of literature? Does the excuse that it is fiction have any validity if the book gives succour to the far-right?

Or on the contrary, is Houellebecq simply doing the job of an artist: holding a mirror to the world, exaggerating perhaps but honestly telling the deeper truths?

The row is all the more intense because Islam and identity are already at the heart of a fierce national debate in France.

Runaway successLast year the anti-immigration National Front made an extraordinary leap forward by winning a national election – for the European Parliament – for the first time.

Nearly 150 Muslim war graves n Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, France's biggest war cemetery, desecrated by vandals  (April 2008)Outbreaks of Islamophobia sometimes happen in France – these Muslim war graves were desecrated by vandals in 2008
A person holding the latest book by Michel Houellebecq, Soumission, in Paris (16 December 2014)Soumission (Submission) goes on sale on Wednesday, but for a week now the arguments have been raging

Its leader Marine Le Pen is a serious contender for the 2017 presidential election. Indeed in Soumission, it is in order to keep Le Pen out that the mainstream parties rally behind the charismatic Mohammed Ben Abbes.

Background to the new novel is also shaped by the runaway success of the book Le Suicide Francais (French suicide), by right-wing journalist Eric Zemmour, one of whose themes is also France’s moral collapse in the face of newly-confident Islam.

Critics of Houellebecq say his novel lends intellectual credibility to the theses of Mr Zemmour and other “neo-reactionaries”.

For Laurent Joffrin of the left-wing newspaper Liberation, Houellebecq is “warming Marine Le Pen’s seat at the Cafe Flore” – legendary haunt of the left-bank philosophers on the river Seine.

“Whether or not it is the intention, the novel has a clear political resonance,” wrote Mr Joffrin.

“Once the media furore has died down, the book will go down as a key moment in the history of ideas – when the theses of the far right made their entry – or re-entry – into great literature.”

Others have gone further. Television presenter Ali Baddou said that “this book makes me sick… I felt insulted. The year kicks off with Islamophobia disseminated in the work of a great French novelist.”

From the other side, supporters say Houellebecq is addressing issues which the metropolitan and left-leaning elite pretend do not exist.

‘Stupidest of religions’Philosopher and member of the Academie Francaise Alain Finkielkraut described Houellebecq as “our great novelist of what might come to be”.

Niqab wearer - file picIn France the right of Muslims to wear the niqab in public has generated fierce debate
France's far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen (22 December 2014)The premise of the novel is that the the mainstream parties of France rally behind the charismatic Mohammed Ben Abbes in order to keep Marine Le Pen out of power

“By raising the eventual Islamisation of France, he is touching where it hurts – and the progressives are all crying Ow!”

Houellebecq, who once described Islam as the “stupidest of religions”, has denied any desire to be provocative.

In interviews ahead of publication, he said the idea of a Muslim party changing the face of French politics was perfectly plausible – though he agreed he had accelerated the timeframe.

“I tried to put myself in the place of a Muslim, and I realised that, in reality, they are in a totally schizophrenic situation,” Houellebecq told the Paris Review.

Muslims, he said, were conservative by background and did not feel at home with the left, especially since the socialists introduced gay marriage. But equally they felt alienated by a political right that rejected them.

Enlightenment demise“So if a Muslim wants to vote, what’s he supposed to do? The truth is, he’s in an impossible situation. He has no representation whatsoever,” he said.

Pupils attend an Arabic course, on 16 October 16, 2012, in Saint-Leger-de-Fougeret, central France. The book paints a picture of the Koran being compulsory at French universities

Houellebecq said the wider theme of his book is the return of religion to the centre of human existence, and the demise of the Enlightenment ideas that have prevailed since the 18th Century.

“The return of religion is a worldwide movement, a tidal wave… Atheism is too sad… I think right now we are living through the end of a historic movement which began centuries ago, at the end of the Middle Ages,” he told Le Figaro.

In the end Houellebecq implies in his interviews that the return of religion is a good thing – he says he himself is no longer atheist – and that even Islam is better than the existential emptiness of Enlightenment Man.

“In the end the Koran turns out to be much better than I thought, now that I’ve re-read it – or rather, read it,” he told Paris Review.

“Obviously, as with all religious texts, there is room for interpretation, but an honest reading will conclude that a holy war of aggression is not generally sanctioned, prayer alone is valid. So you might say I’ve changed my opinion.

“That’s why I don’t feel that I’m writing out of fear. I feel, rather, that we can make arrangements. The feminists will not be able to, if we’re being completely honest. But I and lots of other people will.”

At the end of the book Houellebecq’s hero Francois has himself “made arrangements” – going back to his teaching job at the Islamicised Sorbonne, tempted by a pay increase and the promise of several wives.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30694811

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1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on Myanmar Democratic Concern (MDC) and commented:

    Michel Houellebecq friends

    This site is dedicated to Michel Houellebecq, whose work and whose life have illuminated mine.For all those who have already discovered, or have yet to discover, the work of Michel Houellebecq, and who would like to share their feelings or their questions; for that young man in the crowd who was moved to dream by the character of Annabelle; for that lady, in Paris or at the other end of the world, who was inspired to discover Lovecraft after reading Michel’s essay about him; for all those who, deeply moved, have been transformed by a novel or a poem by Michel, and who have felt the need to share their discovery of this writer with someone dear to them. This site is for all those and for the many others who have yet, I hope, to join us.– Michelle Levy
    Biography

    Michel Houellebecq pronounced «Wellbeck») was born on the 26th of February, 1958, on the French island of Reunion. His father, a mountain guide, and his mother, an anesthesiologist, soon lost all interest in his existence. A half-sister was born four years later. At the age of six, Michel was given over to the care of his paternal grandmother, a communist, whose family name he later adopted. In France, he lived not far from Paris: first at Dicy (Yonne), then at Crecy-la-Chapelle. He attended boarding school at nearby Meaux for six years. Finally, he took preparatory courses prior to entering the French «grande ecole» system.

    His grandmother died in 1978. In 1980, he obtained a degree in agricultural engineering, and, that same year, married the sister of a classmate. A long period of unemployment followed. His son, Etienne, was born in 1981. Four years later, he divorced his wife. Finally, a bout with depression led to several stays at a psychiatric facility. He eventually found employment at the French National Assembly as an administrative secretary.

    His literary career began when, at twenty, he started to move in poetic circles. In 1985, he met Michel Bulteau, the editor of the Nouvelle Revue de Paris, who was the first to publish his poems. It was the beginning of a long and enduring friendship. In fact, it was Bulteau who suggested that he write a book for the «Infrequentables» series, which had been launched by Bulteau at the publishing house Le Rocher. This led to the publication, in 1991, of H. P. Lovecraft, contre le monde, contre la vie («H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life»).

    That same year saw the publication of Rester vivant, methode («To Stay Alive: A method»), by Difference. Then, in 1992, his first collection of poems, La poursuite du bonheur («The Pursuit of Happiness»), which went on to win the Prix Tristan Tzara.

    In 1994, Maurice Nadeau published Extension du domaine de la lutte («Whatever»), Houellebecq’s first novel, which brought him a larger audience, and has since been translated into several languages. A novel of darkness and despair, it is, at the same time, full of humor.

    He went on to contribute to many a literary review (including L’atelier du roman, Perpendiculaires, from whose editorial board he was later ousted, and Inrockuptibles).

    Since 1996, Houellebecq’s work has been published by Flammarion, where Raphael Sorin is his editor. His second collection of poems, Le sens du combat («The Meaning of the Fight»), obtained the Prix Flore in 1996. In 1997, Rester vivant and La poursuite du bonheur, in revised form, were re-released in one volume.

    In 1998, he received the Grand Prix national des Lettres Jeunes Talents for the entirety of his literary output. Later, in the fall, Interventions, a collection of chronicles and critical texts, and Les Particules élémentaires («Atomised»), his second novel, were published simultaneously. The latter went on to win the Prix Novembre, and has since been translated into over 25 languages.

    That same year, he married Marie-Pierre Gauthier, whom he had originally met in 1992.

    In 1999, he collaborated on the screen adaptation of Extension du domaine de la lutte («Whatever»), with Philippe Harel, who directed the film. He also published a new collection of poems, Renaissance.

    The spring of 2000 saw the debut of his first album, Presence humaine, where he sings a number of his poems to the music of Bertrand Burgalat.

    Currently he lives in Ireland, near Cork. A new book of photographs and text about Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, has been published in the fall of 2000.
    In 2005, ” The possibility of an island”,an ambitioud novel.
    His influences include:

    Baudelaire, Brave New World and Island by Aldous Huxley, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, Kant, Auguste Comte, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, The Book of Kells, and… Pif le Chien (a comic strip)
    Michel Houellebecq world’s

    Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Schubert, Françoise Hardy, Leonard Cohen, Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, David Crosby. Rhum-ginger, cigarettes and Monoprix.
    http://www.houellebecq.info/english.php

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30694811

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■ SUPPLY AND COMMAND
■ Gas & Oil Connections - Myanmar lost to China- India's encirclement complete
AI Report June 2008
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■ A History of the Burma Socialist Party by Kyaw Zaw Win

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■ Arm-Including Nuke Dealing With N-Korea
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■ NEITHER WAR NOR PEACE The Future of cease-fire Agreements in Burma
■ A Historical Overview of Political Transition in Myanmar Since 1988
■ Sino-Myanmar Economic Relations Since 1988
■ The Road to Naypyidaw- Making Sense of the Myanmar Government's Decision to Move its Capital
■ Southern Thai Politics - A Preliminary Overview

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Exile Images: Photography
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Kalama Sutta
Karen guerillas

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ko-htike
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soneseayar
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mmedwatch
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