Sorry, Mr. Paty

Last Friday, an extremely barbaric Islamist attack cost the life of Samuel Paty, professor of history and geography in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. A few hours later, even before the name of the murderer and the victim were revealed, information was already circulating on all the national media.

Lhe terrorist was a Chechen, born in Russia.

Not “one of us”, then.

In the process, 48 ​​hours later, the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin announced a firm decision: 231 Islamists of foreign nationalities would be expelled very quickly to their country. Understand by that: the guilty, the bad, the detestable, they are not ours.

Yesterday, Sergei Parinov, head of the press service of the Russian embassy in France, declared: “This crime has nothing to do with Russia, because this individual had been living in France for twelve years and his family had been accepted by the French part ”.

Not ours.

For his part, Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of the Chechen Republic, declared on Telegram: “A criminal has no nationality. The Chechens have nothing to do with this. ”

Still not ours.

So nobody claims that this criminal can belong to his community. We don't want it. Who would want it?

However, we are well able to appropriate the names that suit us.

When France won the Football World Cup in 2018 with a team of players whose biological origins were in the Philippines (Areola), Senegal (Dembélé, Mendy), Algeria (Fekir), Germany (Griezmann), Spain (Hernandez, Lloris), Mali (Kanté, Sidibé), Democratic Republic of Congo (Kimpembe, Mandanda, Nzonzi), Cameroon (Mbappé, Umtiti), Angola (Matuidi), Guinea (Pogba), Morocco (Rami), in Togo (Tolisso) and also a little in France (Giroud, Lemar, Pavard, Thauvin, Varane), we were happy and proud to make them carry the blue-white-red flag, to make them sing the Marseillaise , to award them the title of Knights of the Legion of Honor and to make them the symbols of France which wins.

And all these countries of origin are just as proud to have one of their own who is a world champion, even under another flag.

Zidane, of Algerian origin, is a pride of France although now residing in Spain. Russia is happy to have given birth to Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google, yet an American resident.

And when in May 2018, a young migrant from Mali named Mamoudou Gassama distinguished himself by climbing with his bare hands the facade of a Parisian building to save a child on the verge of falling, it only took him two days to be received by the President of the Republic with the assurance of being crowned with precious French nationality.

Citizenship, origin, are at the heart of our pride and our demands. Through them, we ultimately seek less the biological origin of people than the positive values ​​they embody.

It's up to us to assume.

It is up to us to accept that we have, among us, individuals of whom we are not proud, but who are also part of the national community.

No, being French, Malian, Russian or Chechen does not make your fellow citizens bad or good by nature.

Whatever our country of origin, nationality or residence, it is up to us to also recognize our worst elements as being ours. Sending the hot potato back to us will only serve to shift our responsibilities onto others, without fully assuming our part.

Changing society starts with changing yourself.

We have duties, embrace them, assume them. By educating, sanctioning, affirming, informing, all those entrusted to us, French or not.

Working to reform, clean, straighten, repair everything in our society that is not right, is certainly less galvanizing than seeing a World Cup brandish on a football stadium.

Yet it is at this price that our belonging to a national community, whatever it may be, will become fully an honor.

It turns out that, despite all the human genius, the strategies, the think tanks, the diverse and varied expertise and the philosophies developed over the centuries, the Gospel is still what has been written best to meet this demand for cohesion of the human community. The few lines of the Sermon on the Mount would suffice to resolve the problems of inequalities, insecurity, terrorism, world hunger, wars, and so many other evils that plague the daily life of humanity.

If we close our eyes to this evidence, let's put on some good pairs of sneakers.

Because then we will not have finished chaining the white steps.

Sorry, Mr. Paty.

Pascal Portoukalian

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