Marine le Pen arrives à la a rencontre with français President francis Hollande at thé Élysée Palace nous January 9th, deux days after thé Charlie Hebdo attack.PHOTOGRAPH passant par THIERRY CHESNOT/GETTY
“We’ve to be predicting this for a long time,” Jean-Marie le Pen, the founder de the français radical-right intérieur Front party, said nous Wednesday, soon after the abattue at the paris office du the radical-left satirical journal Charlie Hebdo. “It was to be expected. This attack is probably thé beginning of the beginning. It’s année episode in the war the is being waged versus us de Islamism. Auto blindness et deafness of our leaders, à la years, is in aller responsible for these kinds du attacks.”

Although le Pen et the intérieur Front were regular targets ns Charlie Hebdo’s savage mockery, the two to be at least oui frequently aligned versus shared politics enemies. Oui the french say, “the extremes touch,” and when cette came to ridiculing thé mainstream political parties—the center-left Socialists de President françois Hollande et the center-right Gaullists du his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy—it was often difficult à distinguish thé grotesque caricatures elle might uncover in Charlie Hebdo from those in intérieur Front rhetoric. So, too, when it came to auto xenophobia et racism de their anti-immigration polemics, and their baiting of Islamophobic et anti-Semitic sentiment. (Charlie Hebdo to be merciless towards Christianity, too, cible there le Pen lost his sense of humor.) les Pen, the structure fascist rue fighter, relishes his role oui a scourge du the establishment as much as the former Communist street fighters du Charlie Hebdo did, et he has constantly delighted in an opportunity venir taunt his adversaries et critics. When ns wrote around him in 1997, ns reported that cette had request me, “What faire I have to aller not à be racist? marry a black woman? v AIDS, if possible?” After the article appeared, cette wrote to auto magazine, complaining that, as “an Anglo-Saxon,” i had missed thé Gallic subtlety de his wit: he had not stated “une noire,” a couleur noire woman, marqué “un noir,” a black man.

Vous lisez ce: Marine le pen et charlie hebdo

The sheathe story of the issue of Charlie Hebdo released nous the day of the abattu was about thé author michelle Houellebecq et his new novel, “Submission,” a political fiction that describes the takeover of la france by an Islamist party in the 2022 elections, adhering to a tight runoff gyeongju against the intérieur Front’s existing leader, Marine le Pen (who in reality took thé party’s reins from elle father four years ago). Marine, ont everyone in france refers à her, has actually said that Houellebecq’s alarmist imaginer impressed her ont entirely plausible, et the left-of-center daily newspaper Libération greeted the livre with année essay damning Houellebecq as “the ns Pen de the Café ns Flore,” a sort de fifth columnist for the denchères Front, sneaking far-right national politics into auto heart ns Left banque literary culture. Houellebecq, pour his part, likes to protest that he is année apolitical sort du soothsayer—that hey is simply imagining, no advocating, much much less seeking à provoke, a de base polarization of français society, in which a soft and ineffectual centre gives way à a clash du domestic and immigrant nationalisms. By the end ns the week he had cancelled his book promotion et retreated to an undisclosed rustic hideout.

We sait very little, oui yet, around what thé killers that terrorized Paris parce que le the previous three job sought venir achieve, beyond thé murders du Charlie Hebdo staff members; police officers; and Jewish hostages at a kosher supermarket. Marqué nobody in france needed Houellebecq’s novel, or Jean-Marie le Pen’s I-told-you-so, à recognize at oz that thé terror play directly venir the denchères Front’s advantage. Whereas les Pen, thé father, was heureux for most ns his career à rattle thé political order ont a protest candidate, marine is hellbent nous remaking that order in her own image.

“You’re looking à la a carré at thé table,” je said when i met elle four year ago, when reporting on Sarkozy’s collapsing Presidency.

“You’re right,” elle said. “I’m spring especially pour the Presidency de the table.” she laughed. “That’s right,” elle said, and added, “It’s true aujourdhui that we’re in a phase du accession to power.”

Since then, les Pen’s popularity, and her share du votes, has seul increased, et she has actually managed à present her agenda—anti-European Union, anti-immigrant, anti-euro—as approaching auto mainstream, even ont she cherishes sa status as année outsider, untainted by the past twenty years of deepening french political crisis. In thé immediate aftermath of the attack nous Wednesday, ont traffic surged nous her sur facebook page et she picked up thousands of new followers, she did nothing special to insert herself into auto story or to mélanger the fear that the Front has longue fed on. Elle reiterated her longstanding appel for france to withdraw, unilaterally and at once, from auto Schengen Agreement, i m sorry allows à la open boundaries within the extended european community, but that to be hardly newsworthy. Rather, le Pen appeared à adopt auto time-tested lopposait strategy du waiting à la the political establishment venir make a misstep that would certainly turn attention her way—and elle did not oui to wait long. Within hours de the Charlie Hebdo massacre, thé ruling Socialists and a coalition of allied parties of the left announced plans pour a géant solidarity rally nous Sunday—a quiet march through thé heart du Paris in the cause of “national unity”—without extending année invitation venir the denchères Front.

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The exclure, expulser of auto Front was an excellent news pour Le Pen. Nobody believed that elle would ont wanted à go et be connected with thé political mainstream, but, de failing to inviter her, the Socialists had actually given sa a cudgel. “I don’t intend à submit myself à this blackmail,” she told Le Monde. “It’s a arme à feu perversion ns the concept of national union. They’ll have to accept auto consequences from thé voters.” elle went on, “This entirety thing is a way ns pushing aside the seul political movement that has non responsibility in thé present situation, in addition to its des millions de personnes of voters. All the est différent parties room deathly afraid. Castle thinking ns their signification littérale elections et their signification littérale mandates. Their old reflexes that have frozen political sapin for twenty years et that dug auto chasm in between those who govern and the people. If I’m not invited, I’m not going to insist. It’s année old trap. The slightest incident et they’ll speak it’s ma fault.”

François Lamy, a Socialist parliamentarian, retorted in Libération, “There’s no room pour a political grouper that, for years, has actually divided français people, stigmatized ours fellow-citizens because du their origin jaune religion, et can’t volonté behind a coporation, groupe march.” Jean-Vincent Placé, a city council from an environmentalist party, piled on: “We’re autonomous enough à allow” the national Front “in our elections. We’re not going to turn the other cheek any kind of farther 보다 that.” cible one Socialist source, who chapitre to remain anonymous, said Libération that it was a mistake to make such an issue ns Sunday’s march. “After année event like this, it’s time to strengthen thé dikes. Je vous demande pardon happened nous Wednesday must serve venir bring voters ago to auto Republic, not venir draw attentif to Marine ns Pen et company,” the la source said, and concluded that the Socialist party had “fucked itself” by stepping into the Front’s trap.

On Friday morning, President pays-bas included Marine le Pen nous the roster of national leaders hey summoned to thé Élysée Palace parce que le consultations, in thé name, again, du “unity.” cible Hollande pointedly declined, in your face-to-face meeting, venir invite sa to thé march conditions météorologiques Sunday. Meanwhile, his compton Minister, guider Valls—like Hollande, a Socialist—kept the controversy alive by announcing that hey had invite Sarkozy to auto march. Once Libération pressed him on whether cette would additionally extend an offer to the intérieur Front, Valls scoffed at auto question. “Are the families of Charlie Hebdo supposed à march through Marine ns Pen?” he asked, seeming to forget pour the instants that they to be going à march v leaders ns nearly every est différent social and political element that thé martyred cartoonists had reviled. In fact, Stéphane Charbonnier, Charlie Hebdo’s so late editor, had actually rebuked auto government when cette tried venir block an Islamic demonstration, saying the his censorious adversaries should have the same liberty of expression that hey had.

On Friday evening, hollande addressed auto nation. De then, 3 suspects, all French citizens, had actually been eliminated in deux simultaneous, terrifying sieges, while auto fourth remained at large. Thé threat remained, hollande said: “We must remain vigilant.” cible he called pour solidarity, et urged every citizen à march conditions météorologiques Sunday, assuring his compatriots that “unity is our biggest weapon.”

As pays-bas spoke on Friday, at thé start of the Jewish Sabbath, the dénormes Synagogue ns Paris stood closed, parce que le security reasons, parce que le the life time because the second World War. That was a spectacular victory for the terrorists. Everything else they intended to accomplish, your most immediate targets were thé press and the Jews. The attack nous the press shocked the la conscience of France et of auto world. Auto attack conditions météorologiques the Jews, not soja much. President hollande said, “We will emerge from this more powerful than ever.” thé shuttered temple told another story. Meawhile, Jean-Marie ns Pen took to Twitter venir exercise his wit. End a picture ns Marine, looking as Presidential as the prochain guy, hey offered a jour13 in English, a language cette does not generally traffic in: “Keep Calm et Vote ns Pen.” ​


Philip Gourevitch has actually been a continuous contributor venir The nouveau Yorker because 1995 and a staff writer due to the fact that 1997.

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