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Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Paris, France. Photo: Pedro Lastra
Lyon

Will the death of Axelle Dorier in France ignite the identity powder keg?

Since the tragic death of the young French caregiver Axelle Dorier, ethnic tensions have redoubled in force on social networks.

Published: July 23, 2020, 8:26 am

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    It started with the cruel deaths of bus driver Philippe Monguillot, police woman Mélanie Lemée, Nicolas Bourlet-Granger left for dead after immigrant youths assaulted the young father with iron bars and the young Thomas, stabbed eight times by a migrant just released from prison.

    Thomas, 23, was stabbed on the night of May 9 to 10 in Sarcelles (Val d’Oise), and died of his injuries after some fifteen operations at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, according to French daily Le Parisien. That night he was celebrating the end of his work contract and the start of another.

    His parents Philippe and Nathalie believe that their district of Sarcelles has become a lawless area, and say they have been abandoned by the courts. Thomas’s murderer was released from prison after having benefited from the policy of mass release of prisoners before the end of their sentence, under the pretext of a health crisis.

    Despite the establishment media’s silence and the parents of the young man calling on conservatives not to use their son’s death for political ends, demanding justice for Thomas trended on social media.

    And as if these multiple tragedies were not enough, the death of Axelle Dorier has been added to the list of martyrs of this very sad summer in France. Aged 23, the caregiver died in Lyon, after being struck by the car of her immigrant attackers and then dragged on the ground under the vehicle for more than 800 meters.

    Shocked by the incredible violence of the murder of the young woman who had simply been out walking a dog, many Internet users have flooded social networks to hold the attackers to account when the media tried to hide their identity.

    Shortly after Dorier’s death, a hashtag emerged on Twitter: #On veut les noms [We want names]. The names have since been released. They are: “Youcef T and Mohamed Y”. Galvanized by this revelation which has confirmed the suspicion of an immigrant involvement, press releases and hashtags have multiplied: #Justice pour Axelle  and #La racaille tue. Translated, the latter means “scum kills”. The term “scum” is being used in France to circumvent ethnic or religious descriptions such as Arab, African or Muslim.

    In the political sphere, the anger of Internet users has met with a certain echo among conservatives. Jean Messiha, member of the National Rally, said in a Twitter statement, attaching a photo of the deceased to his text: “Here is the face of Axelle Dorier, caregiver and girl from France, overturned, dragged over 800m and torn to pieces. The French have the right to know who are the bastards who did that! #WeWantNames!”

    In terms of the traditional conservatives, Bruno Retailleau, president of the Republicans in the Senate, spoke at the microphone of FranceInter, not mincing his words: “There is a savagery in French society.”

    The official figures for crimes and misdemeanors show a worrying deterioration, especially in terms of violence. The 2019 report on delinquency in France shows a disastrous trend. The Ministry of the Interior discreetly published the alarming figures via its statistical service, the SSMI.

    Gone are the days when French ministers publicly defended their actions in full transparency during a major press conference. Because the subject of immigrant crime has become so sensitive, no political figure wants to take responsibility.

    Almost all the crime indicators are red, with a clear deterioration in the public sphere in terms of violence. “As in 2018, assault and battery against people aged 15 and over recorded a sharp increase in 2019 (+ 8 percent).” Likewise, concerning sexual violence, “after the year 2018 at national was marked by a significant increase (+ 19 percent), the year 2019 also shows a very clear increase in this violence (+ 12 percent).”

    Geographically, not only the areas in and around Paris but “all French regions have seen increases in the number of rapes, assaults and sexual harassment recorded by the security forces in 2019, in particular Corsica, Center-Val-de-Loire, Auvergne-Rhone-Alps and Nouvelle-Aquitaine”.

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