Among the statues of Pasteur and Victor Hugo, in a monumental setting, President Emmanuel Macron and 400 guests with social distance from the Covid paid tribute to him at the Sorbonne University, which was a center of resistance to Nazism.
An impressive and moving tribute French national professor Samuel Paty, beheaded by an Islamist terrorist for showing his students the caricatures of the Prophet Mohamad, was held this Wednesday, in the court of honor of the Sorbonne University. A symbol of education and secularism, attacked in this Islamist attack that touches the basis of French values.
Between the statues of Pasteur and Victor HugoIn a monumental setting, President Emmanuel Macron and 400 guests with social distance from Covid paid tribute to him at this university, which was a center of resistance to Nazism and in whose chapel are the ashes of several martyrs high school students in World War II . That was the reason for their selection before the traditional court of the Invalides.
“To become republicans was the combat of Samuel Paty”declared President Emmanuel Macron. ”Samuel Paty embodies the republic that is reborn every day in the classrooms, the freedom that is transmitted and perpetuated in the schools. Samuel Paty became the face of the Republic on Friday ”, declared the head of state, in a solemn atmosphere and with the teacher’s parents, brother, ex-wife and son present.
At the entrance to the Sorbonne the colors of the French flag and its three words were projected: “Freedom, equality, fraternity”, the pillars of the Republic.
“We will not renounce cartoons, designs. We will continue to teach, we will carry secularism. We will continue the fight for freedom, “said the president in his speech.
The Republican Guard carried the drawer. With U2’s One in the background, that the professor loved so much, his coffin reached the court of honor. There, President Macron, former President Jean Francois Hollande, the ministers, the presidents of the National Assembly and the Senate, the former prime ministers Manuel Valls, Edouard Philippe and Jean Marc Ayrault, and Dominique de Villepin, the leader of France, were waiting for him. Insoumise, Jean Melenchon, Marine Le Pen, their classmates at Conflans-Saint Honorine college and the French Council of Muslim Worship were present.
Covid forces, this tribute had to be popular but with restrictions. The guests were inside but they distributed projection screens outside the Sorbonne for the public to follow the ceremony from a distance. Among them were students of Professor Paty and their parents, as moved and at the same time terrified as they.
The whole ceremony was organized with the family. They were received on Monday by President Macron at the Elisha palace. They received the posthumous Legion of Honor. He was decorated as Comandeur of the Academic Palms.
A teacher and friend, Christophe Capuano, read the text to Jean Jaurés’s teachers. A reading that concluded with “Adieu Samuel”. Student Dahlia read Albert Camus’s letter to his teacher Louis Germain, the day he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
President Macron delivered a speech on the life of Samuel Paty. An intimate story, supported by his defense of French secularism and freedom of expression. A man who loved books, that his apartment was a library.
But he also reached out to the teachers and teachers, who are afraid to go back to school after these holidays, in the midst of this enormous tension and after the murder of one of their own for teaching the values of the republic. 40 percent of teachers admit that are censored so as not to offend Muslim beliefs.
This nationwide tribute to a professor who embodies his republican principles is also a demonstration of how France has failed in its strategy of curbing Islamist extremism so far.
The words of condemnation, the defense of secularism, of freedom of expression are similar to those that happened after the brutal massacre of the Charlie Hebdo journalists, the attacks on the terraces of the cafes, the beheading of a priest in Normandy . They are images as egregious as they are painfully repeated in secular France in its battle against Islamism.
Each president has chosen a path to combat them. Former President Francois Hollande decided to get directly involved in the war against jihadists in Syria and in the Sahel, where there were many French fighters. Emmanuel Macron followed him in his fight against obscurantism. But the head of state now defines a new world which is that of “Islamist separatism.” It is his way of fighting political Islam, that swarms in a generation of youth without roots, with hatred for the country, copied by radical imams, through the internet or illegal underground mosques in France.
From Le Mureaux, 15 kilometers from where the beheading took place, President Macron announced on October 2 a strategy to “dismantle the counter-society” of political Islam that, in the last 20 years, has expanded in the suburban ghetto that they surround the big French cities. And he chose the republican school for this reconquest.
“The problem is an ideology that maintains that its laws are superior to those of the republic”Said the president. “It will be through the schools that the republic will resist those who want to tear it down,” he suggested.