For the people of Nice, all faiths combined and even for those who do not believe in any god, this Notre-Dame de l’Assomption basilica remains and will forever remain the Notre-Dame church. As one would say of an old lady, precisely. With tenderness and love. A place of worship, certainly, but part of the landscape. Who is there like a spring that never runs dry. She resisted everything, solid. The school behind it was destroyed, replaced by a hideous parking lot, leaving generations of adult schoolchildren – and more than that – orphans with a joyful and generous memory. It is a lively district, still popular, where families of various origins come together, as evidenced by the shops – butchers, fruit and vegetables – and restaurants. The church has not moved on this wide avenue coming from the north of the city and which goes down in a straight line to Place Massena, the gateway to Old Nice, caressed by the Mediterranean.
Philippe Vardon, former member of the identity bloc now municipal and regional councilor of the RN, establishes, like his Lepéniste friends, a line of equality between terrorism and immigration.
The Church of Notre-Dame, therefore, flowed for peaceful days, fresh from its cleaned walls – too much, some say -, gracefully erasing the patina of time. A neo-Gothic style building, with two square towers surmounting on either side a large rose window depicting scenes from the mystery of the Assumption. But, above all, built between 1864 and 1868, in a desire to francize the city after the annexation, in 1860, of the county of Nice to France.
“We are at home”, “Islam outside Europe”!
That Thursday, it was October 29, Vincent, the sacristan, opened the doors of the church as usual. In the soft silence of this autumn morning, a few faithful climb the dilapidated steps and rush into semi-darkness in the middle of the bays to meditate. Vincent and two women, Simone and Nadine, perish, beheaded, under the blade of Brahim Issaoui, who arrived clandestinely three days earlier from Tunisia via Italy, guided by a murderous ideology, that of al-Qaida and the so-called organization of the “Islamic State”, Daesh. A bloodthirsty gesture that chills the inhabitants of this neighborhood where many Muslims live with horror. Beyond, the entire city of Nice – already marked by the attack of July 14, 2016 which left 86 dead on the Promenade des Anglais – is found prostrate. France is in shock.
Between Ciotti and Marine Le Pen, when it comes to the security theme, the difference is as thin as a sheet of cigarette paper. They have in common to define insecurity as totally linked to Muslims, making religion the marker of identity.
Very quickly, the right and the local extreme right are unleashed. The very evening of the massacre, a hundred people, gathered via social networks and sheltering behind membership in a supporters’ club of OGC Nice, the South Brigade, however dissolved, organized a demonstration. “We are at home”, “Islam outside Europe”! launch the participants, hands raised. An attitude denounced by the real supporters of the Popular South, who do not want to be confused with the identities of Nice. “We condemn Islamophobic songs”, wanted to clarify their spokesperson, Greg Massabo. Identities recognized by the police and whose connections with the National Front are well known.
A “French Guantanamo”!
Philippe Vardon, former head of the identity bloc, now municipal and regional councilor of the National Rally, regularly pours out his hatred against Muslims, establishing, like his Lepenist friends, a line of equality between terrorism and immigration. Firing on all cylinders, he even asked the leaders of OGC Nice to “break the contract” of the player Youcef Atal, guilty of having “liked” a questionable post, for which he later apologized. “He can no longer wear the colors of the OGC”, added Vardon.
A ground on which Eric Ciotti, LR deputy for Nice, is actively struggling, never lacking shattering statements. The day after the attack, he called for the creation of a “French Guantanamo” and suggested the practice of bone tests on migrants! “I asked the President of the Republic to stop all forms of immigration”, he even told RTL. Between Ciotti and Marine Le Pen, when it comes to the security theme, the difference is as thin as a sheet of cigarette paper. They have in common to define insecurity as totally linked to Muslims, making religion the marker of identity. This is called Islamophobia. In the Alpes-Maritimes, whose history is so marked by migratory flows, especially Italian, the remarks of this parliamentarian could make you smile, were it not for the gravity of things.
A breeding ground for those nostalgic for the oas
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, also LR but Macron trend, a little more refined and nuanced, is not left out. In the columns of World, he supported : “No rights for the enemies of the law. “ And he denounces the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (Cnil) which would prevent him from setting up an extended system of facial recognition. Like Meyer Habib, the UDI deputy and friend of Benyamin Netanyahu, Estrosi asks that France be inspired by the methods of Israel against terrorism… However, when his mentor, the former chief magistrate Jacques Médecin, hosted the congress in April 1990 of the FN and his guest of honor, the former Waffen SS, Franz Schönhuber, he found nothing to complain about. In this good city of Nice, if the Communist Party was created with the help of the Italian anti-fascists, who came to take refuge not far from the border, the followers of Duce were also widely present.
The whole security taking the place of politics and electoral argument, useless and impossible for Christian Estrosi to consider other orientations, in particular in the elementary schools for which he is responsible, in particular in the popular districts which he stigmatizes regularly.
In Nice, even in the Alpes-Maritimes, right, extreme right and extreme right hold the upper hand. With, to varying degrees, the same propaganda against migrants, who would be guilty of all evils, it being understood that, in their language, a migrant is first and foremost a Muslim. The same people pretend to be worried about knowing the second department in France in number of young people who have gone to jihad in Syria or Iraq. They want to ignore that at the end of the 1990s, many members of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) and the Islamic Armed Group (GIA) had obtained political refugee status on the pretext that they had been threatened by an Algerian state. hated by those nostalgic for the OAS who were very present in Nice. In this same country, Algeria, the Democrats were assassinated by these Islamists without receiving visas, while in France, some dared to ask: “Who kills who?” “, thus exonerating political Islam. Fundamentalists who very quickly opened prayer rooms for incendiary and obscurantist sermons, far from the usual tranquility of Muslims.
The whole security taking the place of politics and electoral argument, useless and impossible for Christian Estrosi to consider other orientations, in particular in the elementary schools for which he is responsible, in particular in the popular districts which he stigmatizes regularly. In March, on the pretext of the Covid, he had decreed a curfew for the city, advanced by two hours in these same neighborhoods. Anne-Laure, a teacher in Saint-Charles, eastern district of Nice, recalls the disappearance of community life, the discovery of the radicalization that is taking hold, of the “disappeared” kids because the whole family left for Syria. But, above all, it points to the municipal failures for the supervision of schoolchildren. “It took me six years to get curtains in the windows to be able to use the projector properly. While we are in REP + (priority education network), the CPs have been duplicated, but as there is no construction of rooms, we had to use those dedicated to computers and the visual arts ”, denounces she does.
Five years to get an electrical outlet in a classroom
For Thomas, a teacher too, in the Risso district, “Estrosi is safe posting, but when childminders, Asem, are absent, they are not replaced. We are asking the town hall for resources, but we have nothing. It took me five years to get more outlets added to a venue. ” He speaks of “low cost school.” Even with PWRs, the means are not there. So we cannot solve the problems of the ghetto ”.
Educational advisor in Nice until the last school year, Marianne Baby deplores the attitude of the municipality. “After the attacks of 2016, the town hall raised the gates of schools and placed warning posts, but there was no social work in the neighborhoods with associations and by putting the means there. There has been no investment in this area. “ The consequences are dramatic.
In the northern districts of Nice, where underprivileged populations live in great difficulty, secular associations have disappeared, giving way to a structure “which was under the control of religious. But it was the only place to welcome kids after school. It is directly a lack of investment by the municipality. So many neighborhoods where it would have been necessary to invest in people, ”she denounces.
The day after the assassinations, the collective of traders and inhabitants of Muslim origin of the Notre-Dame district, as they define themselves, laid a wreath in front of the church to denounce, as their spokesperson, Hocine Jamouli said. ,“A despicable and odious attack. Beyond our origins and our religious choices, we are first and foremost citizens attached to the common values of our Republic. For us, there is only one community, it is the national community, and we are proud to be part of it ”.