Two hundred Algerian demonstrators had been clubbed, beaten, strangled and killed, piled like cordwood and then pushed into the Seine in Paris on Oct. 17, 1961. The French government covered up the massacre for years as a means of shoring up white domination in numerical terms while legitimating it in political terms. From the decolonial perspective, race marks and orders the modern nation-state and, in this process, being Muslim is both a religious category and a racial concept. This is most evident in France, where France's racist ideologies have been built upon the repository of its past modes of racialization. A tactic of this racialization is the systematic use of rhetoric and propaganda to paint both black people and Muslims as violent savages inclined to rape. The literature on rape pertaining to blacks and Muslims includes many frameworks, but its historical roots and the sedimentation of this theory within racist discourse cannot be ignored.
Looking at Derrida's ethics, specifically on the force of law and justice, it becomes clear that almost every aspect of a struggle that demands an ethical response in relation to black or Muslim lives is tampered with. Although this may not be news to some, it is disconcerting that the extent of the problem has become so widespread, infiltrating academia, the media – which should be the voice of the voiceless – the work of public intellectuals and statements by opinion leaders obsessed with securing funding rather than continuing the work of justice and ethics. France has never been ethical or just with regard to black lives.
In his writing from French Algeria, Frantz Fanon said: "If psychiatry is the medical technique that aims to enable man no longer to be a stranger to his environment, I owe it to myself to affirm that the Arab, permanently an alien in his own country, lives in a state of absolute depersonalization. … The events in Algeria are the logical consequence of an abortive attempt to decerebralize a people." If anything, the unjust incarceration of professor Tariq Ramadan through the wickedness of certain French elite, members of the judiciary, the collaboration between the French media and Prosecutor François Molins, the "Prosecutor of French Jihadists," as he has been referred to, is indicative of France's fear of blacks and Muslims, not because they are violent, as is falsely claimed, but because they are intelligent, articulate and courageous. France has never liked that these people do not fear white people. This is a challenge to the racist conception of black people as uneducated savages and Muslims as barbarians. These people are what France is desperately trying to negate. In 2007, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a speech in Darkar, Senegal: "The tragedy of Africa is that the African has not fully entered history ... [t]hey have never really launched themselves into the future." But this is not all of it. Ten years later, in 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that Africa was held back by civilizational problems, implying that Africa's failures were due to the characteristics of its people and that poverty was exacerbated by women having many children. In response, journalist Eliza Anyangwe said: "Africans haven't entered history because Europeans keep writing them out of it."
According to Siddharta Mitter, it is obvious that Macron's remarks are racist and "fall into a tradition of grandiloquent and condescending statements about Africa" that deflect from the continent's difficulties as a product of "colonialism and its enduring trace. … There is a long history of population panic and its use in racist ideology." In his writings, Fanon had shown that although France claimed liberty, equality and fraternity, French society was steeped in racial contradictions in which whiteness was the norm and blackness and "Muslimness" is equated with evil. Just as these contradictions existed then, they exist today. Ramadan has been an ethical, eloquent and articulate critic of France's double standards against migrants, refugees, Muslim women, black and Arab French citizens. Ramadan is no apologist and is committed to the pursuit of a just, fair and equal society for all. For this, he has not hesitated to challenge the forked tongues of racist white supremacist politicians and the oppressive Arab puppet rulers who abuse Islam to justify their illegitimate rule. The denial of due process by French courts for Ramadan, a high-profile, Muslim intellectual and respected academic, while high-profile white French men also accused of rape such as the Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin and Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot received supportive coverage from French media and support from Macron and his government, despite Darmanin admitting that he had sex with his accuser, animate these double standards.
Darmanin received a standing ovation in parliament while Ramadan, despite giving concrete proof indicating he was not even in France at the time his accuser accused him of raping her, has been incarcerated in solitary confinement in Fleury-Mérogis Prison in France for more than 28 days. His family and wife have been denied the right to visit him, he was denied bail in spite of his lawyers putting forth all guarantees to consolidate and allay any of the fabricated fears that Ramadan could be a flight risk. Furthermore, despite that more than a dozen cases of rape have surfaced in France since the #MeToo movement, only Ramadan has been jailed while there are formal charges in these other cases. It seems that for France, blacks and Muslims have to adopt white masks to survive in a white society. Ramadan flatly refused this form of assimilation and called on Europeans to "normalize our presence without trivializing it." He was a voice that echoed Malcolm X when he said: "You don't have a revolution in which you are begging the system of exploitation to integrate you into it." Ramadan's unjust incarceration is indicative in my opinion of France's own inferiority complexes and inadequacies, bringing to bear what Jean-Paul Satre wrote in the preface to Frantz Fanon's masterpiece, "The Wretched of the Earth":
"Europeans, you must open this book and enter into it. After a few steps into the darkness you will see strangers gathered around a fire … they will see you, perhaps, but they will go on talking among themselves, without even lowering their voices. This indifference strikes home. … Their sons ignore you; a fire warms them and sheds light around them, and you have not lit it. Now, at a respectful distance, it is you who will feel furtive, nightbound and perished with cold. Turn and turn about; in these shadows from whence a new dawn will break, it is you who are the zombies."
Ramadan's unjust incarceration is reflective of the fear of black and Muslim public intellectuals who challenge France's desperate notion of white superiority.