The vanity politicians rarely reflect the concerns of the nations they lead. But no European leader has been so disconnected with reality than France’s Francois Hollande. How will he go down in history? As the president under whom the country was most vulnerable to terrorism, or the president with expensive haircuts? As France and the rest of the civilised world mourn Nice, the image at the helm is of Hollande getting a haircut.
Last week, the press outed Hollande’s personal hairdresser, who was paid a monthly salary of 8,000 euros (about Rs 6 lakh) to groom the president’s receding hairline. The government’s response to this hair-raising revelation was that the barber was making a personal sacrifice by cutting Hollande’s hair, because he had to shut his salon. France would’ve spent Rs 4.5 crore by the time a new president boards the bus.
After the bus attack in Nice, the French see the president’s actions as purely cosmetic. The response of PM Manuel Valls was that France better “live with it (terror)”. The government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had precipitated the situation by allowing the Syrian exodus into her country, had prevented the media from publishing stories about the rapes and molestation of German women by Muslim immigrants. In Germany alone, 1,200 women were victimised, mostly by North African migrants.
Patrick Calvar, chief of the Directorate General of Internal Security, warned that just one more major Islamist terror attack after Nice will lead to mass uprising and civil war in France. Members of a French parliamentary commission investigating the November 13 Bataclan concert hall massacre were horrified by the testimony of police and survivors of the massacre. The three Wahhabist killers tortured hostages, gouging out their eyes, castrating them and shoving their testicles in their mouths. Some victims were disemboweled. The genitals of women hostages were slashed. The macabre nightmare was filmed as the torture continued, as material for inclusion in Daesh propaganda videos.
The civilised world is slowly waking up to the fact that they are facing an enemy, which belongs to some dark primitive age. The terrorists want all of humanity to be brought under the Shariah. The few reports on life under ISIS show streets full of horrifying mementos: severed heads on spikes, innocents writhing on crosses, and corpses of women stoned to death.
The truth is that many of the ISIS recruits are educated and come from middle-class urban families, like the young men from Dhaka and those who have gone to Raqqa from Kerala. In a society that has grown soft, these young men and women get the opportunity to wield the power of life and death over human beings. Their sadism, sanctioned by an implacable version of god, is gratified by primitive bloodlust. They reject all that is modern, except their weaponry, which are of Riussian, Chinese and American make.
The civil war predicted by Calvar may soon become a Western reality. The irony is that once most of the countries wounded by terror had refused Narendra Modi a visa, accusing him of complicity in the Gujarat riots. But terrorists aren’t giving up. And they already have visas.