General Pierre de Villiers, who was chief of staff of the French Armed Forces before he resigned from the post at the beginning of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, is the latest of a series of top officials in France who have warned against a looming civil war due to mass immigration.
In an interview with Le Parisien published on Dec. 5, General de Villiers said that he fears France “could fall slowly or very rapidly” into a “civil war” that could be ignited by “a spark like in 1789”. This time, however, problems are of a different nature. They are linked to the fact that France has become a country where “a teacher gets beheaded in front of a middle school and three persons are assassinated while praying in a church.”
According to de Villiers, it will take “three, four, or five generations” to solve France’s problems with its migrant population and “win back those 20-year-olds who hate France, and who are close to the local kingpins or the Salafist.”
France’s former chief of staff had already warned against the danger of a civil war in France during an interview on RTL radio in October.
“I don’t understand how we can put all French people on lockdown for eight weeks, and we can’t expel an imam who preaches against France all day long,” he said at the time. Talking about Islamic terrorism in France, De Villiers also said that he did not understand “why we do not regulate our immigration flows because each time — and we can observe this very well with these most recent terrorist attacks — they are foreigners who come to our country.”
Last year, President Emmanuel Macron himself alluded to the possibility of a civil war in France, which could be sparked by “confusions made between the issues of immigration, radicalization, communitarianism, and laicity.” Macron was reacting to a speech by the French philosopher and journalist Éric Zemmour at the “Convention of the Right.” In that speech, Zemmour had very harsh words against mass immigration and France being targeted by two totalitarian ideologies that have signaled a new kind of Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact: Islam and liberalism.
The French president was also reacting to several center-right opposition leaders referring to a “war of civilizations” on French territory and to radical Islam, or Islamism, acting like gangrene on French society.
In Macron’s eyes, France is sitting on a powder keg, and it looks like this would justify limiting freedom of expression in order to avoid an uncontrolled explosion. Macron’s reflexive urge to curb free speech appears to serve as implicit recognition that mass immigration and multiculturalism promoted by liberals will eventually lead, if not to civil war, then a least to a curb on freedoms enjoyed by Europeans.
French authorities now talk of the need for a “Republican Reconquista” in “districts lost by the Republic,” which are districts and cities inhabited by immigrants or their descendants. Many of these areas are no longer safe for women to walk in freely, with many of them facing verbal harassment and even assault for simply dressing a certain way.
In October 2018, when handing over his function as interior minister to Prime Minister Édouard Philippe after he had resigned because of deepening discrepancies with Emmanuel Macron, Gérard Collomb, a Socialist, talked of a ghettoization of migrant districts and warned: “Today we live side by side and, as I always say, I fear that tomorrow we will live face to face”.
In February of the same year, the then minister of the interior had told journalists from the Valeurs Actuelles conservative weekly how worried he was about the situation in France: “What I read every morning in police reports reflects a very pessimistic situation. Relations between people are very harsh, people don’t want to live together”.
“What is the share of responsibility of immigration?” the journalists then asked. “It’s enormous and this is why we wanted to change the law,” Collomb answered.
Reacting to the journalist’s remark that the bill he referred to was only about illegal immigration, while over 200,000 immigrants still come legally to France each year, Collomb assented: “This is true. We are acting step by step, but this remains a problem”. Some estimates put the total number of migrants entering France every year at 400,000, which Nicholas Bay, a deputy in Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party, has said is unsustainable.
The former French interior minister then went on to say that France does not need immigration anymore, that “communities in France fight against one another, and it’s becoming very violent.” He said that he fears a partition of the country or some sort of secession within parts of the country.
How much time is there left to stop that process? Valeurs Actuelles posed that question to Collomb in February 2018.
“It is hard to assess, but I would say that within five years the situation could become irreversible. Yes, we have five or six years left to avoid the worst,” he answered.
Macron’s predecessor in the Élysée, while presiding over the same kind of mass-immigration policies, also shared his fears of civil war while talking to journalists. His words come from a book published in 2016 with the title “A President Shouldn’t Say That”, and he has never denied them. In his talks with the two authors — journalists from left-wing, pro-immigration Le Monde — Hollande talked of “an accumulation of potential bombs linked to an immigration that is going on,” and to which most French people are opposed, as he acknowledged.
Hollande also talked of the ongoing “communitarization, segmentation, ethnicization” of France, and said, “I think there are too many arrivals of immigrants who should not be here.”
“How can we avoid a partition?” Hollande asked rhetorically. He then answered that “this is what is happening: a partition.”