In the eastern countries of the EU, France has become the poster child of what not to do when it comes to immigration. So, as a Frenchman, on the approach of the referendum in Poland on the admission of thousands of illegal immigrants from Africa and the Middle East, I'm being asked about the level of violence caused by illegal immigration in France.
The questions are not about the link between immigration and insecurity. For the vast majority of citizens in that part of Europe, political correctness is not so prevalent. President Macron’s reminder that in Paris "at least half of delinquency comes from foreigners" caused a scandal in France – but the above fact is self-evident in those countries. You have to understand that in Poland, for example, you can leave your jacket on the coat rack in a restaurant without worrying, a girl in a miniskirt can go anywhere at any time, there are no muggings for a "wrong look", no car fires, no attacks on firemen, doctors or postmen, no riots, no ransacking, and there are virtually no "sensitive neighbourhoods", even though the inhabitants are much less wealthy than in France. In fact, the questions are rather about the real level of insecurity and the reason for the French remaining so passive and tolerating all this, and about the issue of bad conscience faced by Catholics when they need to defy the appeals of Pope Francis calling for making migrants welcome.
Answering their questions is heartbreaking for me, because I've seen how France has been transformed by illegal immigration in a generation. It's a real torture to have to go through the litany of figures for insecurity in France, which are simply stratospheric, and to expose the horrific 'incidents' linked to that uncontrolled immigration. To be honest, for some time now I've been trying not to take any more interest in it, so much so that it provokes in me indignation, sadness, revolt and a feeling of total powerlessness. Especially since, unlike the Poles and despite the fact that 70% of French people would like to see a halt to immigration, we have never been consulted by our leaders, who allow the equivalent of the city of Nice to enter France every year. So to save myself unnecessary irritation, I invite my interlocutors to read my analysis of insecurity in France published in January 2023, its mind-boggling figures, and the long list (far from exhaustive) of barbaric acts attributed to migrants, just for the month of January 2023 (LINK). Alas, surely because of those questions, this month I couldn't stop my mind getting caught up in tweets relating to this kind of news item. First the rape of a journalist by 3 Afghans, then the rape of a 29-year-old woman in a small French town, Cherbourg, which was so barbaric that a psychological unit had to be set up for the victim's carers. And finally, the lack of reaction from the French Prime Minister, who had not a word to say for this young woman, but at the same time tweeted the following: "a boat full of migrants has capsized off the coast of Calais. My thoughts are with the victims", concluding that she was sending the Secretary of State for the Sea to the scene.
More generally, it has to be said that French elites and journalists love to be indignant about the abortion ban in Poland, but their silence on violence against 'ordinary' women in France is deafening. You'll hear them vigorously supporting 'MeToo', which mainly concerns celebrities, but when it comes to the correlation between the increase in sexual violence and the increase in illegal immigration - nothing, zero, nada. Worse still, they are doing everything they can to discredit the few studies in Europe that show the well-documented over-representation of immigrants in violence in general, and sexual violence in particular. Yet you only have to look at the figures from Eurostat and INSEE to see that the number of cases of sexual violence is increasing in countries that are also experiencing an increase in illegal immigration, and that immigrants are over-represented there. Just compare the extremes: France is the country most lenient with illegal immigration and Poland the least. In 2019, there were 28 times as many rapes in France as in Poland. In relation to the respective populations of the 2 countries, this makes 16 times as many rapes in France. And we all know why. The point here is not to stigmatise a population, or to make a value judgement, but to note the clash between our Western civilisation and the Islamic civilisation, where women are deemed inferior to men and their relations with men outside the family circle are strictly forbidden. It is particularly irresponsible to allow young men from remote corners of the world, with their medieval Islamic customs, to enter illegally and with impunity our countries, where naked women are advertised to sell soap, girls smoke, drink alcohol and dance suggestively in miniskirts in full view of everyone. There can only be tragedies, and women are the first victims. I can already hear the deniers of the obvious replying that I'm confusing concomitance with causality. They may have a point, as the people responsible for this situation are our European societies, so gorged on benefits that they no longer see any point in continuing to develop and protect themselves, and are in such a spiritual and intellectual void that nature, which abhors a vacuum, can't help but fill it. I think that this is precisely what Pope Francis has observed.
In Francis' speeches, calls to welcome migrants are omnipresent. It's true that the subject of welcoming foreigners is recurrent in the Bible, but it's hard to draw a universal lesson from the Old Testament because the situations and responses are so varied. In the New Testament, the Holy Family takes refuge in Egypt to escape Herod. The big difference between this flight to Egypt and today's migrants, apart from the fact that the Holy Family returned home, is that there was a serious threat to the life of the Infant Jesus. This is not the case for the vast majority of foreigners who come to Europe. Algerians, Moroccans, Tunisians, Malians, Turks, etc., apart from very exceptional cases, are not in danger in their own countries. Syrians and Afghans are not in danger in their first host countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Iran and so on. They are even in countries that are closer to them culturally, and it is in these countries that we should be helping them.
In my opinion, when talking on the issue of immigration, Pope Francis is expressing a political opinion rather than a doctrinal one, and can therefore make mistakes. Francis is not European, but South American. When you look at his pontificate, he has been kind to all leaders, even the most horrible ones, with the single exception of Donald Trump, who rejected South American migrants. The Church's influence in the world can only increase with the growing proportion of Latin American Catholics in the population of the world's leading power. On the other hand, Europe, especially when compared with the Americas, Africa and Asia, has become an atheist continent. It will be much easier to turn the United States into a Catholic power than to re-Christianise Europe. What's more, bringing in migrants from Africa, a continent where atheism is considered an aberration by almost the entire population, will help to water our continent, which has become so arid. You may say that I have a far too cynical view of Pope Francis, but I would reply with this charming Polish joke: Francis visits Benedict XVI. He sees his predecessor's library and exclaims: "Benedict, have you read all these books? The Pope Emeritus replied: "No, dear Francis, I wrote them".
A decade ago we were told that manual jobs would disappear and that only professions with a strong creative or intellectual character would remain. But with the revolution in Artificial Intelligence (AI), such as ChatGPT or Mid-journey, it seems that journalists, lawyers, computer scientists, analysts, doctors, cartoonists, webmasters, actors, authors, scriptwriters and artists are also likely to disappear en masse.
The situation of the Catholic Church in France is particularly worrying. The number of priests has been gradually decreasing for several years. In the early 1960s, there were 41,000 priests in office. In 1995, there were 29,000, and in 2020 half that number, or about 14,000. What is more, half of the French priests are over 75 years old. Every year now between 600 and 700 priests leave, and their departure is far from being compensated for by the few hundred new priests who take up their duties.