An op.ed in Le Monde January 20th 2015 on the link between religion and politics

Posted: January 19, 2015

Kindly translated by Timothy Howles (and slightly abridged in Le Monde)
Sometimes artists supply the key to current events before they happen. I’m not referring to the novel of a certain Michel Houellebecq , but rather to the film Timbuktu (directed by Abderrahmane Sissako). In that film we find a local imam resisting jihadists who have come from outside the country. Is this Islam against Islam? No, what we have here is a very ancient Islam confronted by foreigners who show themselves incapable of understanding the history and values of the country on which they have laid their hands, claiming to liberate it by violence, in an act of exploitation. If all this sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because the jihadists are acting towards this venerable city in exactly the same way as the colonizers did in a previous era. Both speak with the indisputable authority of modernizers: ‘you must change your life, radically, right now’. These poor residents, ground down first by colonisation, and then once again by jihadists.