Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Far-Right French Historian Commits Suicide over Same-Sex Marriage

On May 21st, far-right French historian Dominique Venner shot himself near the altar of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, reports the Independent. According to BBC News, Venner left a note on the altar explaining his suicide as an act "in defense of the traditional family" and part of the "fight against illegal immigration". Venner had been a critic of same-sex marriage in France, which was recently signed into law.

According to Raw Story and BBC News, roughly one hundred Venner supporters gathered near Notre Dame Cathedral on May 21st to mourn his death. Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right Front National, mourned for Venner on Twitter. "“All respect to Dominique Venner whose final, eminently political act was to try to wake up the people of France," she wrote, reports Pink News.

Venner, like other voices among France's far-right, disapproved of same-sex marriage and spoke of an impending "French Spring". In his May 14th blog post, "Les mystères du printemps français" ("The Mysteries of the French Spring"), he disparaged same-sex marriage by arguing that marriage is not about love, but about raising children with a mother and father.
"Il faut rappeler que le mariage n’est pas qu’une question d’amour. Ce n’est pas un simple contrat, c’est une institution en vue des enfants à venir. Il garanti à l’enfant son identité représentée par un vrai père et une vraie mère. C’est ce qu’a voulu annuler la loi Taubira qui remplace le droit des enfants par le droit accordé à des adultes gay de s’offrir des enfants selon les critères de la société de consommation."

("We must remember that marriage is not a matter of love. This is not a simple contract. It is an institution for children to come. It guarantees the child's identity represented by a real father and a real mother. This is [why some] wanted to cancel the Taubira law that replaces the right of children with gay rights granted to adults to provide for children within a consumer society.")

Venner also warned that alleged mafia-like communists and Trotskyists in positions of power put France at risk for civil war.
"Il faut encore se souvenir que la France est le dernier pays au monde (avec la Corée du Nord) où subsiste un parti communiste contrôlant une organisation syndicale puissante fonctionnant comme une mafia usant de violences. Ce parti communiste est l’allié électoral du parti socialiste au pouvoir. Il faut se souvenir aussi que beaucoup de cadres de l’actuel parti socialiste sont d’anciens trotskistes qui disposent d’une influence considérable dans l’Éducation nationale, la Justice et les médias. Cela signifie qu’à la différence de l’Allemagne par exemple, subsiste toujours en France un potentiel de guerre civile qui n’attend qu’une occasion pour s’éveiller."

("It should also be remembered that France is the only country in the world (along with North Korea) where there is still a communist party that controls a powerful union organization operating as a mafia using violence. The Communist Party is the electoral ally of the ruling Socialist Party. It should also be remembered that many executives of the current Socialist Party are former Trotskyists who have considerable influence in the Education, Justice and the media. This means that unlike Germany, for example, still exists in France a potential civil war just waiting for an opportunity to awaken.")

In his final blog post, "La manif du 26 mai et Heidegger" ("The May 26th demonstration and Heidegger"), Venner warned readers about the rise of Islam in Europe. He urged anti-gay protesters set to gather on May 26th to take notice of Islam and launch a "reconquest" of French identity.

"Les manifestants du 26 mai ne peuvent ignorer cette réalité. Leur combat ne peut se limiter au refus du mariage gay. Le « grand remplacement » de population de la France et de l’Europe, dénoncé par l’écrivain Renaud Camus, est un péril autrement catastrophique pour l’avenir.

Il ne suffira pas d’organiser de gentilles manifestations de rue pour l’empêcher. C’est à une véritable « réforme intellectuelle et morale », comme disait Renan, qu’il faudrait d’abord procéder. Elle devrait permettre une reconquête de la mémoire identitaire française et européenne, dont le besoin n’est pas encore nettement perçu.

Il faudra certainement des gestes nouveaux, spectaculaires et symboliques pour ébranler les somnolences, secouer les consciences anesthésiées et réveiller la mémoire de nos origines. Nous entrons dans un temps où les paroles doivent être authentifiées par des actes."

("May 26th protesters cannot ignore this reality. Their struggle cannot be limited to refusal of gay marriage. The "great replacement" population of France and Europe, denounced by the writer Renaud Camus, is another disastrous risk for the future.

It is not enough to organize street protests to prevent it. This is a real "intellectual and moral reform" ... It should allow for a reconquest of the French and European identity and memory, [but] the need [for this] is not yet clearly perceived.

It certainly will require new, spectacular and symbolic gestures to shake the sleepiness, shake anesthetized consciousness, and awaken the memory of our origins. We are entering a time when words must be authenticated by acts.")

The late Venner's writings are unpleasant enough, in that he rejected same-sex marriage, championed a retrograde view of marriage, and framed LGBTQ rights and Islam as inimical to French identity. However, it is Venner's decision to inflict violence upon himself, as well as his inflammatory rhetoric, that worries me. Will Venner's suicide encourage other right-wing French to perform rash acts? Will talk of "French spring" and civil war precede an ugly backlash? I hope not.

I want to believe that such language is bombastic and hyperbolic, as it often is with the American Religious Right. In their frustration over LGBTQ gains, the French far-right may simply be venting their anger through over-the-top language. Only time will tell how LGBTQ progress -- and right-wing antipathy -- will shape France's political landscape.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

BBC News: France reacts to Dominique Venner's shock 'gesture'

Freak Out Nation: Sore Loser: Right-Wing Writer Shoots Himself In The Head After Marriage Equality Passes In France

Truth Wins Out: Anti-Gay Author Dies In Public Suicide to Protest Marriage Equality In France


  1. I thought suicide was just as big a sin as gay sex...

    1. Grundy -- I wonder if right-wing French Catholics will see it that way. If they don't, I'll be face-palming.


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