VScelebrate foreigners or point fingers at them? Two months after having pushed to pass a law reinforcing the idea that immigration is a major challenge for France without providing a real response, and depriving foreigners in a legal situation of certain social rights – a provision ultimately canceled by the Constitutional Council -, Emmanuel Macron will chair, on February 21, the ceremony marking the entry into the Pantheon of Missak Manouchian and his companion Mélinée, two immigrants, heroes of the Resistance.
Precisely eighty years after his execution at Mont-Valérien by the Nazis, the leader of the Francs-tireurs et partisans de la main d’immigrante (FTP-MOI) in 1943, a communist resistance organization bringing together foreigners and stateless people , whose figure entered the collective memory through the poem of Aragon Stanzas to remember (1955) set to music under the title The Red Poster by Léo Ferré (1961), is celebrated as a “great man” who left his mark on the history of France.
The “pantheonization” of Missak Manouchian, the reminder of his martyrdom and that of his twenty-two executed comrades-in-arms falls explicitly into the context of a country fragmented and torn by the question of identity under the pressure of far right. “The role that I have assigned to myself is to hold the country togetherdeclared in December 2023 at World Emmanuel Macron on the future ceremony. In the fight we are waging against obscurantism, we must maintain, educate and promote symbols, like Manouchian. »
The contradiction between the direction given to the debate on immigration and the tribute to immigrant resistance fighters can only be of concern. Like Pierre Ouzoulias, senator (PCF) and grandson of a leader of the Parisian Resistance, we can both see in this sequence the limit of the Macronian “at the same time”, and recognize in the celebration of the militants of the Show red, a gesture of immense symbolic significance. “ We can die for France when we are not French”summarizes the elected communist.
A love of France
This tribute to the part taken by foreigners in the defense of the universal values of a Republic which is not necessarily welcoming towards them is full of meaning in our era of resurgence of xenophobia. Missak Manouchian, a survivor of the Armenian genocide and a stateless person who arrived in France in 1924, applied in vain for French nationality twice, in 1933 and then in January 1940, while he was a volunteer in the army. Of the thousand resistance fighters shot by the occupiers at Mont-Valérien, 185 were foreigners, a proportion much higher than their place in the population.
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