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Emmanuel Macron France museum Terrorism News

France is building a museum about the horrors of terrorism

Including the terrorists in the museum is a sensitive theme

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody
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In the past ten years, terrorist attacks in France have claimed nearly 300 lives and about a 1,000 more injured, with the vast majority of these attacks coming at the hands of Islamic extremists. The country most affected by Islamist extremism in Europe wants to deal with the trauma by building a new museum.

France has experienced 50 terrorist attacks in the last ten years, with the massacres at concerts, seaside promenades, or Christmas markets, leaving the country deeply shaken.

A new museum of the horrors of terrorism is designed to heal the wounds, but opponents of French President Emmanuel Macron said a museum is not what the country really needs, but instead effective border control, a reduction in immigration, deportation, and a focus on battling extremism.

The museum aims to preserve the memory of the collective trauma of recent years, to map the development of a terrible phenomenon over the centuries, to reportedly to help the French “cope” with the fact that their lives are often under threat from the next terrorist attack, according to Czech news portal Idnes.cz.

After all, it has not been half a year since the murder of the Parisian teacher Samuel Paty shook the whole world, involving an 18-year-old Chechen radical who cut off Paty’s head for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to students during a lecture on freedom of speech. Just two weeks later, a young Tunisian murdered three people at a basilica in Nice.

Some French have become fatalistic about reversing terrorism in the country, claiming nothing can be done to make the “phenomenon” vanish.

“The very fact that we are creating a memorial museum while the phenomenon of terrorism has no chance of vanishing in the years to come is a way of showing our capacity to take a step back,” said historian Henry Rousso, who oversees the project.

“It is a form of resistance through culture, knowledge, intelligence, and the transmission of experiences,” added an expert in modern French history, who was also involved in the construction of the Normandy Landing Monument and the Shoah Monument in Paris.

Countries such as Hungary have had security experts argue there that the lack of Islamic terrorist attacks the country experiences has to do with 

Terrorists in a display case? A thorny issue

The opening of the museum, which President Emmanuel Macron promised to build three years ago, is planned for 2027. The location will be decided next spring, and it is likely to be built in the Paris area.

The exhibition will include a list of the names of all victims of terrorism in France and the French who died in attacks abroad. Researchers are already collecting suitable exhibits: messages sent by victims to their loved ones in the last moments of their lives, poems and drawings left at piety sites, documents from court trials.

The exhibition is supposed to begin in 1974, when the Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, known as Carlos or Jackal, carried out an assassination in a Paris department store.

The perpetrators will also have their place in the museum. This already raises the question of whether the authors of the project are inadvertently glorifying them.

Henry Rousso denies this. He believes that terrorists cannot be left out of the memorial.

“It is a history museum. When we do one on Nazism, we have to mention Himmler and Hitler,“ explained the historian.

According to him, however, he is well aware that this is a sensitive topic for many survivors and promises that terrorists will not be depicted with guns in hand, but rather in handcuffs in court.

Title image: French President Emmanuel Macron, second right, meets families after paying homage to victims of the March 15, 2012 terrorism attack after the 26th French-Spanish summit at the Montauban cemetery, southern France, Monday, March 15, 2021. French gunman Mohammed Merah killed three soldiers on March 11 and 15, 2012 in Toulouse and Montauban, before shooting three children and a teacher at a Jewish school on March 19. (AP Photo/Frederic Scheiber, Pool)

Some French have become fatalistic about reversing terrorism in the country, claiming nothing can be done to make the “phenomenon” vanish.

“The very fact that we are creating a memorial museum while the phenomenon of terrorism has no chance of vanishing in the years to come is a way of showing our capacity to take a step back,” said historian Henry Rousso, who oversees the project.

“It is a form of resistance through culture, knowledge, intelligence, and the transmission of experiences,” added an expert in modern French history, who was also involved in the construction of the Normandy Landing Monument and the Shoah Monument in Paris.

Countries such as Hungary have had security experts argue there that the lack of Islamic terrorist attacks the country experiences has to do with 

Terrorists in a display case? A thorny issue

The opening of the museum, which President Emmanuel Macron promised to build three years ago, is planned for 2027. The location will be decided next spring, and it is likely to be built in the Paris area.

The exhibition will include a list of the names of all victims of terrorism in France and the French who died in attacks abroad. Researchers are already collecting suitable exhibits: messages sent by victims to their loved ones in the last moments of their lives, poems and drawings left at piety sites, documents from court trials.

The exhibition is supposed to begin in 1974, when the Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, known as Carlos or Jackal, carried out an assassination in a Paris department store.

The perpetrators will also have their place in the museum. This already raises the question of whether the authors of the project are inadvertently glorifying them.

Henry Rousso denies this. He believes that terrorists cannot be left out of the memorial.

“It is a history museum. When we do one on Nazism, we have to mention Himmler and Hitler,“ explained the historian.

According to him, however, he is well aware that this is a sensitive topic for many survivors and promises that terrorists will not be depicted with guns in hand, but rather in handcuffs in court.

Title image: French President Emmanuel Macron, second right, meets families after paying homage to victims of the March 15, 2012 terrorism attack after the 26th French-Spanish summit at the Montauban cemetery, southern France, Monday, March 15, 2021. French gunman Mohammed Merah killed three soldiers on March 11 and 15, 2012 in Toulouse and Montauban, before shooting three children and a teacher at a Jewish school on March 19. (AP Photo/Frederic Scheiber, Pool)