Lhe death of a child is the worst tragedy a parent can experience. The death of Lola, 12, kidnapped, raped, killed, then found in a trunk in the 19e arrondissement of Paris on October 15, is appalling for those close to the girl, but also for society as a whole.
That thousands of people made a point of expressing their support for the bereaved family throughout the weekend in Pas-de-Calais, that the funeral, scheduled for Monday October 24, constituted a moment of intense emotion, did not nothing but human. Everyone can feel concerned, touched, in their own way, by a tragedy whose victim belongs to the category of the population supposed to be protected most strongly by the community: minors.
But if the emotion is highly understandable, the political exploitation that was made of this murder revolted. As soon as the Algerian nationality of the suspect, Dahbia B., 24, was known, Eric Zemmour’s party bought Internet domain names with the first name of the little victim. And Jordan Bardella, acting president of the National Rally, practiced the amalgam by depending on the death of Lola to the tributes of Emmanuel Macron to the Golden Ball Karim Benzema, Frenchman of Algerian origin, and to the Algerian demonstrators killed by the French police on October 17, 1961 in Paris. That it took Lola’s parents to call themselves a halt to the political use of their child’s name to halt the clawback speaks volumes about the degree of cynicism at work.
The political use of atrocious “news items” is far from being a new phenomenon in France. To justify fear and justify security discourse, or to direct vengeance on a minority of the population. In 1973, in Marseilles, the murder of a bus driver by an unbalanced Algerian caused hate articles and led to the death of about twenty Algerians in “ratonnades”.
This rhetoric consisting in stigmatizing a murderer because of his origins, or even in explaining his crime by them, remains at work. In a context where identity reflexes, still fueled by the memories of the Algerian war, increasingly serve as political stock in trade, exploitation reaches an even more scandalous degree: without knowing anything specific or about the profile nor on the motive of the suspected murderer, the extreme right, and some on the right, seek to present her act as racial, religious, even civilizational. A dangerous process of essentialization which claims that the drama is not because of what a woman has done but because of what she is: an Algerian woman in an irregular situation subject to an “obligation to leave French territory”.
The very weak enforcement of laws governing the deportation of “undocumented” people is a political problem that deserves debate and demands answers. That Lola’s death brings it to light makes sense. But for a little girl’s ordeal to be used to fuel controversy is not decent. The outrage caused by such a murder is independent of the nationality of both the victim and the alleged perpetrator.
If the murder of Lola is likely to raise a question of society, it is, according to the testimonies of her relatives, that of criminal responsibility. A file much more complex than the designation of “immigrants” as scapegoats or the exploitation of a popular emotion which does not belong to anyone.