France and Islam in paintings.. the liberal republic hostile to freedom of belief
The likely candidate for the French presidency, Eric Zemmour, announced, in frank racist language, that officially broke all taboos, in the words of German radio, Deutsche Welle, that he would rid France of the veil and robes that represent “the uniform of an occupying army.”
Zemmour is not the first to express his outright hatred for Islam and Muslims. Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally party, likened the Friday prayers of Muslim citizens on the streets to the “Nazi occupation of France.”
And it’s not just the far right. President Emmanuel Macron of the liberal centrist Republican Party has made anti-Islam statements several times. He emphasized that caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace) should not stop. The statements of Zemmour, Le Pen, Macron and others are no exception, just the tip of the iceberg.
The French Republic in particular has a long history with Islam and Muslims. There are a large number of paintings that recorded the nature of that relationship over the centuries. Most of these paintings were painted by French Orientalists who could not be biased in any way to the Arabs and Muslims against their own people.
The French campaign against Egypt and the Levant
Napoleon Bonaparte (whom Zamour considers his role model) invaded Egypt on July 1, 1798, under the pretext of liberating the region from the control of the Mamluks. Pyramids.
The French painter Antoine Gross (1771-1835), in a painting of the same name, depicted the defeat of the Egyptians in a humiliating way, as Bonaparte appears on a white horse in a stylized military uniform and the French soldiers around him trample the Egyptians with horses and strike them with swords, while most of the Egyptians in the painting are asking mercy.
The painting is painted in a classic way in which Grosse was concerned with showing the quality of clothes and fabrics, the dynamism of movement, and the drama of events that show the assured victory of the French over the original inhabitants, the Egyptians.
The Egyptians did not give up though. The “First Cairo Revolution” broke out against the French forces, but it was suppressed with the utmost brutality. Bonaparte chased the revolutionaries in the streets and forced them to withdraw and fortified the Great Mosque, then ordered the Al-Azhar Mosque to be hit with artillery. He also ordered the execution of sheikhs and imams who encouraged the people to resist the French invaders.
The French painter Anne-Louis Giroud Triosson (1767-1824) portrayed – in his famous painting “Revolution in Cairo”The moment the French invaders entered the Great Mosque. The painting shows the brutal manner in which the invaders dealt with the people of this country.
reviews Website “History of a Picture”, of the French Ministry of Culture, depicted the painting, saying that the fighting of the French was “fierce” and that the Egyptians holed up in the mosque were “rebels”.
The matter was no less bad in the Levant, where the French army seized and plundered Jaffa under the command of Bonaparte on the seventh of March 1799. He also besieged Acre for two months, but lifted the siege after the bubonic plague struck a number of his soldiers, and he withdrew as a result of that to return to Egypt.
The French campaign in Egypt lasted only 3 years, but the invasion of Algeria in 1830 marked the beginning of 132 years of occupation. Louis Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon I, became Emperor of the French as Napoleon III in December 1852.
Under his banner, the French army expelled the Ottoman garrisons from Algeria and then launched an all-out war that crushed the local resistance led by Emir Abdelkader in 1847. Thus, France annexed Algeria as a “French colony.” In that colony, the occupying power committed countless war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
After the occupation denied Emir Abdel Qader to Damascus, he saw that torturing and killing any group trying to revolution would make them an example if others thought the same thing. However, the Algerians did not give up. The resistance, led by Boumaza, the so-called Sharif Muhammad bin Abdullah, who led the uprising of the West in the Al-Wancharis Mountains and its suburbs, inflicted heavy losses on the invaders.
Which made Bouaza wanted him and everyone who supported him. The French army received direct orders from General Thomas Robert Peugeot, the commander of the forces in Algeria at the time, to get rid of all the obstacles that included the obstacle to the tribes embracing these revolutionaries and covering them up to protect them.
Peugeot sent 5 military convoys to the area where Boumaza and the Revolutionary Corps are stationed in the Dahra Mountains to besiege it. The soldiers followed the scorched earth policy imposed by Peugeot. Entire tribes were massacred and large areas were burned, including the inhabitants.
To name a few, the occupation committed according to a scorched-earth policy: the Al-Awfia tribe massacre of 1832, the Awlad Riah massacre of 1845, the Laghouat massacre of 1852, the massacres of May 8, 1945, the massacre of May 12, 1956, the suppression of the December 11, 1960 demonstrations, The suppression of the demonstrations of October 17, 1961 in Paris.
It is worth noting that most of the paintings that recorded the French massacres in Algeria now adorn the halls of the Palace of Versailles. The “History of Sora” website provides profiles of these paintings to remind the glories of France, which, according to the site’s description, “performed a glorious military epic for the July monarchy and then for the Second Republic.”
One of these paintings is entitled “The Siege of Zaatasha” by Jean-Adolphe Bossuet (1818-1875). It shows the people of the oasis of Zaatcha in the outskirts of Biskra in southern Algeria resisting the invaders. France has exterminated this entire population, and their number was 13,000.
France’s position on Islam has not fundamentally changed since the campaigns of Bonaparte. Other than the headscarf ban, the marginalization of Muslims, who represent 8% of the population, has led to widespread unemployment among them, which Jean-Pierre Filiu, professor of Middle Eastern studies at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, considers a major reason for some French Muslims’ tendency towards violence.