21st century conflict: Andre Malraux’s prediction from 1956

The French newsweekly Marianne has featured excellent analyses of the Charlie Hebdo and Kosher supermarket attacks. Some of them are in abridged form on the magazine’s new website.

One of their journalists, Eric Conan, looked at the development of radical Islam (16-22 January 2015 issue, p. 16):

After a century of colonial domination, with no leadership since the end of the last caliphate in 1924, the Islamic world was once again in flux, torn between partisans of modernity (a Turkish or Tunisian version of Islam) and those who wanted a return to the glorious past of centuries of rapid expansion by sword and hunting down infidels.

He added that André Malraux understood that events in the 21st century would revolve around this conflict.

Conan says that the author and first Minister of Cultural Affairs never uttered the words often attributed to him:

The 21st century will be religious or it won’t happen.

He went on to cite what Malraux wrote in 1956:

The big phenomenon of our era is the violence of the Islamic eruption. Underestimated by most of our contemporaries, this rise of Islam can be compared analogically to the early days of communism from Lenin’s time. The consequences of this phenomenon are still unpredictable …

Africa will not be unaffected by this phenomenon for long … The Western world hardly seems prepared to confront this problem.

This morning’s RMC talk show discussion revolved around the violence and insularity in France’s poor suburbs. Mohammed Chirani, a consultant in public policy who was closely involved with this demographic between 2009 and 2013, says that those who live there must stop denying the reality of their situation.

He told the other panellists on Les Grandes Gueules that he could not put all of the stark truth in his book Réconciliation Française because most readers would have found it too alarming.

Chirani said that whilst the government can implement programmes in schools to help integrate these children into society, no real progress can be made until families admit that life in these suburbs is violent and dysfunctional. Violence in the streets and at home — notional conflict resolution — will lead some youths to pursue religious extremism. This can stop only when residents of these areas admit they have a problem and start changing their behaviour.

He posited that this continued denial has also led to the many conspiracy theories about the Paris attacks now circulating in households in these vulnerable areas. Teachers emailing RMC — and commenting online elsewhere — reveal that students of all ages are convinced the attacks did not happen as shown on television news. These children receive their news from a handful of popular conspiracy sites and from what their parents tell them.

Clearly, much work needs to be done, but a government educational programme on French values is unlikely to help.

Chirani and his colleagues in the Radicalisation Awareness Network will probably be able to do more. I wish them much success.

12 comments for “21st century conflict: Andre Malraux’s prediction from 1956

  1. JohnM
    January 22, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    In 1973 Jean Raspail wrote “The Camp of the Saints”. This, to, was a prophetic novel which showed what would happen if the ‘bleeding heart’ liberals did not face-up to uncontrolled immigration.

    It is truly a frightening novel which has come true (although in a different form) in my lifetime.

    Well worth a read.

    • January 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm


      I’ve heard of the book but not read it because, as you say, the story has come true.

      It is difficult enough to read news reports about landings on Lampedusa and the recent rescue in the south of Italy. Refugees complain about Italian food or sandwiches, the clothes they receive and so on. It seems they show little gratitude for what volunteers are tirelessly doing for them.

  2. Viscount Rectum
    January 23, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Read in interesting article in the Mail by Littlejohn who quoted Winston Churchill —Mohammedism (Islam) is a militant proselytising faith as dangerous to man as hydrophobia in a dog,

  3. January 23, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Another excellent piece, CM. Thank you.

    • January 24, 2015 at 12:12 am

      You’re most welcome, James.

  4. Ed P
    January 23, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    This morning’s RMC talk show…insularity in France’s poor suburbs.

    The living conditions in these insular suburbs cannot be too bad, or the people would go elsewhere, perhaps even back to their (or their parents’) original countries. As positive social interventions have been largely ineffectual, maybe it’s time to offer generous state help and encouragement for those wishing to repatriate.

    • January 24, 2015 at 12:21 am

      They get a lot of taxpayer — ‘government’ — help.

      I was shocked to see the crowd around the housing/family benefits office in Cannes, of all places, four years ago. Astounding. It looked awful.

      It wasn’t as bad in 2013, but perhaps there had been complaints from shops in the nearby vicinity. A different schedule for appointments might have been instituted since 2011.

      On RMC’s Eric Brunet lunchtime show one caller rang in to say that the French government owes the taxpayers an itemisation of how their money is spent in this manner. Of course, post-massacre, more money is being allocated. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Comments are closed.