The New Democrats are asking for an emergency debate on the immigration ban ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump.
I am in Paris and passed near the scene of killing on the rue Beaumarchais on Friday evening. I had dinner ten minutes from another target. Everyone I know is safe, but many people I do not know are dead or traumatized or in mourning. It is shocking and terrible. Today the streets were populated in the afternoon, but empty in the evening. The morning was completely still. It seems clear from the immediate discussions after the events on public television that the “state of emergency”, however temporary, does set a tone for an enhanced security state. The questions debated on television include the militarization of the police (how to “complete” the process),, the space of liberty, and how to fight “Islam” – an amorphous entity. Hollande tried to look manly when he declared this a war, but one was drawn to the imitative aspect of the performance so could not take the discourse seriously. And yet, buffoon that he is, he is acting as the head of the army now. The state/army distinction dissolves in the light of the state of emergency. People want to see the police, and want a militarized police to protect them. A dangerous, if understandable, desire. The beneficient aspects of the special powers accorded the sovereign under the state of emergency included giving everyone free taxi rides home last night, and opening the hospitals to everyone affected, also draws them in. There is no curfew, but public services are curtailed, and no demonstrations are allowed. Even the “rassemblements” (gatherings) to grieve the dead were technically illegal. I went to one at the Place de la Republique and the police would announce that everyone must disperse, and few people obeyed. That was for me a brief moment of hopefulness.
But the bombings in Lebanon drew no tweet from Malcolm Turnbull, no social media statement from Barack Obama, no live media blogs from Western media, no wall-to-wall media coverage. And no twitter hashtags from Australians in solidarity with the Lebanese. It’s a curious state of affairs, when you consider that there are around three times as many people of Lebanese descent living in Australian, compared to French nationals. You’d think if we were able to identify with anyone, it would be with Lebanese Australians – after all, so many of them are among the most beloved in this nation, and have contributed enormously to public life