General Jean-Michel Thomas, President

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A word from the President of the CID on 2 May 2021 

This year again we accompanied from a distance the authorities who, on the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, bowed with these numerous wreaths to the memory of all victims

Our memorial invokes the example of those who were exterminated in the fight against Nazism and calls for the unity of the survivors in the defence of peace, freedom and respect for the human person. It is a useful exercise to reflect on the ambitious goals of this exhortation.

To salute the progress made since 1945, under the auspices of the United Nations. In Dachau, the mother house of the concentration camp system, prisoners were not recognised as human persons, they were only "Stücks". The recognition of human dignity has progressed worldwide. However, there are still serious inequalities in human rights, especially between men and women.

We must also remain alert to new threats.

First and foremost, the virus of Nazism, which, like COVID, has not disappeared and is still killing. The fantasies of extremist forums see in this pandemic the mirror of a Western and liberal world on whose rubble a new 'healthy' and 'racially' purified order must be built. Some are counting on the collapse of the democratic states in Europe, and plan to accelerate it through targeted attacks. This is also the aim of radical Islamism.

Alongside the resurgence of anti-Semitism, which we have long deplored, the discourse of race has not disappeared either. It is reappearing today with "racialisation" in the study of social relations of domination, with all their racist characteristics. Race" then becomes a social construction. Single-sex workshops are thus organised. This legitimisation of categories, i.e. of races, is a new and shocking phenomenon. The danger of drifting away from this, fuelling racism, is always present.

Finally, another phenomenon from across the Atlantic is spreading in universities throughout the world, that of woke and cancel culture.

The aim is laudable, the intentions are good: social injustices must be flushed out. But ideas are bad when they lead to a dangerous ideological drift. It is therefore necessary to denounce this ostracism which, in the name of good, leads to social disintegration. This doctrine forbids the tolerance of disagreements and refuses the fundamental idea of liberalism, namely the authorisation of the cohabitation of two opposing values.

This culture of sectarian dissent is already having dramatic consequences in the land of free speech. With social networks, it has left the strictly academic field with the risk of restricting freedom of expression in the face of what is becoming a dictatorship of opinion.

Three threats, three alerts.

In union with the survivors of the Dachau camp who are with us and with the American liberators, including Dee Eberhart whom we honoured yesterday, let us remain vigilant.

Thank you for your attention.

 

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Speech by Jean-Michel Thomas President of the CID

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