5 Elements to Understanding the Samuel Paty Affair

5 Elements to Understanding the Samuel Paty Affair

The Samuel Paty affair rocked France and the world in 2020, leaving an indelible mark on the country’s history. On October 16, 2020, the teacher was murdered in an act of extreme violence, sparking outrage and national mourning.

A teacher, an Civic and moral education course on freedom of expression

The killing of Samuel Paty dates back to October 16, 2020. He was born on September 18, 1973, was 47 years old at the time of the events, was married and had a five-year-old child. This teacher teaches history-geography as well as moral and civic education. He practiced at the College Bois d’Aulne in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine for three years. On Monday, October 5, 2020, between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Samuel Paty will deliver a course on civics and moral education for his class of 5th graders, focusing on the issue of freedom of expression according to the official program of the national Education. As part of this course, Samuel Paty will show caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. These drawings were originally published in the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, had already caused considerable controversy. Samuel Party shows two cartoons: the first cover of Charlie Hebdo after the January 7, 2015 attack and another drawing showing Muhammad naked with the message “A star is born”, a cartoon by“A completely naked man prostrating with a full beard and a white cap. A large five-pointed yellow star hides the figure’s anus and reveals a pair of testicles and a piece of phallus. Above is the title of the drawing: Muhammad, a star is born! Signature of the designer Coco at the bottom right »it says in the explanatory sheet of the association founded by “Draw, Create, Freedom” (DCL). Charlie Hebdo and SOS Racisme following the January 2015 attacks, to offer teachers in particular “Original teaching aids”.

Before showing the cartoons, he suggests that students who might be shocked by one of the cartoons temporarily leave the classroom for a few minutes. These students are asked to wait in the hallway under the supervision of a guide for students with disabilities. The companion said:

« There were no sounds from the hallway to suggest a reaction to seeing the cartoon, and there was no sign of tension while the students were present [moi] in the hallway (…) When [les élèves] When I returned to class, the course continued normally. »

Some students’ parents were deeply offended by the use of these cartoons in the classroom, believing them to be an attack on their beliefs and values. ” As early as October 7, the father of a student published on his Facebook account a factual report about the dissemination of a picture of the naked Prophet and a call for mobilization against the teacher with a view to his expulsion. Said the Attorney General of the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT), Jean-François Ricard, after the murder of Samuel Paty. Twenty-four hours after his initial posting, the same man will post a video and text on Facebook, giving the teacher’s name and the college’s address.

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LAssassination of Samuel Paty

On October 16, 2020, around 5 p.m., Samuel Paty was attacked and beheaded by Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov next to the Bois d’Aulne College in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. This young man is of Chechen origin. He was born in 2002, is only 18 years old and lives in Évreux (Eure). He held a residence permit and had refugee status. He was unknown to the secret services. The attacker was influenced by extremist ideologies and acted alone in his violent act. After committing the murder, he was shot dead by the police. This takes place at rue Roger-Salengro in Eragny. The man threatens to call the police. He is armed with a knife and a shotgun. The police will keep yelling at him ” down down! “will command him” Drop your gun! » without it being executed. At the scream of ” Allah Akbar He goes to the police, who shoot him.

The debate about freedom of expression

The Paty affair has reignited the debate on freedom of expression in France and around the world. On the one hand, some have argued that freedom of expression should be absolute, even if it means conflicting with religious beliefs. Others called for more sensitivity and respect for religious beliefs and stressed that freedom of expression must be exercised responsibly. The debate therefore focuses on freedom of expression and its limits. In France, Article 11 of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen aims to: The free communication of thoughts and opinions” as “the most valuable human right”. » : « Every citizen can speak, write and print freely “. The Freedom of the Press Act of 1881 enshrines this freedom of expression. A freedom of expression that is also enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights: ” Everyone has the right to freedom of expression (…)” (Article 10). Added to this is the principle of secularism in France: everyone is free to believe or not to believe, everyone is free to choose their religion. This debate continues to rage, highlighting the tensions between freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs.

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The reaction of the French authorities : reactions and tribute National

In the face of this unspeakable act of violence, the French authorities reacted quickly and decisively. That same evening, standing in the plenary chamber of the National Assembly, the deputies paid tribute to Samuel Paty with these few words from the chairman of the session, Hugues Renson (LREM):

« It is with horror that we learned of the heinous attack that took place. On behalf of the state representation, on behalf of all of us, I would like to pay tribute to the memory of the victim. »

President Emmanuel Macron called the killing of Samuel Paty an Islamist terrorist attack and vowed to fight extremism. From the evening of the attack, Emmanuel Macron went to the Bois d’Aulne College and said:

« I want to say to all the teachers of France tonight that we are with them, that the whole nation will be with them today and tomorrow to protect them, to defend them and to enable them to do their work that is most beautiful that is, to make free citizens. Obscurantism and the violence that goes with it will not prevail. You will not pass ».

On October 21, 2020, Samuel Paty was honored nationally with a speech by Emmanuel Macron at the Sorbonne. He will say his first words: This evening, I have no words to recall the fight against political, radical Islamism that leads to terrorism. (…). The actions, we decided them, we tightened them up, we will carry them out to the end. And the President affirmed:

« Samuel PATY on Friday became the face of the Republic, our desire to break the terrorists, reduce the Islamists, live as a community of free citizens in our country, the face of our determination to understand, learn, continue teaching, be free, because we will continue, teacher. »

Samuel Paty’s son receives the status of Pupil of the Nation announced by the Minister for National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, at the National Assembly on October 20, 2020.

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Numerous popular demonstrations are organized to commemorate the murdered teacher: demonstrations and rallies taking place in several cities to pay tribute to Samuel Paty and to defend freedom of expression. Measures have been taken to strengthen security in schools and to step up surveillance of extremist movements. This case also prompted a broader reflection on the issues of integration, secularism and radicalization in France.

DThe global impact

The Samuel Paty affair sent a worldwide shock wave. Many countries expressed their solidarity with France and condemned this act of violence.

This tragic event highlighted the security challenges in the education system and prompted deeper reflection on how to foster dialogue and mutual understanding. The Samuel Paty Affair was a seminal event that had a profound impact on French society and sparked a global debate on freedom of expression, secularism and the fight against extremism. Understanding the origins of the conflict, the assassination of Samuel Paty, the debate over freedom of expression, the response of the French authorities and the global implications, one can grasp the scale and complexity of this matter.

This shows that it is crucial to continue promoting the values ​​of respect, dialogue and tolerance in order to avoid such acts of violence in the future and to build a society based on the principles of freedom and peaceful coexistence.

Also read: Samuel Paty: a statue honoring the professor