One tactic Soviet-bloc countries would use to stifle dissidents was involuntary confinement to mental institutions. After all, you have to be crazy to oppose state ideology, right? Now, though, 26 years after the Berlin Wall’s fall comes a similar shocking story — from well west of where the wall stood.
It is alleged that a French mayor has been involuntarily confined to a mental asylum for “Islamophobia.”
The story involves Robert Chardon, mayor of the southern French town of Venelles; the problems began when, participating in a public Twitter discussion initiated by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, the mayor proposed a prohibition against Islam in France. As the Express reports:
[Chardon] tweeted: "We must ban the Muslim faith in France."
He called for the country to removal [sic] a secularism law dating back to 1905 — and instead "promote the practice of the Christian faith".
Chardon added: "We also need a Marshall Plan to send Muslims to countries where the religion is practiced."
… He later explained to the newspaper La Monde that his plan is "the only solution for most of France's problems".
Not surprisingly, other political figures considered Chardon’s comments a problem. Sarkozy, leader of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), which is also Chardon’s party, tweeted, “I condemn this proposal even if secularism also means fixing limits. Rights and limits go together.” Meanwhile, the mayor has been suspended from the UMP, and party vice-president Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said that she was calling for an “expulsion procedure to be started.”
Yet these statements and actions pale in comparison to what some are alleging: that the French government committed the mayor to a psychiatric ward for political reasons. As the Agence France Presse (AFP) writes, as presented by Gates of Vienna (which provided the translation):
Robert Chardon, the (Bouches-du-Rhône) UMP mayor who tweeted many times that Islam must be banned in France, was forcibly hospitalized this Friday.
Hospitalization was requested by someone close to him for reasons of ‘incoherent statements’. Robert Chardon, who is in cancer treatment, confirmed his statements and assured everyone his Twitter account had not been hacked.
Of course, officials deny that Chardon’s hospitalization is related to his politically incorrect opinions. As Gates of Vienna also reports:
Mr. Serge Gouteyron — Deputy Prefect of Aix — replied to [newspaper] La Provence that “Mr. Chardon was hospitalised as a consequence of his disease and no legal procedure was undertaken for forcible confinement in a psychiatric facility,” as stated by AFP.
… In a press release (communiqué), Robert Chardon’s First Deputy — Patricia Saez — assures everyone that Robert Chardon’s tweets “are clearly the result of his precarious health situation since the past few months. They do not reflect in any way Robert Chardon’s past opinions.”
This last sentence is true. Chardon said that his recent thoughts came to him as an “epiphany” as he sought treatment for mouth cancer. Regardless, a change in opinion isn’t exactly unknown in human beings. And many find the timing a bit odd: The mayor has been undergoing cancer treatment for months.
But he was “forcibly hospitalized” only after he made his politically incorrect remarks.
And, as Gates of Vienna emphasized, “This hospitalisation request was issued by ‘a third party as a result of his incoherent statements.’”
But while the men in white coats may be helping Chardon get his head right (or Left), one might wonder if “incoherent” — which means “without logical or meaningful connection” — has become synonymous with politically incorrect. After all, the mayor’s comments certainly are logically connected; in addition, he seems sane enough to understand his actions’ consequences. As he also told AFP, “I risk exclusion [from the UMP].” Chardon continued, “Should this be the case, I will set up a new political party.”
The mayor’s intention is to be a candidate for regional and presidential elections. Whether or not this could be accomplished from a lunatic asylum was not reported, but certainly is relevant to the story.
Chardon had also expressed his beliefs on Facebook, via videos and messages. One of them, reports newspaper Le Figaro, was an “image of the French flag with the message ‘Protect yourselves. Adopt a pig.’” Yet both Chardon’s Facebook page and his Twitter account have since apparently been deleted. It is not known whether this was at Chardon’s direction, the decision of Facebook and Twitter, or at the behest of the French government.
Both Islam and the criticism of it have become major issues in France in recent years. Violent jihadist actions such as the Charlie Hebdo massacre and large-scale riots by Muslims generally identified by media only as “youths” have sparked national discussions. France also mirrors most other Western nations in that it has hate-speech laws, frequently used to stifle criticism of Islam, homosexuals, and other politically favored groups. Most notably, legendary French actress Brigitte Bardot, who has lamented “the Islamization of France,” has been on trial five times for “inciting racial hatred,” even though “Muslim” isn’t a racial designation.
Meanwhile, critics of that Islamization may wonder who the crazy ones really are. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recently issued a call to arms, saying, “O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war.” And this idea certainly is embraced by many. In a new variation on the saying “When in Rome…,” it was reported May 15 that a Muslim schoolboy in Italy punched a 12-year-old female classmate because she was wearing a crucifix. Yet he won’t be charged by police because he’s a “minor.” Also in Italy, a group described as “young Muslim immigrants” hurled insults and threats at a May 10 Catholic procession honoring the Virgin Mary. And then there’s the taxpayer funding of jihad: The Local tells us that Denmark just lavished $58,000 in unemployment benefits on 32 “Danes” — while they were fighting for ISIS in Syria.
So if you want to turn the whole world Islamic, you get welfare payments; if you want to keep your own nation Christian, you may get committed.
Who, again, is “incoherent”?