Control, prosecute, sanction

“Control, prosecute, sanction” –  

These are the words of the French President on October 2, 2020.

Peculiar echo,

unintended I presume,

to Discipline and Punish by Foucault.

It seems that the image of war is the favorite of our Republic en marche,

at the heart of all speeches.

The first time,

in celebration of those who were closest to the hospital reality during the health crisis.

These were gone

at the “front”,

we were told.

I did not know that the choice of the white blouse meant that of the military dress.

If the nurses,

agents of hospital services are in a fight,

for years now,

it’s that of a cry,

yet neglected

and violently repressed,



in the French streets,

worn voices,


denounce the lack of resources,

call for the need for humane and decent treatment.

But no,

we don’t want this struggle,

a tackle,

a face to the ground under police violence,

and a ticket for

“the front”.

Congratulations and applause by way of gifts and then of coats of arms,

for service to the nation.

The war resumes today,

“It’s time!”

they said.

In schools,

public spaces,


Aux armes citoyens

sounds like we are sinking.

Strange smell,

like that of a detergent,

a sort of purification,

but warning,

“republican” only.

So in the name of right and freedom,

they’ll go,



and sanction”.

War against Islamist separatism,

neologism in a French style,

for a Franco-French delirium.

An Islamist separatism,

which we must fight against,

Who is we here anyway?

This is how the stage play,

of a republic called “en actes”,


More controls,


and education,

against the evils of religion.

A new government,

and a vocabulary now in use in cottages:




literally ‘the getting wild’

of a fragment of the French population.

Sounds like Hidden Forces.

France is contaminated

and apparently it’s not a pretty sight,

it is swarming on all sides.

So school at home is over,

unless for exceptions.

Pay attention to associations,

which are a nest,

we are told,

of Islamist separatism.

But the law will become an alchemist,

they opt for a right of dissolution.

Based on what criteria?

I will be asked.

“Republican principles,

come on!”

Political strategy in the run-up to elections?

Xenophobia is naturalized,


no need for Le Pen,

Macron is in charge,

Darmanin is on the clock.

The media saturate the public space,

new wording and wordling appear,

stronger than ever,


the Republic struts around,

takes up arms.

Occupied territory,

a people to preserve,

new barbarians to educate,



to the soft and sweet light of our know-how.

More costs,


more discrimination,


In the face of the law,

in the face of these in charge of its enforcement,

in the face of police forces,

in the face of its fellow citizens,

in his own country,

a french muslim,

cannot but feel the untold role,

that will come for him or her,

in the Republic theatre piece.


Sarra Riahi is a third year student at Maastricht University (Netherlands). She is a French citizen of North African descent who is highly interested in postcolonial departures and critical studies. She plans to become a reporter, correspondent abroad, or opinion journalist. She views writing as a means to provide a critical analysis of current events that relate to colonial legacies. She can be found on

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