A new, second letter has been penned by active duty soldiers in the French military, accusing President Emmanuel Macron’s government of “cowardice”, “deceit” and trying to “silence” warnings of impending civil war.
This latest letter comes just weeks after a controversial first letter, in which retired French military generals and senior officers warned that the country was facing a potentially “deadly civil war” due to religious extremism – namely Islamist fundamentalism.
After the first letter received significant backlash from President Macron’s government, the military has once again put pen to paper and hit out at the State’s response.
Published in weekly rightwing magazine Valeurs Actuelles (which is French for “Current Values”), the second letter was signed anonymously by “active military personnel”, with a petition included on the magazines website for readers to sign.
“Our seniors are fighters who deserve to be respected,” the new letter reads.
“These are for example the old soldiers whose honor you have trampled on in recent weeks. It is these thousands of servants of France, signatories of a platform of common sense, soldiers who gave their best years to defend our freedom, obeying your orders, to wage your wars or to implement your budget restrictions, which you soiled while the people of France supported them.
“These people who fought against all the enemies of France – you have treated them as divisive, when their only fault is to love their country and to mourn its visible downfall… did they fight for you to let France become a failed state?”
While the letter’s authors insisted that the soldiers in question did not desire civil war, they reiterated the warning of its likelihood.
“Yes, if a civil war breaks out, the army will maintain order on French soil, because we will be asked to,” it reads.
“This is even the definition of civil war. No one can want such a terrible situation – our elders no more than us. But yes, again, civil war is brewing in France and you know it perfectly well” adding that “this is about the survival of our country, of your country.”
To date the letter has received a total of almost 230,000 signatures online.
Members of the French military are banned by law from expressing public opinions on religious and political matters, and Florence Parly, France’s Defence Minister, has called for those signatories to be punished.
“For those who have violated the duty of reserve, sanctions are planned, and if there are active soldiers among the signatories, I asked the chief of staff of the armed forces to apply the rules…that is to say, sanctions,” she told radio station France Info.
Former French president, François Hollande, told France Inter: “Where is the professional code of conduct…how can we let people think that today the army would be driven by such feelings and by such a desire to challenge the very principles of the Republic?”
Jean-Luc Mélenchon – a French politician and leftwing Presidential candidate in the upcoming French elections – said: “They are seditious and cowardly,” referring to the soldiers’ anonymity.
“I’m not afraid to say my name and what I will do if I’m elected and that’s to purge the army of its dissident members.”
Olivier Faure – a Socialist party politician – called the letters were worrying and that the political Left should “reflect on all these threats”.
The first letter was signed by about 1,000 French soldiers, including around 20 retired generals.
Signatories blamed so-called “anti-racist” campaigners for dividing society and stirring up “hatred” between communities, and alleged that these activists were seeking to create “racial war” by attacking statues and other elements of French culture and heritage.
The initial letter warned that the current government policies may require military action to “protect our civilisational values.”
French ex-generals and serving members of the military warn of civil war and "deadly dangers" as "Islamism and the hordes of the banlieue". They blame "a certain anti-racism" for seeking "racial war" by attacking statues and other aspects of French history https://t.co/hFwSWx9qPL
— Alfons López Tena (@alfonslopeztena) April 27, 2021