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The Suicide in Notre Dame

Seventy-eight-year-old Dominique Venner, a French historian and writer associated with the French far right, walked into Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris Tuesday, placed a sealed letter on the altar, and shot himself in the head.

Here is a translation of his letter, which makes clear that this was a protest against immigration and Islamization (“the crime of the replacement of our people”) and against, somewhat ambiguously, France’s new gay marriage and adoption law (“destroy the anchors of our identity, including the family.”)

Venner had been a member of the Organisation de l'armée secrete, a dissident paramilitary organization that tried to prevent Algeria's independence from French colonial rule. Venner was briefly imprisoned in the 1960s for his involvement in it.

The letter shows the torment that some French feel over the prospect of losing their nation. He speaks to the growing French identity movement, which is essentially racist in that it believes only native whites can be truly French, and it resists France’s transformation into a majority immigrant, Muslim nation. Some Muslims have bragged that because of high birthrates among immigrants, they will control France in as soon as 15 years.

I am healthy in body and mind, and I am filled with love for my wife and children. I love life and expect nothing beyond, if not the perpetuation of my race and my mind. However, in the evening of my life, facing immense dangers to my French and European homeland, I feel the duty to act as long as I still have strength. I believe it necessary to sacrifice myself to break the lethargy that plagues us. I give up what life remains to me in order to protest and to found. I chose a highly symbolic place, the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, which I respect and admire: she was built by the genius of my ancestors on the site of cults still more ancient, recalling our immemorial origins.

While many men are slaves of their lives, my gesture embodies an ethic of will. I give myself over to death to awaken slumbering consciences. I rebel against fate. I protest against poisons of the soul and the desires of invasive individuals to destroy the anchors of our identity, including the family, the intimate basis of our multi-millennial civilization. While I defend the identity of all peoples in their homes, I also rebel against the crime of the replacement of our people.

The dominant discourse cannot leave behind its toxic ambiguities, and Europeans must bear the consequences. Lacking an identitarian religion to moor us, we share a common memory going back to Homer, a repository of all the values on which our future rebirth will be founded once we break with the metaphysics of the unlimited, the baleful source of all modern excesses.

I apologize in advance to anyone who will suffer due to my death, first and foremost to my wife, my children, and my grandchildren, as well as my friends and followers. But once the pain and shock fade, I do not doubt that they will understand the meaning of my gesture and transcend their sorrow with pride. I hope that they shall endure together. They will find in my recent writings intimations and explanations of my actions.

Venner’s public suicide may provoke even more French to gather on Sunday, May 26, in Paris to protest France’s gay marriage law. I personally expect a lot of violence and arrests from that demonstration.

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