Democracy is not war

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The French parliament this week approved a three-month prolongation of the state of emergency introduced in the country immediately after the November 13th terrorist attacks in and around Paris which have left 130 people dead. The debate over the state of emergency powers is about its effectiveness, writes Mediapart editor in chief Edwy Plenel who argues here that the emphasis on security alone is a short-term response driven by an immediate political agenda which hands the perpetrators a symbolic victory, and which disarms French society as much as it protects it.

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There is not, on the one side, a responsible governing group and, on the other, irresponsible commentators. Statesmen versus choirboys, the ‘hands on’ against the ‘hands off’.  The six French Members of Parliament who on November 19th voted against the prolongation of the state of emergency, a group made up of three from the Socialist Party and three from the EELV Green party, are no less concerned about the welfare and safety of their fellow citizens than the promoters of this headlong rush into a state of exception and, as a result, to the suspension of democracy.