Political parties: the name strategy

The Manouchians, dead for France

“I am sure that the French people and all the freedom fighters will honor our memory with dignity.” These are the words that Missak Manouchian wrote to his wife Mélinée when he was about to be shot on February 21, 1944. Eighty years later, the wish of this Armenian refugee came true beyond this that he could have hoped for. On February 21, 2024, his remains entered the Pantheon, alongside those of his wife. With this highest national tribute, France wishes to express its gratitude to the resistance fighter and his entire group who fought the Nazi occupier within the FTP-MOI (Francs-tireurs et partisans – immigrant workforce), the resistance network of the Communist Party bringing together foreigners engaged to defend their host country.

Honoring memory: this is what the pantheonization of the Manouchian officially aims to do, after that of Joséphine Baker and before that of Robert Badinter. The spotlight on certain heroic acts – which leaves other aspects in the shadow – intends to magnify in our eyes the republican values ​​that they knew how to embody: fight for freedom, integration of foreign fighters. But isn’t it also a strategy to make people forget, by brandishing icons of the past, the threat weighing on these values?

“You inherited French nationality, we deserved it”, told his judges Manouchian, who had seen his request for French naturalization refused several times. This survivor of the Armenian genocide did not hold it against his adopted country for which he gave his blood. At a time when the gaze of the French is turning towards the secular liturgy which magnifies the courage of the Manouchian group, we quickly lose sight of the recent law on immigration, which aims to make the reception conditions for migrants more complex. Before dying as a hero for one’s adopted homeland, one must still be able to live decently there.

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