Following the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France declared the state of emergency. This set in motion an exit from the rule of law, with Muslims as the first, but not the only victims. Urgent, philosophical and visually interesting plea in defence of civil liberties and equality.
‘I’m like a caged lion, constantly gnawing at the bars,’ says Yasser Louati, the activist and thinker at the heart of Joseph Paris’ documentary The Flag. With an impressive self-control, Louati counters media attacks as he seems to be held accountable for everything every Muslim has ever done. He is permanently driven in a corner by the divisive, identity-based discourse in French politics and media, which – as The Flag shows – has its roots in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the years that followed the 2015 Paris attacks, the state of emergency was repeatedly prolonged. And with the police given permanent wartime powers to ‘defend themselves’, Muslims aren’t the only people in France being targeted. As acclaimed French jurist Mireille Delmas-Marty says at one point in the film: ‘A society of fear is being forged. It appears almost irreversible.’