These are exchanges of emails, almost banal, as there are dozens of them every day between teachers from the same establishment. They tell the little internal life of a college in the Paris suburbs, shaken by a local affair, which everyone believes will soon be forgotten. The world had access to the messages sent by Samuel Paty, his colleagues and his superiors, the week before his assassination by an Islamist terrorist in front of his college in Bois-d’Aulne in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines), on October 16.
We read the explanations and the incomprehension of a professor caught in spite of himself in a controversy that goes beyond him, the unfailing support of the principal of the college, a few messages of support from parents and colleagues but also strong criticisms addressed by two other teachers who dissociate themselves.
In the hollow, we perceive the whole debate on freedom of expression, secularism, the teaching of caricatures, which Samuel Paty explains wanting to give up in the future.
“Absurdity of the situation”
The exchanges begin on Thursday, October 8, two days after the session in which Samuel Paty showed two caricatures of Muhammad to a class of 4e, offering students who so wish to close their eyes or leave the classroom. An attitude that troubled some of them. An explanation meeting was organized with the class that morning.
But it’s outside of college that things turn sour. “The situation relating to your course on press freedom has accelerated and worsened today throughout the day”, then writes the main one, Mme F., specifying: “An individual threatened to bring Muslims to the front of the college and alert the press. “
The head of the establishment indicates that she reported the situation to the Departmental Department of National Education Services, which ordered Inspector R. on the spot. A lesson by Samuel Paty with the class of 4e is canceled the next day to be able to discuss with the official. In addition, meetings with parents of students who wish to have clarification are organized.
“Madame F., I may be missing some elements, replies Samuel Paty. If I understand correctly, an individual threatens to bring Muslims in front of the college so that their children (who are also I suppose Muslims) are forced to look at the caricatures of the prophet (telling me in passing what to say or not to say) say what is frankly not secular) (…) and he threatens to alert the press of this situation !!! The absurdity of the situation touches as often the comic! “
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