Erect a statue or not? To rename the college of Bois-d’Aulne to his name or not? Devote an exhibition to him? A mural? So many questions difficult to decide, so many debates that agitate the inhabitants of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in the Yvelines. The city is looking for the right balance. A year ago, on October 16, 2020, the history and geography teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by a young man of Chechen origin in the street, less than 300 meters from the school in which he officiated, for showing Muhammad cartoons in class during a free speech class.
How to pay homage to him? How not to forget without locking the city in this drama? Without reducing it to this tragedy? Without sending his schoolchildren, today and tomorrow, back to this trauma? This previously uneventful town had never imagined one day becoming the scene of a terrorist attack perpetrated in the name of a religion with which it has always lived. ” in peace “, underlines an elected official. “There has never been any tension on this subject before, there has never been any after”, abounds Gaël Callonnec, elected opposition leader, leader of the “united left”. “The astonishment was all the greater”, testifies Françoise Léger, historical association figure, president of a neighborhood center and of the Equalis association (access to rights, etc.).
Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, there are 35,000 inhabitants at the confluence of the Seine and the Oise, no “city political” districts, just a few small groups of HLM buildings, and many residential areas; it is the middle classes and hundreds of associations that ensure the network of the territory and prevent everything “Islamist entryism”, assures the chosen one, “Even if there are two or three families which are more in a logic of radicalism”. Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, it is now the Conflanais for whom the death of Samuel Paty is “A very sensitive subject. No one here wants us to talk about the city just to evoke this tragedy ”, declares Hippolyte Djizanne, elected opposition Conflans-sans -iquette (center).
Adam (his first name and that of his mother have been changed) saw the photo of his teacher’s decapitated head. He stumbled upon it unwittingly, without knowing what to expect, while consulting the Snapchat network with his friends the night of his assassination. He was 12 years old. Since then, the image haunts him. He was followed by a psychologist, but nothing helped. Every time he closes his eyes, it is there, engraved. The college invites its students to participate in the tribute that will be paid to Samuel Paty on Friday October 15, in Conflans as in all schools in France, from CM1. Attendance is not compulsory. Adam doesn’t want to go. “It’s too much anxiety, he’s too sad, says her mother, Nadia. He thinks about it all the time, it comes out of nowhere. Like one evening, at the table, suddenly he said: “Hey, it would be her birthday today”. “ Even reluctance to go to the march organized the next day by the municipality. But he wants his mother to go there, despite the debates surrounding the organization of tribute ceremonies, at the end of which the mayor (various right), Laurent Brosse, will unveil a book-shaped work evoking the free expression.
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