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The First Paris Massacre


The First Paris Massacre

Eric Margolis

Last week’s massacre in Paris was not, as almost every writer mistakenly claimed, the worst atrocity in the City Of Light since World War II.

As the renowned Mideast expert Robert Fisk quickly pointed out, an even worse atrocity occurred in Paris 54 years ago, on 17 October, 1961.


Thank you for the enlightening European history lesson, Mr. Margolis.

I was a very good student but my psyche turned off to history classes because then, as now, they just seemed like endless, redundant, recitations of war.

I have learned more about a truer telling of the historical narrative from reading Commondreams (that includes both official article authors and some of the more astute commenters) than from all of those classes. And of this matter (the bloody recent history of France), I didn't have a clue.

Until the fathers stop teaching their sons war and bragging about which wound they retained from which war... the Bible's admonishment will continue to prove history as prelude:

"The sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons."

The only way to heal or transcend Mars rules is by investing it its natural polarity and counterbalance, Venus.

Venus represents:

Good food
Non-industrial farming
Love... the greatest of these as the Prophets put it.


What is the point of 'explaining/rationalizing/justifying/excusing (?) why innocent Parisians were murdered by discussing 1961?

I think that it is vile to do so. The two events are not connected and if they are in some muddled mind then that person is a fool of violence and dangerous to be around.

It is as if someone started shooting after screaming out >>> "Don't you know that Cro Magnons pushed out Neanderthals by force! Remember the Neanderthals!!!)

The past is not justification for the death of innocent people. If someone had lost a family member and went after one of the perpetrators of the massacre known to have killed the family member, that might be understandable. Fifty years later to murder young people who hadn't even been born... is not understandable ... why bring up 1961?

The left reflexively takes the anti-rightwing position which is understandable but there is a limit to everything. The right goes overboard and past the limits to decency and fairness but the left should not do the same.

The left should be aware that explaining or rationalizing and even justifying the purposeful targeting of innocent people is NOT lefty behavior.

ISIS is authoritarian and uses reactionary behavior but it seems that the left can only see the west's prosecuting the endless war scenario ...

...and doesn't see that something else has entered the picture. A highly authoritarian, autocratic, reactionary, totalitarian, rightwing regime - ISIS - is emerging in the middle east.

ISIS is NOT part of the left simply because it opposes the neocon's control of the middle east...

and progressives should remember that. Gays should remember, women should remember... free people everywhere should remember that ISIS isn't on the left simply because they oppose the west... These are FASCISTS and very extreme totalitarians who oppose freedom and seek total control of their populations.


What about the 1789 French Revolution?

From Wikipedia: Reign of Terror
The Committee of Public Safety came under the control of Maximilien Robespierre, a lawyer, and the Jacobins unleashed the Reign of Terror (1793–1794). According to archival records, at least 16,594 people died under the guillotine or otherwise after accusations of counter-revolutionary activities.[90] As many as 40,000 accused prisoners may have been summarily executed without trial or died awaiting trial.[90][91]
Sounds like a 'massacre' to me -- from 16 thousand to possibly as many as 40,000, and no, just because the warring factions were French doesn't mean that it was any less a massacre. I'd say this was one instance when the 'us' and 'them' came from the same place, not unlike what's happening to the Blacks in the US right now.


"French conscripts of the Army of the Rhine refused to join the uprising and arrested members of the Algiers coup, proving once again that professional armies threaten democratic governments."

It can happen anywhere.


I remember overhearing conversations such as, "I got this (scar) in Nam."

I don't blame men, per se, for the ideology hammered into them, an ideology consistent with Mars rules in making war the centerpiece of life and defining men in relation to their participation in whatever war branded their generation.

Humanity, as a whole, must wean from Mars Rules. Females, largely granted the status of "comfort women" with the whole world increasingly defined as a series of theaters of war, are not as far up the hierarchy as are many male leaders in deconstructing the existing paradigm.

It mutates and maims both genders. Nonetheless, it does grant more privileges, power, status, and alleged worth (not to mention actual wealth) to males.

A healthy world--or better said, a world transitioning into a healthier state--would start with BALANCE at its foundation.

I believe in THAT world and I see a lot of women struggling to labor IT into birth... along with the males who do intuitively understand that they are sons of the Goddess Mother nature.


You endlessly rail AGAINST historical understanding.

It's been pointed out to you fifteen times already that placing events in historical context IS NOT SUPPORTING OR JUSTIFYING VIOLENCE.

You can't stop your knee-jerk response. Oh well.


Santayana - Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.
Without context we are lost in an endless maze of mindless revenge.


Vile agenda to smear the left. It has zero impact.


I find that the Algerian conflict put in context with the Paris murders is absurd. This is 2015 and that was 1961. What is the direct connection there? It is likely that none of the perpetrators were even born then. I understand the value of historical context but that is a policy making exercise. It is not legitimate to claim ANY direct or even indirect association with these murders some 50 years later.

The French presence in Syria or elsewhere is one thing but in the present not fifty years ago. That is not well reasoned nor even logical. There is a tendency for media to unduly influence participants. The media egged on the genocide in Rwanda, the Serbs were pushed by hyped up cultural/religious histories to massacre innocents for something that happened 300 years earlier.

One side claims some historical factor that matters to them and use it to accentuate separation or the dehumanization of the opposition.

It is because of the hyperbolic nature of media that Santayana's axiom about remembering history or repeating it has been altered by an electronic world where history can be distilled to a few pages without context (propaganda) so that >>>

In the modern world - Those who cannot forget history are also doomed to repeat it.

I'd rather be one who says murder by drone is wrong and murder by terrorists is wrong. It is the innocents who matter. There is a difference between armed combatants on a battlefield and that of peaceful protestors or people in a stadium.

I think the murders in Beirut were wrong and the murders in Paris were wrong... what happened 50 years ago is not context or justification. When innocent people die for whatever reason it is wrong. The death of more innocents cannot be justified by the death of innocents in history.


Once more we have that voice suggesting historical context has nothing to do with the present and the the French legacy of Colonialism something of the past. It was a Frenchman whose name I have forgotten that first made that observation about Americans suggesting they had a unique ability to want to "unremember" history , this so they could wash their hands of yesterday's sins and guilt each and every morning.

So to that legacy of Colonialism in Africa the following worth pointing out.

As one of the conditions some 14 of the ex colonies that became independent have to pay France tribute each and every year and it estimated this some 500 billion a year in total from some of the Worlds poorest Countries to one of the richest.

As a second condition these ex colonies must keep 80 percent of their foreign reserves in the Frnch central bank. Further to that the French government must give its approval before a given country spends any of these monies. As another condition the amount a given country can access of its own reserves is capped and if they want over that cap they must borrow the excess from French banks with interest.

Added to this is another condition that being any of these countries that engage in public spending projects to build infrastructure must give prioroty to to French firms.

Added to that any country that finds resources they wish to exploit or develop must first offer that right to French firms.

Added to that the French demanded the right to maintain military bases in these countries with the added provision that France could intervene militarily in the same so as to defend French interests.

Added to that under conditions of independence none of these nations could enter a Military alliance without French approval.

So no , that Colonial legacy of France is not something out of the past. It is maintained to this day with France supporting coups in those nations whenever they feel their self interest at stake and no this pointing out the "historical legacy" is not justifying current violence against the French State. Rather it a means by which we can see the course of history affects us on this day and how the decisions made today will affect the world far into the future and long after we are dead and gone.


Are we talking about this article or about colonialism in general? I made a point of discussing the contextualization of the events of 1961 and the Paris attacks of this week not about the role of history.

Moreover I challenge anyone to apply factual connections as opposed to subjective assumptions without actual proof that events of today bear a direct or even indirect connection to the events in Paris in 1961. To say there is a historical connection is an intellectual exercise but for all anyone knows there is no connection or even knowledge of events 50 years ago.

This attack is in no way connected to 1961 and I question it being mentioned in the context of the recent murders.

This is not intellectualism, this is unsubstantiated supposition and moreover it will be used by propagandists on the right to justify all manner of excess when it suits them and against who. In other words >>> "Oh they are all the same, they all hate us because of what happened decades ago, the refugees all hate us because of the past and so we can't trust them."

There should be clarity in the words chosen because muddled thinking can and will be used against people and their just causes in the future.

Apply the point of this thinking about "historical context" towards the debate about refugees being trustworthy ...

... and see the ammunition being offered to the right.

You can criticize me for being blunt but manipulation needs be battled whether it comes from either side. Think independently and see the truth.

All innocent deaths are wrong... that should have been your guide from the first and for always. To start qualifying and perhaps even justifying even indirectly because of the past does not change a victim's innocence.

You folks are seriously wrong about this. Break free of the herd mentality. This alleged blowback claim decades ago is why refugees will suffer today. Innocent refugees will come under that accusation of blowback applied to people from that area. So think of them a little and consider that similar accusations alleging a potential blowback risk is being made by Trump and a number of governors.

All and any innocent deaths are unjustifiable by either side... or by history.

Forget historical context... these are innocent people.


BTW... what is the historical context for the Beirut bombing?

edit revision of 15 minutes due to doorbell


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This is ridiculous. The issue that I raised was specifically in response to the author's connecting events in 1961 in paris with the recent murders in Paris.

How in your mind events in Korea come up escapes me. You want to rant about some generality whereas I actually strive for a keener blade and pare away nuance as best as I can from the whole.

Sorry you couldn't follow but I notice a lot of people couldn't either. They want simplicity and something simple to spew about. Black or white, us or them, right or wrong...keep it simple and lets argue and see who does it the loudest? Sorry not interested.

So when you catch your breath after bellowing... what will you say to refugees who are turned away at borders because the perception is that it is justifiable because they represent a risk of blowback due to 'historical context'?

You see what you see and I'll see what I see. I happened to think about them and considered those governors and Trump...


You keep repeating this "justification" mantra when you are arguing against the wind, you are arguing against something that is not being said, you are arguing against the voices in your own head. You will not stop for a moment, you will just repeat yourself again. OK.