How have the Paris attacks changed France?
On a personal level, I’ve not seen any animosity between Muslims and non-Muslims. I think most people on both sides have felt wounded and quite compassionate towards each other. At the government level, there’s a lot of thinking going on. Government must realize there has to be long-term engagement with the immigrant suburbs in the banlieue.
You write that France has been engaged in a long war with the Arabs that continues to this day. Is that the best way to understand these events?
Starting with the invasion of Algeria in 1830, for most of the 19th-century France was engaged in war with the Arabs. In the French imagination this was the equivalent of the Wild West. In the past couple of weeks, there has been trauma, shock and numbness. But in the long-term, I am not pessimistic. I think the situation now is terrible, but I don’t think it’s going to last forever.