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A Young Frenchman Reflects
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I gave a reading, slide talk in Leipzig. You can’t count on too many people coming to such an event. It is said that a favorite line at any poetry reading is, “And this is my last poem.” Around 40 people actually showed up, however, with some even having to sit on the floor. They were students, academics, American expats and at least one man who had seen me on Iran’s Press TV. Filmmaker Elisa Kotmair came down from Berlin.

At the reading in Leipzig.  Credit: Andreas Lamm

At the reading in Leipzig. Credit: Andreas Lamm

Afterwards, there was a wine reception, and among the people I talked to was Léo Jarzabek, a French student. Just twenty-one, he’s traveled to nine countries and speaks English and German fluently. “Good enough to pick up girls!” Léo’s also studying Chinese. Not majoring in anything yet, Léo is interested in the visual arts, literature, music and economics.

“You’re all over, man,” I needled him. “Is economics your parents’ idea?”

“No, no, I’m really interested in economics.”

“But what is your love, really?”

“Probably music.”

“What kind?”

“Rock, pop.”

“You write lyrics?”


“In French?”

“And also in English.”

“You should stake your ground, man. You can become relevant by focusing on a place. A while ago, I was in Illinois. I didn’t know where I was. I walked into a bar, and a guy told me I had to see Hugh Deneal. There was a show that night. I had never heard of Deneal, but he’s huge in Southern Illinois because he writes about ordinary peoples’ lives. He was good too. Maybe you should write about Leipzig?”

“But I probably won’t stay very long in Leipzig.”

“Where will you go?”

“I don’t know.”

“You’re like a nowhere man, a new type of European!”


“Here today, gone tomorrow!”


With Berlin-based American filmmaker Alisa Kotmair and Léo Jarzabek, a French student in Leipzig. Credit: Andreas Lamm.

With Berlin-based American filmmaker Alisa Kotmair and Léo Jarzabek, a French student in Leipzig. Credit: Andreas Lamm.

Since I was more than twice his age, and a professor at his university to boot, I felt compelled to give some relevant advice. Abetted by pinot noir, I launched, “If you’re going to do music, then you should be deadly serious with it. I have too many friends who started out as artists, but are now just artsy. Give music ten, fifteen years. Show the world that you’re a genius and not an asshole!”

“Maybe I’m just an asshole!”

“Yeah, but at least you will know in fifteen years. You don’t want to be half-assed all along. It’s perfectly fine to be an asshole, most of us are, but an asshole shouldn’t think he’s a genius. In fifteen years, you will know for sure what you are.”


A few days later, Léo emailed me after reading my “Germany Against Itself,” “This self loathing anti patriotism is pretty weird given that Germany is an amazing country to grow up in. But one thing you didn’t take into account is the fact that most of my generation have grown up as Europeans, without border patrols, tolls, just being able to circulate freely all around.

Do I feel very French? I do when I get home, try to bribe you with French wine [to get into my class, now closed], read, laugh at stupid jokes you can’t translate, but overall I don’t think there’s that much patriotism inside me, and when I see where France seems to be heading, I just want to pack my stuff and leave.

Maybe it’s because I’m young and my wanderlust, stamina, and language skills are above average. Notice the bit of bragging here, typically French!

Overall, as a human being I don’t think nations have that much meaning. If you wanna wank in the forest or on the ocean, you’ll probably wank anyway.”

A young man should be full of confidence and optimism. Until he’s permanently maimed, psychologically and/or physically, he should see world as a catalogof endless possibilities, wondrous freak shows and equivocal rewards. Since Léo had a car, we planned on exploring a couple of places together. I suggested a town in the National befreite Zone, ill defined areas that are dominated by self-declared xenophobes, “If we go to one, we might both get killed, but they’ll undoubtedly kill me first, so at least you will have something interesting to watch before you
die.” This sounded terrific to Léo. He also proposed “a goddamn Confederate bar full of good ol boyz. Not something for pussy-licking-cocksuckers.”

The next day, Léo drove back to France to spend the weekend with his parents. That night, 136 people were killed and 352 wounded in Paris. “My parents had prepared a nice feast for me, lots of tasty French food, some wonderful 2001 Cahors red wine, pastries. My cats were purring loudly, lazily lying before the fireplace.

My dad started to talk about the stupid new regulations, taxes on garden sheds, cuts in benefits for the disabled, students, widows, culture. Everything.

The fine wine turned sour. I was so happy to be back home. I cracked dick jokes with my hairdresser, bought some fresh baguettes, listened to the radio, read magazines. It was too much! But it was nothing compared to the sheer horror that was on its way…

Around 10 I learned about the attacks. I called my best friend who lives in the 10th arrondissment and got in touch with my big sister, a regular at the Bataclan bar.

Luckily, all my Parisian friends were safe and sound. Others weren’t so lucky.

I cried over my keyboard. Soon enough a surge of feelings ranging from love and support to hate, fear and racist bullshit emerged all over the social networks. A massive amount of fake information was uploaded too. I couldn’t sleep.

When the French flag filter for profile pictures appeared I started thinking about patriotism for the first time in my life.


I was born 21 years ago on a continent without borders, without patrols, with a single currency. I was living without a care, taking all I can from Mother Europe, scholarships, freedom, taking borders as nothing but obsolete man-made lines on the map. Still, I haven’t really changed my mind. I just started thinking of myself, and of my identity in a different way.

I put the French flag on my profile pic when I saw my friends from L.A. to Tokyo do so. That sounds silly but I had gotten used to seeing mostly Fascists using our flag over the years. This time I wouldn’t let them use my flag for their stinking propaganda. Simply because it is mine too, it’s my wonderful country, where gay couples can marry, where you get health care regardless of your financial situation, where studying is almost free, where women have control over their bodies, and where you can make fun of anybody, any religion, at any time.

In spite of the shitstorm that’s coming our way, we’re still out laughing loudly in front of cafés. Right now our flag is a symbol of international unity, unity against hate, extremism, racism in all its forms. I hope it will stay that way. So please don’t cancel your concert tours, business trips, holidays, or honeymoons. We need your laughter in the City of Lights…

I went back to Germany and took the usual tram to my university class on a sunny morning. I was in a good mood, the exhaustion of sleepless nights had started to wane. The hangover was almost gone. I was about to meet a good friend for coffee at Starbucks and have a nice talk about books while listening to bebop.

On the tram, a stupid moron started screaming at a group of Mexican students who were speaking Spanish together. He said, “IN GERMANY YOU SPEAK GERMAN”, and started venting all the furious racist nonsense he had stockpiled in his Neo-Nazi motormouth.

The Mexican students stayed calm. My blood was boiling. I couldn’t take it any more and got straight at him, screaming back some of my anger. I’m not sure it made much sense, but it was something. A German lady backed me up, and somehow we managed to dispel the hatred aimed at the students before I walked out of the tram with my heart beating way too fast.

The only thing I should have said was simple, “When you, German Asshole N1 go to Mallorca to get drunk on its golden sand, do you speak Spanish to your ugly wife and friends?”

Anyway that cunt was probably just upset because the previous day’s football match between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled because of terrorist threats.

All that happens here shouldn’t make us forget about Africa and the Middle East where ISIS’ countless casualties are hardly ever mentioned in the West. Don’t give in to Islamophobia, because these assholes kill other Muslims too. Those Muslims are just normal peaceful people, who love their mothers and children, study, create, play football, prepare great food and amazing mint-tea.

We are all targets. That’s a fact, so why live in fear ? A car crash is more likely to kill you than a mad terrorist. You might point out that I’m away from France, in a safe place writing this, but is there anywhere safe anymore? No, there’s a shadow hanging over all of us. And you know what? Fuck it. It won’t be afraid because fear, terror is what THEY are craving for. They are ISIS, they are our own Western Fascists. Same thing, different flags.

So please, be kind to your neighbors, spread love not hatred, and keep on drinking beer, go to rock n roll shows, and smile at this wonderful world. Because, to quote the Smiths, “There is a light that never goes out. And this light is within you.”


There is a long history of the US and its allies backing Muslim extremists while pretending to fight them. Meat and flesh puppets, though, have their own agendas and sometimes will strike back at their masters. There are indications, though, that this may be purely a false flag event, and it is only moral and responsible to consider this possibility. With its found passports, instant conclusions about the terrorists then immediate retaliatory bombing against Syria, the official narrative of the Paris attacks is moving briskly along, with no deviation or question allowed in the mainstream media. The consequences, then, are an escalation of war against Syria, increased tension with Russia, more suppression of civil liberties against Europeans, antagonism against Muslims and other immigrants, rising nationalism in all European countries and anger at pro European Union politicians. The end of the European Union is near. A global war seems inevitable.

I finish this article in Brighton, England. Even past the tourist season, the streets here are filled with foreign tourists and frollicking Londoners. Its hip bars, restaurants and shops are thriving, but I also notice many more homeless than in 2012, the last time I was here. Europe will never be this prosperous, open and carefree again.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: EU, Paris Attacks 
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  1. A friend sent me this e-mail:

    Let’s hear it for Quebec mayor.


    A commercial promoting pork says:


    Muslim parents demanded the abolition of pork in all the school canteens of a Montreal suburb.

    The mayor of the Montreal suburb of Dorval has refused, and the town clerk sent a note to all parents to explain why.

    “Muslims must understand that they have to adapt to Canada and Quebec, its customs, its traditions, and its way of life, because that’s where they
    chose to immigrate.

    “Muslims must understand that they have to integrate and learn to live in Quebec. “They must understand that it is for them to change their lifestyle, not the Canadians who, so generously, welcomed them.

    “Muslims must understand that Canadians are neither racist nor xenophobic. Canada accepted many immigrants before Muslims showed up (whereas the reverse is not true, in that Muslim states do not accept non-Muslim immigrants).”

    “Just like other nations, Canadians are not willing to give up their identity or their culture.

    “And, if Canada is a land of welcome, it’s not the Mayor of Dorval who welcomes
    foreigners, but the Canadian-Quebecois people as a whole.

    “Finally, they must understand that in Canada ( Quebec ) with its Judeo-Christian roots, Christmas trees, churches and religious festivals, religion must remain in the private domain.”

    The municipality of Dorval was right to refuse any concessions to Islam and Sharia.

    “For Muslims who disagree with secularism and do not feel comfortable in Canada, there are 57 beautiful Muslim countries in the world, most of them
    under-populated and ready to receive them with open halal arms in accordance with Sharia.

    “If you left your country for Canada , and not for other Muslim countries, it is because you have considered that life is better in Canada than
    elsewhere. We will not let you drag Canada down to the level of those 57 countries.

    “Ask yourself this question – just once: “Why is it better here in Canada than where you come from?”
    “A canteen with pork on the menu is part of the answer.”

    If you came to Canada with the idea that you will displace us with your prolific propagation and eventually take over the country, you should pack
    up and go back to the country you came from. We have no room here for you and your ideology.

    • Agree: Jeff77450
    • Replies: @KA
    , @Francis Marion
  2. Stogumber says:

    It’s interesting to see how quickly a rather moronic, probably Jewish, upper class youth turns into a full-fledged neocon.
    Only it won’t work as the neo-cons think. They can’t appropiate “France” (or “Germany”) for themselves and at the same time holler against the genuine French (or German) nationalists. That will only deepen the divide and will not win them a majority.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  3. Stogumber says:

    Léo Jarzabek, as his name tells, stems from East Europe. His parents haven’t become frenchified enough to call him Léon, at least. But he obviously doesn’t rely on or claim a a Slavic parentage/heritage/identity. In fact, he’s not open about his heritage/parentage at all – that’s why I conclude: probably Jewish.

  4. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    Blindfolded Muslim man with sign “Do you trust me?” hugs hundreds in Paris

    Near mourning sight at Place de la Republique an unknown man drew much attention by blindfolding himself and putting out two signs reading “I’m a Muslim, but I’m told that I’m a terrorist” and “I trust you, do you trust me? If yes, hug me.”

    Very touching video, had me in tears by the end.

    Goes to show one that their are still humans with empathy left in the world.

  5. Soft thoughts from a soft world. I suspect the sensitivity is lost on Islam.

  6. Jason Liu says:

    Did this flower child ever realize that the France he loves may not exist when it gets too diverse?

    Fascism at home is an honorable defense of one’s own country, even when taken to extremes. The fact that he thinks this is comparable to ISIS attacking another country only demonstrates the oblivious folly of that wretched western disease, egalitarianism.

  7. What is this stream of consciousness rubbish doing in The Unz Review? And what is someone with a name like Linh Dinh doing masquerading as a “Frenchman.” Real French people say things like, “Nos ancetres, les Gaulois!”

    • Replies: @Bryan Bell
  8. KA [AKA "carthage"] says:

    Dont we love these expose’ ?

    “By Alastair Crooke

    When, in early August, the Pentagon’s former highest ranking intelligence official, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, said that it had been a “willful decision” by the “West” to back the establishment of “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria” in order to bring pressure on the Syrian government, and then went on to confirm that the recently declassified 2012 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report on the rise of ISIS in Syria, had explicitly warned of the possibility of “an Islamic State” being declared “through a union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria,” there was almost silence in the mainstream media.”

    or the flamboyance rhetoric from Hillary–““Baghdad needs to accept, even embrace, arming Sunni and Kurdish forces in the war against ISIS,” she declared. “But if Baghdad won’t do that, the coalition should do so directly.” after or before elaborating “on her “no-fly zone” scheme, saying she wanted to set it up only in the north.”

    A quiet reflection wont be much productive for French/American unless they ask how Hollande could demand that Assad must go and be brought to court for crimes against humanity when Sarkozy is still free and looking for a return to the presidency or war is the solution for a problem that did not even exist to begin with .

  9. Jim says:

    Linh – You are lost in fantasy.

    • Replies: @Jim
  10. szopen says:

    “Jarzabek”…. or maybe Jarząbek ? Does this guy has Polish roots? There were a lot of Poles who settled in France, especially in northern mining areas. During WWII they had their own Polish resistance movement (unfortunately, despite being in some period of times larger than native French resistance, their history fell into the obscurity and nobody knows much about them nowadays…)

  11. neutral says:

    “taking all I can from Mother Europe, scholarships, freedom, taking borders as nothing but obsolete man-made lines on the map.”
    “Europe will never be this prosperous, open and carefree again.”

    You clearly don’t see the link between your two statements.

  12. Romanian says:

    Anyway that cunt was probably just upset because the previous day’s football match between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled because of terrorist threats.

    Yes, that’s why he was upset. Definitely… This is what Europe is producing, ladies and gentlemen. Relativists and adult children.

  13. KA [AKA "Carthage"] says:

    Press Releases
    The City of Dorval Denounces False News Circulating on the Internet

    Dorval, January 27, 2015 – For a number of weeks now, false news has been circulating on social networks, as well as via a string of emails, about the Mayor of Dorval having allegedly refused to follow up on a request from Muslim parents asking him to remove pork from the City’s school cafeterias. The story also quotes speculative comments from the Mayor in regards to Muslims.

    The City of Dorval wishes to denounce this false article and resents this identity usurpation. Internet users across the world have published this false news as it was true, and the Mayor would like to set the record straight by saying that, on no account, he, nor any the City’s representatives, have made such comments.

    Albeit difficult to track the origins of this hoax, our research has led us to believe that it started in the United States. A similar hoax about a Mayor in Belgium had traveled the Web in 2013.

    • Replies: @Taysse
    , @dc.sunsets
  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Maybe that guy was upset because his local Starbucks / bebop distributor was closed due to the attacks! Or maybe he was in fact a football fan, but was just lashing out in anger at his misfortune for having been born with such proley, uncosmopolitan taste.

  15. Rehmat says:

    Dear Linh Dinh – after listening your debate with Israeli hack Ilya Shapiro at RT’s ‘Cross Talk” in November 2012 – I realized you have all the qualities to win the ‘Antismite Award’ from ADL’s Abraham Foxman.

    You said that American elections are fraud which only allow American voters to keep electing war criminals and protectors of the filthy-rich Wall Street bankers.

  16. This Is Our Home [AKA "Robert Rediger"] says:

    Linh Dinh’s advice to young Europeans being cleansed from their homeland ‘drink beer, love everyone, be an artist and drink more beer.’

    Linh Dinh should shut up and go home.

    • Replies: @bunga
  17. bunga says:
    @This Is Our Home

    This is his home

    In one of the antiwar protests in London ,one participant was told to get out of the country-“Love it or leave it”
    She retorted – “Get out of this world. Love it or leave it”

    • Replies: @This Is Our Home
  18. That young Frenchman seems like an idiot…Islamist terrorists murder more than a hundred people in Paris and still his main concern is “racists”, “fascists” and “Islamophobia”. Brainwashed fool.
    And the conspiracy-mongering at the end (“false flag attack”), oh well…but then it’s the Unz review where apart from a few gems you mostly get nonsense like this.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  19. Linh Dinh is at his best when he is documenting humanity. His political understanding is not very sophisticated.

  20. This Is Our Home [AKA "Robert Rediger"] says:

    This is his home

    In one of the antiwar protests in London ,one participant was told to get out of the country-”Love it or leave it”
    She retorted – “Get out of this world. Love it or leave it”

    She retorted like that because she was a simpleton.

    His home is Vietnam.

    I am using ‘home’ in this instance as shorthand for ‘homeland’ or ‘national home’ as opposed to ‘home planet’ and Linh Dinh’s homeland is obviously Vietnam.

    And if he cannot be grateful for the hospitable way he has been treated in the homelands to which he visits as a guest, he should leave.

    The key component of gratitude in this case would be writing in support of the protection of his hosts and what is theirs; rather than the opposite.

    Basically, Linh Dinh, have the decency to act on your gratitude and write or fight to protect your hosts from their own lunacy and uninvited guests’ intrusions. Anything else would be shameful.

    • Replies: @Jason Liu
  21. @Greg Bacon

    My reaction upon seeing this video was more a mild disgust at the mawkishness and self indulgence. As if these huge events are ultimately about him and his feelings…

  22. What a soft, rambling smelly puss. Maybe Europe deserves some Muslim thugs to save itself from spoiled wimpy soft heads.

  23. Taysse says:

    Thanks for clearing that up and bringing us so painfully back down to earth. As a Canadian witnessing the relentless multicultural disfigurement of my country over the last few decades, I was stunned and thrilled to read that initial Dorval mayor’s statement. It was made plausible by the fact that French-Canadians are in general definitely less politically-correct than Anglos and that there have indeed been instances of small municipalities expressing resistance to Islamic encroachment. On the other hand, Quebec did vote for Sunny Boy Trudeau in the recent election and, as recompense for their efforts, will consequently have their share of some 30,000 so-called refugees dumped on them. And pork will undoubtedly disappear from Dorval. The beat goes on.

  24. I am assuming young Euro man-child Leo is using a different definition of ‘fascist’ than I would in referring to the French flag.

    France has long seemed to me the one country in Europe in which the flag is as omnipresent a symbol as in the US, or at least as in Canada. I have a hard time imagining it has become an esoteric symbol brandished only by ‘fascists’. Maybe he means all patriots, however benign and whatever their politics, are fascists. I’ve heard Europeans react that way to the US flags all over private homes and businesses in America, and to some extent Canadian flags in Canada.

    But this is still the tricolour he is talking about, the symbol of republicanism and indeed originally of revolution, which the French right took nearly 200 years to make peace with.

    I sympathize with his reaction to the Germans hassling those Mexican students, though. Since when are private people obliged to speak any particular language in their conversations among themselves? And do German tourists speak the vernacular to one another when in Spain or Italy? I’ve never heard that. SO perhaps the only German phrase the Mexicans needed was the one for ‘f…off’.

    Then again, I didn’t grow up in circumstances in which it was acceptable for Anglo-Saxons to meddle in other people’s business on the public street or assault people going about their lawful business or burn down private property of law abiding citizens. So while I would appreciate a robust no-refugee policy from the Canadian government, I’m not about to call the latest anti-Muslim incidents up here acceptable.

  25. @Greg Bacon

    Seriously? You like this? Wily Moslem practises a form of emotional blackmail, softening hearts that should harden. Instead of plannig how to start mass deportations French start to wonder that maybe not all Muslims are bloodthisty barbarians. That may be true but it won’t help them in present conditions.

  26. vinteuil says:

    Better title for this piece:

    A young Frenchman jerks his knee.

  27. Rehmat says:

    I think it’s you who is behaving like a ‘self-denying’ Zionist idiot.

    Remember the Zionist regime killed 100,000 Arab Jew youth by experimenting nuclear effects on them – or when Israel bought 235,000 Jews from Romania like goods.

  28. Jason Liu says:
    @This Is Our Home

    You people are all misreading this article. Most of the text here is Linh Dinh quoting a young Frenchman recounting his experiences. It’s not a narrative of Linh doing these things himself.

    Linh, consider better formatting so the distinction is clearer.

  29. Bryan Bell says: • Website
    @Diversity Heretic

    He’s a visiting professor, known for among other things translating peotry to/from Vietnamese.

  30. @boogerbently

    This is a nice thought but I believe it is a hoax.

  31. pyrrhus says:

    The 21 year old dilettante portrayed in this article, and his professors and friends, exemplify the terminal decadence of Europe and the certainty of its Fate.

    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
  32. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Jarzabek is a Jewish surname of Polish origin.

  33. @KA

    Here at the apogee of political organization of society it is simply unthinkable for most people to imagine that social change comes not from the top down but from the bottom up.

    Important events in the change in direction of Western societies will not originate in mayoral offices, legislatures or executive branch press releases.

    A supertanker takes a long time to change direction, but change direction it will. No tree grows to the sky.

    If the Marxists maintain control of education long enough, all that will happen is that decent people will abandon it entirely, and when the tide change occurs there will be zero willingness of those who already abandoned that ship to continue paying for its upkeep and operation.

    People will vote with their feet. Then they’ll vote with their pocketbooks.

  34. @pyrrhus

    I wonder if there are any Huns, Visigoths, Goths, etc. left in Europe….

  35. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Linh Dinh is simply an insecure asshole, allowing hundreds of posts from holocaust deniers but not a single comment merely asking for a statement expressing disapproval — not even censoring — of holocaust denial. Shows where his sympathies lie.

    Fuck him and Unz and the horse they rode in on.

    • Replies: @5371
  36. 5371 says:

    You demand a stranger express disapproval of an opinion of which you yourself disapprove, and you call _him_ insecure?

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