how a “minor incident” got “out of control”


A thousand people paid tribute to Samuel Paty, in front of the Bois-d’Aulne college, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines), on October 17. LAURENCE GEAI FOR “THE WORLD”

This is a question that has haunted the people of Conflan since the beheading of Samuel Paty: how a “Minor incident” could it lead to the murder of an incredible violence of a teacher ” kind “, “Funny” and “Passionate about his job” ?

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Saturday October 16, they were more than a thousand – teachers, students, parents, residents and elected officials – to gather in front of the doors of the college of Bois-d’Aulne, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines ), to pay tribute to this history-geography teacher “Massacred”, in the words of a policeman, less than 300 meters away, in the middle of the street and in broad daylight, by a 19-year-old refugee of Chechen origin, killed by the police shortly after his action.

Read also Conflans attack: what we know from the investigation after the murder of a teacher

In “This small suburban town with provincial charm”, describes the humorist Yassine Belattar, born in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where part of his family still lives, there is of course sadness, anger too, astonishment, and questions, a lot of questions on the genesis of “This drama that should never have happened”, says Claire (the names have been changed), 14, a student of Mr. Paty for two years.

A teacher from the region came to honor the memory of her colleague, Samuel Paty, beheaded in front of her establishment on October 16.


A teacher from the region came to honor the memory of her colleague, Samuel Paty, beheaded in front of her establishment on October 16. LAURENCE GEAI FOR “THE WORLD”

“Such an event? Here ? It was unthinkable ”, laments Brahim, who has been piloting a mosque project in Conflans for ten years, financed only by money from the faithful – the land has been bought, 300,000 euros are missing for construction. The project, he points out, never created tensions in the city.

Was it the lie of a teenage girl who hid from her father the real reasons for his temporary exclusion that started it all? A misunderstanding about the teacher’s teaching approach? The obsession of a father, persuaded to defend his daughter, who chose to settle accounts on social networks rather than having an explanation face to face with the teacher? The bad faith of a family which did everything to convince itself of the Islamophobia of a professor, and which ended up convincing others, including the young Chechen? Claire “Understands nothing”.

“Make history come alive”

The course on freedom of expression that sparked the wrath of this father, “Mr. Paty gives it to his 4e ». And every year, she says, he uses the same photo to support his point: a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. “And that had never been a problem, never until last week”, insists Sabrina, 14, a former student today in 3e which evokes a professor who “Liked slideshows a lot.”

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