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The myth of Paris

Paris: The French capital influences thinking all over the world.

ISLAMIC TIMES – In the 19th century, under the rule of Napoleon III, the cityscape of modern Paris was created. Every year, millions of visitors admire the Eiffel Tower, stroll along the boulevards, linger at the original sites of the French Revolution, or wander into the artists’ quarter of Montmartre.

Artists met in the cafés of the university quarter, philosophers debating freedom, revolution, surrealism, and existentialism. It is these men and women who establish the myth of the city.

Photo: Sorbonne University, via Wikimedia Commons | Lizenz: CC BY 2.0

Paris – a capital of thought schools

Karlheinz Stierle has published a comprehensive history of Paris literature in German. The history of images and consciousness of the city shapes the type of modern metropolitan man. “In revolutionary and post-revolutionary Paris, knowledge of the world is brought into new circulation paths,” writes Stierle about the global significance of this intellectual centre.

Always in the focus of the schools of thought: the relationship between existence and religion, democracy, and ideology. Paris is a cosmopolitan centre. A visit to the Great Paris Mosque is part of a city tour.

It was built after the First World War as France’s gratitude for the service of Muslim soldiers. In Verdun alone, 28,000 of them died. The toll of blood that Muslims had to bear in both world wars led to demands from colonial countries to free themselves from French occupation.

Photo: Maya-Anais Yataghene, via Wikimedia Commons | Lizenz: CC BY 2.0/

Also, an epicentre of terror

The city’s more recent history also includes the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015. Muslim terrorists killed 130 people in a concert hall, on café terraces and outside a stadium. The writer Emmanuelle Carrère has followed the process from the beginning and published his experiences under the title V13.

The book gives insight into the cynicism of the perpetrators who died in the terrorist attack, the tragic fate of the victims, their relatives, and the role of the accused hangers-on. The author succeeds in casting human abysses, hope and reconciliation and criticism of the justice system into one form.

In this way, he succeeds in writing an important book that is suitable for stimulating a debate on coming to terms with the background of international terrorism.

The ideological debates at the city’s universities have influenced the political ideas of an entire generation – not only in Paris, but all over the world.

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