"The Situation" II - Paris

We tend to believe what we want to believe...

Mabrouck Rachedi, a former financial analyst, has published youth novels Krimo, mon frère  (2019) and Toutes les couleurs de mon drapeau  (2018), as well as Tous les hommes sont des causes perdues (2015), La Petite Malika (co-written with Habiba Mahany) (2010), Le Petit Malik  (2008), Le Poids d’une âme (2006),  essays and short stories. A regular contributor to Jeune Afrique  and Le Courrier de l’Atlas and to national newspapers, he teaches writing workshops in cities, suburbs, and rural parts of France.


Cause I gotta have faith

59% of French think chloroquine treatment is efficient. How do I know that? This scientific matter has become a topic discussed by anybody on TV debates, social medias, Internet websites, YouTube videos… An online petition asked for its generalization. My purpose is not to give a scientific opinion but to understand how ordinary citizens came to be asked a question they were incompetent for (me including) and felt empowered to answer to it. It tells a lot about the society we live in.

The French professor Didier Raoult became a kind of superstar when he wrote an article first called “« game over” ». Chloroquine was the solution against coronavirus pandemics. Assertive, direct, rebellious, he looked like the rogue of Hollywood blockbuster movies, the border-line genius who saves the day with a brilliant idea that nobody but him has imagined. He filled uncertainty about pandemic with hope. Time was calling for a hero. Hope, hero, belief : it’s the vocabulary of faith. We are far from a scientific process that looks for truth based on facts and knowledge. We mix up concepts, pretending our beliefs are facts, our opinion is knowledge and our faith is science. In the world of faith, no need for rationality. You can skip studies to test a treatment, you bet on a medicine and then you see. No need for unity. If two propositions from the same person are contradictory, choose the one you like. When coronavirus appeared, Professor Raoult’s first reaction was to say that it was not a big deal, only a small flu, it wouldn’t reach Europe. His believers then posted a 2009 video in which he was alerting people about the risk of epidemics. It was a proof that he was right, regardless of his last words. The power of faith leads us to see the world as we think it is. We tend to believe in what we want to believe, in and then it will be very difficult to change our minds. Every doubt raised will be seen as a conspiracy led by some lobby. The trend to see conspiracies everywhere is greater in our societies where we doubt of authorities. For bad or good reasons, sometimes they themselves produce fake news, they promote alternative facts.

We can hope that everyone will be aware of his individual responsibility towards planet Earth, in the first place our states, and so on. But I think that our societies will stay the same. Liberals will swear that we need more liberalism, left wing supporters will promote more of a welfare state, nationalists will ask for more protectionism, environmentalists will demand an economy based on more sustainable development … The world that I see is made of islands where people speak to their likes and reject radically different opinions. We witness it everyday on the social networks where blocks confront each other violently under the mask of anonymity. In the world I see, I might be asked one day in a poll if I think that Earth is flat.