Extreme Far-Right Historian Commits Suicide in Notre Dame

Notre Dame Cathedral Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Mschlindwein

Notre Dame Cathedral
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Mschlindwein

In an act of political protest, extreme far-right historian, Dominique Venner, committed suicide in front of the altar in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Tuesday.

He left a letter explaining his motives on the altar and shot himself through the mouth while regular tours were taking place. Police quickly evacuated the cathedral, as an estimated 1500 people were touring at the time.

According to Venner, his goal was to speak out against the legislation that recently legalized same-sex marriage in France. Venner was an outspoken member of the far-right, and wrote a blog criticizing gay rights and immigration.

Venner was also a noted essayist, writing on extreme nationalist themes. In the 1960s, he was a member of the Organisation de l’Armée Secrète (Organization of the Secret Army), a French terrorist nationalist group during the Algerian War. The group used arms to attempt to prevent Algeria’s independence from French rule, and was responsible for the 1962 assassination attempt on French President Charles de Gaulle.

It is evident that Venner saw himself as a martyr. “In the face of immense dangers for my French and European heritage, I feel the need to act, while I still have the force,” he wrote.  “I believe it is necessary to sacrifice myself to break the lethargy that oppresses us.”

Venner’s suicide prompted quick responses from both conservatives and liberals. On Wednesday, police arrested a member of Femen, a feminist organization based in Ukraine, after she staged a mock-suicide while topless at Notre Dame. Acting on behalf of Femen, the woman appealed for the end of fascism, with “May fascism rest in hell” written on her torso.

Femen has attained significant exposure in recent years in France.  In February, a group of Femen protestors staged a topless celebration of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation in Notre Dame Cathedral.

Other political figures have praised Venner. Marine Le Pen, leader of the extreme far-right Front National party, acknowledged Venner’s death as an “eminently political” gesture. “All our respect [to Venner]”, she wrote. Louis Aliot, vice-president of the Front National, also praised Venner, saying the historian was an “intransigent and courageous defender of our civilization’s values.”

Venner was 78.

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  1. […] Extreme Far-Right Historian Commits Suicide in Notre Dame (lajeunepolitique.com) […]

  2. […] Venner, the right-wing historian who committed suicide before the altar of Notre Dame to protest gay marriage, had a long, deep involvement with the extreme right in […]

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