While the Paris town hall chose to name the former gendarmerie barracks of Minimes, located on rue des Minimes, a stone's throw from Place des Vosges, with the name of Arnaud Beltrame, the Twitterosphere, peripheral radio stations and news channels info continues got excited about not much.

The object of the controversy? The wording affixed under the name of the senior gendarmerie officer who died on duty, during the hostage-taking at the Super U in Trèbes (Aude), in 2018.

On February 26, the town hall of the 3rd arrondissement inaugurated, “in the most consensual manner possible” according to Le Figaro, Place Arnaud-Beltrame, in the heart of the former Marais gendarmerie barracks.

A plaque is unveiled, which reads: “Jardin Arnaud Beltrame 1973-2018. Colonel of the Gendarmerie. Assassinated during the terrorist attack of March 23, 2018 in Trèbes (Aude) Victim of his heroism. »

It is this last phrase, “victim of his heroism”, which is the subject of debate. Mayor Anne Hidalgo's political opponents criticize her for wording that they consider “politically correct”. Obviously, those concerned would have preferred to see written: “victim of Islamist terrorism”.

However, they forget three things. First, this formulation was validated by the family of the heroic colonel. Arnaud Beltrame's mother was present on the day of the inauguration.

Secondly, this formulation is borrowed from that used to celebrate Jacques Bonsergent, the first hero of the resistance shot by the Nazi regime in 1940 and who gave his name to a metro station. On the platform of this station in the 10th arrondissement, a commemorative plaque reads: “Jacques Bonsergent Engineer of Arts and Crafts. First French victim of his courage and his fraternal feelings shot on December 23, 1940. » There is no mention of the Nazi regime.

Third, the commemorative plaque dedicated to Arnaud Beltrame leaves no ambiguity about the fact that the colonel is a victim of terrorism: it is written in black and white.

This controversy would almost make us forget that the transformation and rehabilitation of the former Minimes barracks constitutes an architectural success. Created by the rh+ architecture firm and the landscape urban planners of the OLM agency, this real estate complex today houses 70 social housing units, a 90-cradle crèche, commercial premises for artisans, a community café and a medical office.

The Arnaud Beltrame garden plaque, ©Paris City Hall

Text: Katia Barillot
Photos: ©Anaïs Costet

14.10.20

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WHAAAAAAAT?!

 

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