Dominique Venner (1935-2013) RIP

The suicide of the French historian Dominique Venner inside Notre Dame Cathedral in protest against the introduction of Gay marriage in France, has, alas, given a new and sad relevance to the our piece that we published here recently about suicide.Notre_Dame_Cathedral_09 None of us can possibly understand the personal anguish felt by M.Venner; and consequenly we are hardly in a position to condemn him too harshly. (M. Venner was 78, and perhaps the years had started to tell?) In any event our thoughts must be with his family.  But it has been claimed on his behalf that his decision to kill himself was a “political act.” If so it is likely to have been a singularly ineffective one, if only because modern western societies have an extraordinary capacity to forget what they find inconvenient to remember. Tunisia is likely in this respect to prove a very special case. The commentary on M. Venner’s death has also claimed that his action was undertaken in emulation of the suicide of the Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima in 1970. But who now remembers Mishima? It is also being asserted that M. Venner’s last work was to be his contribution to a collection of essays (here though the facts are less than clear) entitled “A Samurai of the West, The Beviary of the unsubdued.” But in acting in the way he has M. Venner has done nothing to promote the rich traditional civilisation of France. His was act not so much one of defiance, as of surrender- closer to Vichy than to Verdun. He has joined the ranks of those who have allowed themselves to be  silenced.