French Historian Commits Suicide

    People gather while French policemen cordon off in front of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral near a vehicle of French firefighters on May 21, 2013, following the evacuation of the cathedral after a man shot himself dead in front of the altar. The man, in his 70s, who was well-known far-right figure, committed suicide with a pistol some time after 1400 GMT, investigators said. AFP PHOTO / PIERRE VERDY


    Right-wing historian Dominique Venner shocked visitors Tuesday when he shot himself in the head at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. In a blog posted before his suicide, Venner denounced France's new law legalizing gay marriage and warned that his country was "falling into the power of Islamists." He said "new, spectacular, and symbolic gestures" would be needed to "reawaken" France's racial and cultural origins. Venner fought in France's colonial war in Algeria in the 1960s and was a member of the Organisation de l’Armée Secrète (OAS), a far-right terror group that attempted to overthrow the French government and assassinate President Charles de Gaulle after he agreed to give Algeria independence. Later in life Venner devoted himself to a career as a historian, winning a few prestigious prizes for his books. Members of the French far right, including Front National leader Marine Le Pen, praised Venner's suicide as "eminently political" and "Promethean."

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