Sleepy Domrémy-la-Pucelle, located in the bucolic Vosges countryside occupies an important place in the soul and history of France. It was here in 1412 that the nation’s most famous daughter, Joan of Arc, was born and lived until the age of sixteen when a series of visions lead her on an adventure that would secure French victory in the Hundred Years’ War and deliver medieval France from occupying English forces.
Fast forward just over six centuries and a more contemporary controversy is the talk of Domrémy – les migrants – and in particular, the impending arrival of some 54 ‘unaccompanied minors’ – due to arrive today.
Inhabitants of the ordinarily tranquil village are up in arms for not having been consulted on the project, learning only at the last minute of plans to house the migrants; a largely successful tactic employed by the French government to avoid the protest movements which have successfully derailed similar projects.
Residents hastily organized a meeting for Monday having learned that maintenance work on a former boarding school was part of a plan to open a migrant center next to the ancestral home – still standing – of Joan of Arc. A Facebook page was created condemning the ‘’dictatorship’’ of the mayor, Daniel Coince, for betraying his community – already one of the most indebted municipalities in the country – and for imposing the decision without democratic consultation.
Word quickly spread of plans to turn sleepy Domrémy into a ‘’mini Calais’’ with the local Front National criticizing President Emmanuel Macron for cutting the housing aid budget whilst at the same time finding funds for an extra 12,500 places for migrants and asylum seekers.
Would the character and tranquility of the village be ruined, residents demanded to know at Monday’s meeting. What would the migrants have to do bar wander the streets, and where was the sense in imposing over fifty youths from troubled backgrounds on one of the region’s most touristic villages, itself home to just over 100 mainly retired inhabitants?
The rural county of Vosges, where Domrémy is located, has already seen migrants installed in numerous towns and villages, including nearby Saint-Dié, Epinal, Monthureux-sur-Saône, Darney and Thaon. The resettlements are part of a controversial policy which sees tens of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants from ‘‘saturated’’ Paris and northern port cities redistributed to rural France by the French Interior Ministry; hotels, former military barracks and holiday resorts are routinely commandeered to house a seemingly endless stream of arrivals.
Critics of the policy contend that rigorous border enforcement and deportation of illegal immigrants is the only long-term solution to France’s migrant crisis, itself part of a wider European crisis which intelligence services claim is but the tip of the iceberg; estimates of those waiting to cross the Mediterranean in the short to medium term range from 6 to an incredible 30 million persons.
And what might Joan of Arc make of the foreigners headed for her village, and pouring into 21st century France? Despite the Catholic Church being heavily involved in pro-migrant advocacy, with Pope Francis a proponent of opening Europe’s doors, history suggests she might take a more fighting tone.
One historically-minded Frenchman explained to The Gateway Pundit that during the legal process which lead to her execution for heresy in 1431, her prosecutor, Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, attempted to trick the young Joan with a theological question to prove her guilt.
‘‘Jeanne, Does God not also love the English?’’ her inquisitor, tested.
‘Yes, God loves them… but in their own land!’‘ the French heroine and Catholic saint fired back.
UPDATE: July 27th: This project has been abandoned following representations made to the mayor and municipal council by residents of the village. Contacted by The Gateway Pundit, a spokesperson described the decision as a victory for common sense and democracy, explaining that local residents were now eager to put the matter behind them.
Photo Credits: Domremy.fr