Friday, September 05, 2008

Guénon and "France's Malcolm X"

Guénon has found a new fan in France: Kémi Séba, a somewhat notorious African-nationalist activist, who recently converted to Islam and is being referred to by some as "France's Malcolm X." His following, however, seems considerably smaller than that of America's Malcolm X.

Séba read Guénon in a French jail in early 2008, while serving the most recent of a series of short sentences for inciting racial hatred. In an August 2008 interview with Saphir News, a French Muslim on-line newspaper, he referred to several of Guénon's works, and said that although Guénon was not the only reason for his conversion to Islam, it was Guénon who had shown him that Islam was more than the religion of the Arabs (Séba's previous African-nationalist position had condemned Arabs, and so Islam, as well as Jews, Zionists, and whites in general). Séba's reading of Guénon had evidently led him to accept the Traditionalist version of the perennial philosophy, though Séba did not use the term. Another reason for Séba's conversion to Islam was evidently prior membership of the Nation of Islam. Séba's interviewer, Amara Bamba, also comes over as something of a Guénon enthusiast.

Despite his conversion, Séba remains radical. His Mouvement des Damnés de l’Impérialisme (MDI, Movement of those Damned by Imperialism) and he himself are now standing publicly with Hizbollah against Zionism, for example. The political shift seems to have been from condemning the existing order in the name of Africanism to condemning the existing order in the name of all the oppressed.

Séba was born Stellio Capochichi in 1981 in Strasbourg to parents who had emigrated to France from Benin. Before establishing the MDI, Séba founded and led two other organizations described as "antisemitic ultra-radical mini-groups" by Le Figaro, the Tribu Ka (Ka Tribe, from 2004 until its dissolution by government order in 2006) and the Génération Kémi Séba (from 2007). Although it was the antisemitism of these organizations that drew the attention of the French police and press, antisemitism does not seem to have been their only point.

My thanks to Jean-François Mayer for drawing my attention to the Saphir News interview.


Jean-Yves Camus, IRIS said...

What real understanding he has of Guénon's doctrine is to be seen, because Seba's following is now composed not only of black supremacists, but also of Extreme-Right National Revolutionaries. Some say that he came to read Guénon through their teachings.

Antiglobalism said...

Interesting. I've always been a fan of Malcolm X. The convergance between him and Guénon would lie in the ethno-traditional aspect, but the former wasn't a mystic like the latter was. Interesting combination though.