Two women united in adversity. A mother, her daughter, and behind them, a whole family whose existence changed in January 2020. “A cataclysm. Overnight it was a confrontation with pure hatred ”, said the mother. “There are days when I get used to it. Others where I have trouble. I have the impression of having lines of knives behind my back all the time ”, adds the girl. A life in tatters which is told in snatches, this Monday, June 21 before the Paris Criminal Court.
→ READ. At the Mila trial, hate messages posted “without thinking”
Throughout the day, Mila and her mother listened to the story of an unlimited hatred, that broadcast in November 2020 by 13 young people, all adults, today in court for insults and death threats. This Tuesday, the prosecution called for sentences of up to 6 months in prison suspended against 12 defendants and requested an acquittal for the thirteenth.
“Our life revolves entirely around its protection”
Messages in which the woman who comes to the bar, in this very late afternoon, knows every word, almost every comma. It’s a bit of a special moment in this trial. Because this is the first time that Mila’s mother has spoken publicly. A woman with a calm and strong voice, which can be seen as a bulwark in the face of her daughter’s weaknesses.“She is very combative, she has made a shell, an armor. But she has ups and downs, moments of depression. Our life revolves entirely around this, its protection. And in the moments when our daughter is bad, it’s very difficult not to sink. “
→ EDITORIAL. Mila case, defend without approving
Every evening, this mother tracks down the hate messages targeting Mila on the networks to pass them on to investigators. ” You have seen photographs of coffin, of decapitated heads. How do you manage to live with all of this? “, asks Me Richard Malka, Mila’s lawyer. ” We are putting in place protection mechanisms. Faced with this flood of messages, we are in awe at the beginning. We’re a bit like in the movie Clockwork Orange with matches under the eyes to keep them open ”, replies this mother, adding that with her and her husband, a whole family is standing up. “My parents help us a lot. But they are old people and I am very afraid of the anguish that all this can cause. “
“Our daughter lives outside of real life”
And the hearing continues with the questions, very numerous, of the defense lawyers. In a sometimes a little curious mixture, the legal arguments coming to telescope the personal feelings. “As a mom…”, said a lawyer, almost at the beginning of every sentence, suggesting to Mila’s mother what, perhaps, she should have done or tried to do. With a nagging question that others in the court also ask: why not immediately cut off the tap on social networks to protect Mila while she was still a minor? And why, even today, let her expose herself to this flood of online horrors?
→ READ. “Mila” affair: religions in the face of insults
“At the start of the affair, there were moments of cutoff, for several months. But it didn’t help. Hateful messages have not stopped ”, Mila’s mother answers. “Today our daughter lives outside of real life, she no longer has a social life. She lives as in a cave, she adds. And social networks are what keeps her with the outside world, what connects her to sociability. Many people support her, it does her good to express herself there. “
“It’s completely human to react like this”
Like a terrible vicious circle for this young woman of 18, cut off from real life outside these networks, which have become the essential crossroads of her existence. Without any real glimmer on the horizon. “We don’t envision Mila’s future. We live from day to day. Sometimes she tells us about projects but she is very lucid. She cannot physically go to a school, nor even find an internship (…) And she knows that she will not be able to work in trades in relation to the public. Even in a restaurant. How to be just a waitress when you are surrounded by police? “
Another question keeps coming back: do you subscribe to the vulgar remarks made by Mila on Islam and which may have offended people, believers or not? “At the beginning, we didn’t jump for joy, that’s for sure. As parents, we give instructions for prudence and moderation ”, answers Mila’s mother, adding that with her two provocative videos, her daughter only did “Retaliate” faced with multiple attacks brandished in the name of this religion, on his personality or his sexual orientations. “In view of what she is undergoing and the threats she receives, it is completely human to react like this. “
“I will not submit”
And Mila, once at the bar, does not say anything else. Leave social networks? “Would we ask a woman who was assaulted in the street not to go back?” “, answers the young woman who wants to continue to publish videos of make-up or to talk about her songs on the Internet. “JI have this need to show that I am always there because they want to crush me permanently. I am here because I am injured. I have messages from people who brag about imprisoning me in my own country. So, I need to answer them (…) And I will not submit ”, said Mila, ensuring that no one else is being used as an instrument. Neither by those who lead a political fight in his name, nor by those who have carved out for him the status of muse of freedom of expression. So heavy to carry, at barely 18.