Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Blogger subject search tags - france, suicide, children, self-immolation

I posted a piece a few days ago which discussed the worrying changes in the methods of suicide currently being employed here in France, a country which already has exceptionally high suicide rates. In that piece I related that there has been a sharp increase over the last year in 'public suicides'. These forms of suicide, which involve people killing themselves in public places and in front of members of the public, are being increasingly used as a political or ideological tool to express the person's opinions and unhappiness at what they see as being the failures of one aspect or another of society.

I also cited several examples of the phenomenon, one of which concerns a string of suicides and suicide attempts by teachers who have poured petrol over themselves whilst at school and turned themselves into human torches in front of their pupils. Suicide by self-immolation is becoming more prevalent here, and not only amongst teachers.

It was within this context that I read yesterday that a woman in the north of France had committed suicide by immolation in front of seven children. My immediate and almost blasé reaction was 'Oh, yet another teacher. Horrible. What the hell is happening here?!' After all, this kind of thing happens here every few months, and we're 'getting used to it'.

But I was wrong this time. This suicide did not involve a teacher. To sum up the article;
A woman in her forties in Haubourdin, near Lille, set fire to herself in front of her 7 children yesterday in a suicide attempt. The children tried to save her but she died later in hospital, having suffered 80% burns.

I have very rarely read, in all of my 59 years of life thus far, of parents committing suicide in front of their children. But I have NEVER EVER read of a parent who wished to burn to death in front of the children and did so. What kind of perverse forces could lead a mother to betray all the years of loving care she bestowed upon her children only to die an abject death which will traumatise those children for the rest of their lives?

'Public suicides' in France up until now have been carried out in public places and in front of strangers. But this suicide by self-immolation, committed as it was within the context of a family, holds frightening implications for where all this may end up.

As I said before - and as I am saying again now - the phenomenon of suicide-by-immolation in France is becoming extremely worrying.



  1. Le summum de l'horreur qu'on peut faire subir à des enfants!!!!!!
    Quand on voit comment certaines familles s'occupent de leurs enfants, on aurait envie de leur faire passer les mêmes tests qu'aux parents candidats à l'adoption...
    Mais on n'a pas le droit, je crois?

    1. Non, on n'a pas le droit, mais en dépit du fait que ce serait impossible à légiferer - et parfois pour des bonnes raisons - il y a des moments comme ceci quand on se demande comment faire pour empecher ce genre de drame insoutenable. Je n'ose même pas imaginer l'horreur que ces enfants ont vecu, et continueront toutes leur vie à vivre sans doute....:(

  2. What gets to me when reading the comments from the link you gave is that a lot of them seem to blame the government,or society for her death.
    Society didn't make her lit the match, she did it by herself, and it certainly didn't make her stand in front of her kids.

    1. Yes, I too noticed those comments and they made rather depressing reading. Ah well, that's how it goes in a paternalistic 'Father Figure' run country like France, where people believe that the state should somehow do all the work and forsee and compensate them for their human failings...