The Movie “Latifa le cœur au combat”
The story of Latifa Ibn Ziaten is that of an ambitious young girl from Tetouan who crossed the Mediterranean in the late 70s to live in France.
Thirty years later, her son Imad, a French soldier is murdered by Mohammed Merah. Two young muslim men born in France, children of immigrant parents, but with opposite destinies: Imad died because he integrated into the French society, while Merah felt excluded and sought to destroy it. He murdered two other soldiers in Montauban, then three young children and a father in the courtyard of a Jewish school in Toulouse.
On March 22, Merah was finally killed by the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group during the assault on his apartment.
Everything suddenly collapsed for Latifa: her life, his ideal of living together and her vision of French society. However, rather than give up believing, Latifa decided to overcome her pain and make this dream come true. She met many people in France and in Morocco to convince them that this dream still means something and concerns them all. Giving love in response to hatred.
To understand her son’s murder, Latifa went a few weeks later to Merah’s hometown, but it’s been a new shock: she discovered a ghetto city where Merah was considered a hero and a martyr of Islam, where young people have lost all hope and where jihadism is viewed as a model of revolt. In order to avoid another Merah, Latifa began to crisscross France, especially its schools and its prisons, to meet young people.
She tirelessly tells her story and that of her son; she tries to convince them that if the Republic sometimes fails, it remains a strong model that everyone must appropriate to rise and ward off barbarism and violence. Tirelessly, Latifa tries to give hope back to this generation of immigrants’ children who feel left out of society.
Latifa calmly speaks and comfort but doesn’t hesitate to face everyone up to its own responsibilities: she encourages Youth to be more tolerant, and to do everything in their power to get their head above water and fulfill their desires; a political class that she pushes to keep up to this republican ideal she’s willing to defend.
Latifa Ibn Ziaten shakes up all common representations: she’s a strong secularism advocate whereas she’s wearing an Islamic headscarf, she’s a proud Morrocan-born woman yet she became a symbol of the French Republic, and she’s a wounded mother who chose to make her own pain a lever for action. His life journey is as singular as his struggle is universal. Through Latifa’s itinerary, the film tells the story of a disintegration, public policies’ failures, and the everyday life of an abandoned generation. The story of a petrified France that has witnessed for a year the ravages of those failures, caught between terrorism and the rise of all extremisms.
But it’s also the story of a reconquest, led by a Moroccan immigrant become French and determined to restore the Republican ideal and to give hope back to Youth who only asks for support of its elders.
Imad died standing up, refusing to lie down in front of his killer, thus Latifa can’t break down. So her son’s death would not be useless, she decided to live and fight. She decided to stand for this dreamed France, which welcomed her, fed her, made her happy, but which failed to protect her son. For this beautiful and generous France, Latifa will fight. For her, she’ll keep on standing.