Posts Tagged ‘xenophobia’

What does it take for France to get used to fascist junk? Claude Guéant, France’s minister of the interior, provides some help whit that question: “French people have the feeling that uncontrolled migratory flows change their environment, they are not xenophobic but they want France to remain France” (“Claude Géant: Les Français veulent que la France reste la France”, Le Monde, 15 March 2011, linked in “A Paris, Le FN défile ‘en l’honneur des travailleurs'”, Le Monde, 1 May 2011). But what about the French people who do not have that feeling at all? Easy: they are not truly French.


Test your skills in French with this quiz on the parliamentary debate about the “Loi Besson”. The quiz is kindly proposed by La Cimade as part of its campaign against this act of institutional xenophobia.

The amount of evidence in favor of the extreme but plausible hypothesis according to which Nicolas Sarkozy would be, in fact, a dangerous piece of fascist junk (but this is just a working hypothesis) is increasing slightly. This past Thursday, in a much commented TV appearance, he firmly praised against any amnesty to undocumented workers, in reference to recent strikes for work papers (see a couple of background articles from the International Herald Tribune here, here and here). But the problem is that he just confused “régularisation” (giving a work permit, i.e. a green card) and “nationalisation” (granting French citizenship):

“You don’t become French just because you’ve got a job in the kitchen of a restaurant, no matter how fancy.” (quoted in “Nicolas Sarkozy confond naturalisation et régularisation”,, April 25 2008, and in “Quand Sarkozy confond ‘naturalisation’ et ‘régularisation'”, Nouvel Obs, April 25 2008)

Ok, but let’s be fair. This may be just a temporary lapse of awareness, a sign of fatigue, a slight misunderstanding. Perhaps nothing to do with the “Français d’abord” economic unconscious.

(Well, to be checked.)

In the morning of Thursday April 17, 2008, at the Gare du Nord in Paris, passengers were boarding into the 8:25am Thalys train to Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. No border control to pass, since all countries involved are all happy members of the European Community, and their border control policy fall into the Schengen Agreement. But still, some vigilant agents from the customs authority were there to stop and interrogate passengers that look suspicious. Poor agents, torn by the difficulties of their almost impossible semiotic venture. Who shall they pick for interrogation? On the grounds of what? Is there something in a person’s face that should tell something meaningful about faulty behavior? Or should their drop any criteria altogether and put the fate of their vital task into the hands of blind randomness? Well, no. They found the solution to their epistemic quarrel in less than a second: pick the Negro.

The French newspaper Libération makes today available here a facsimile of a very instructive French administrative document:


You have expressed a request for the regularization of your administrative status in France.

I am pleased to inform you that requests for regularization are not handled through postal correspondence. You are kindly asked to proceed in person at the Police Station, Bureau for Foreigners, on Tuesday or Thursday morning, in order to request an examination of your case.

Sincerely yours,

The Prefect”

(from an administrative letter from the Préfecture de Nanterre, reproduced in “Quand les préfectures piègent les sans-papiers”, Libération, April 14 2008)

That’s another trick to catch some immigrant. An internal administrative note, commented also by Libération in the same article, explains how to proceed with the trick: when the obedient applicant pops up, first, the police agent has to ask for the victim’s passport and put it aside, then ask the victim or victims (if it’s a family) to sit in the waiting room, and then arrest them. This second note urges cops to do that conscientiously:

“Expelling foreigners in irregular situation is a priority mission for our services. We are committed to performance targets. I therefore ask you to implement these instructions with great zeal.” (quoted in “Quand les préfectures piègent les sans-papiers”, Libération, April 14 2008)

The game for today is to tell what kind of trick this is. Any guess?

(A hint: it’s not of the hidden camera prank kind.)

For the record: another person died last week out of Sarkozy’s statistical terror. On Friday April 5, the cops where using (as it is becoming usual) transportation fare control as a device to capture some immigrant at the Joinville-le-Pont RER station, near Paris. Someone jumped into the Marne and died of a heart attack. Here is some media coverage at Libération and Le Monde. There is also a statement by RESF (Réseau Education Sans Frontières) here. And Rue89 reported and attempt from associations at occupying the EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) in order to alert intellectuals.

El Roto provides here (in today’s edition of El País) an extremely interesting lesson on political deictics (“them”, “us”, “them or us”). His cartoon clarifies Mariano Rajoy‘s xenophobic campaign for this week’s elections in Spain — “aquí ya no cabemos más ellos” best translated as “there is not enough room for all of us them”.