Tag Archives: France

One Refugee Stays, Thousands Depart!

The world of a refugee is often the luck of the draw in determining who is allowed to remain and who must quickly depart. Three years ago, a penniless and illiterate 14 year-old boy from Afghanistan was dumped by people smugglers in the streets of Lille. Today, Shariff Hasanzade is the French amateur super-lightweight boxing champion of the country. Ironically, the new champion is also an illegal immigrant who technically should be deported. On his arrival in France, he was placed in a local school and one day stumbled into boxing and soon learned to become very proficient at what began as a hobby. A day after he won the boxing championship, Immigration MinisterEric Besson, announced, “Starting now, Sharif Hassanzade can apply… to obtain his residency permit and start, if he so wishes, the procedure to become a citizen.”

The story merely illustrates that when immigrants have something to offer the new country they are welcomed, but if they simply are an unskilled worker whose only contribution is doing work that ordinary citizens would not be caught doing, then they are asked to depart. It is the luck of the draw and these days as unemployment rises, thousands of illegal immigrants will be leaving.

France Accepts Holocaust Resposibility

Many nations in Europe continue to twist and dodge concerning their behavior during World War Ii when six million Jews were sent to their deaths by the Germans. It is often ignored that Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria were allies of Nazi Germany and participated in the war as active participants. The French people have always found themselves divided since it was clear there were many collaborators with the Nazis and the Vichy regime worked closely with Germans in rounding up and deporting Jews to death camps. France’s highest judicial body finally recognized the French government’s responsibility for the deportation of Jews and made clear the Vichy government was fully “responsible” for these actions. The decision also stated that those who were deported had been compensated and therefore the claimants request for compensation was denied.

The judicial council called for a “solemn recognition of the state’s responsibility and of collective prejudice suffered” by those who were deported.

Is Athens Flu Catching?

There is speculation riots by Greek youth against their nation’s corrupt politics may spread to other European nations. Yesterday, young Athens demonstrators spray-painted two slogans on the French Institute which said: “Spark in Athens. Fire in France. Insurrection is coming.” the other said: “france, greece, uprising everywhere.” The Greek riots may be picked up by modern forms of youth communication such as the Internet or Facebook or MySpace in order t spur youth to rebel against all forms of authority. For two weeks, Greek youngsters have been engaged in an orgy of rioting and destruction which has evolved from anger over the death of a fifteen year old boy into general mayhem.

Youngsters are protesting against a corrupt government, and against attempts to institute changes in an education system which has scant meaning to contemporary students. In a sense, the students reject change and are protesting in order to maintain the status quo even though they dislike the status quo.

France has all the ingredients for a riot. Students are not pleased with the current political system, they don’t like the university system, they don’t like globalism and they recognize their are deep seated problems in dealing with multicultural groups. European youth want change but oppose change. In a sense, they are rootless and without a vision about the future.

France Yanks Ads Off Public Television

President Nicolas Sakozy has pushed through parliament a bill that requires television stations funded by the French government to cease taking advertisements in order to be funded. The president argues removing ads represents a “veritable cultural revolution” that will restore quality to public television which increasingly has to compete with commercial television. The bill also allows the president of France–currently Nicolas Sarkozy– to select the chief of the public broadcasting company. In theory, a public broadcasting company should be independent from political control. Didier Mathus, of the Socialist Party, believes the change is really an attempt by Sarkozy to place public television on a leash during the upcoming 2012 presidential election.

Many years ago when television first appeared there was extensive discussion in American about the importance of having a non-commercial public television station that maintained “quality broadcasting.” Unfortunately, with the emergence of hundreds of television stations the issue of quality gets lost because people do have choices. Unfortunately, those choices often result in American Idol programs over serious discussions on public television.

The issue is not ads or no ads. The issue is offering programs that are seen by people. We humans tend all too often to seek the lowest common denominator in television. Such is the human condition.

French Catholic Bishops Oppose Sunday Shopping

The head of French bishops expressed strong opposition to proposals by President Sarkozy to allow stores to open on Sunday in order to spur the economy and allow people to do more shopping. Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, declared, “this is an unhealthy development because I believe that a society that has no bearings to mark its use of time is a society that is coming apart.” He pointed out Sunday was often the only time of the week when children and parents could gather and enjoy a pleasant family meal. The Archbishop also cited high divorce rates which somehow connect to shopping or something like that.

If the Archbishop has such a strong desire to ensure people are not shopping on days when they might best attend a religious event, why isn’t he arguing against allowing shops to open on Saturday when Jews are supposedly in synagogues or close on days when Muslims or Buddhists need a day of rest? If we really want to give people time to be with families, let’s just ban all shopping and have them remain home.

If any family want time together they can make it and there is no connection to shopping or not shopping. In fact, they can all shop together and have a pleasant meal along the way.

China Still On Talk With Dalai Lama Is Provocative

The Chinese Communist government view of the world is that any nation which speaks to the Dalai Lama is, by definition, interfering in the internal affairs of the Chinese republic. President Sarkozy met with the Dalai Lama over the weekend, and, most probably, urged him to work for peace with the Chinese government. But, the mere fact, Sarkozy dared to speak with someone classified by the Chinese as an “unspeakable one” means France is on the road to destroying its relations with China. “The Chinese government firmly opposes and strongly protests to the action.” Of course, the “action,” consisted of speaking with someone. According to the Chinese version of events, they had good relations with France until Sarkozy began his hostile actions by having a speaking engagement with the Dalai Lama.

The Chinese government still does not grasp that in the modern world, no nation can tell other nations who they can speak with and who they can not speak with. One doubts if China will give President Sarkozy a veto on which nations China is allowed to trade with or receive delegations from to its country. The Dalai Lama wants peace with China, he accepts the concept China will govern his land, but only asked for extended local autonomy.

French First Lady Urges End To Racism

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of the French president, was inspired by Barack Obama’s victory and joined with other prominent figures to urge the French people to learn from the American experience. They issued a manifesto entitled: “Oui, nous pouvons,” which means, “Yes, we can,” taken from the Obama slogan. It is a call for an end to racism in France and a new birth of freedom from prejudice. “Our prejudices are insidious,” says Mrs. Sarkozy, and the Obama victory highlights failure on the part of French people to address issues of prejudice in their society. The manifesto was written by Yazid Sabeg, a self made millionaire from Algeria, who believes Obama is very popular in France because his victory “testifies to the aspirations of all the children of France who are experiencing by proxy a recognition that France does not give them.”

Mrs. Sarkozy said the election of Obama gave her “an immense joy.” The world is basking in America’s decision to end its historic denial of rights to African Americans. Although she was born in Italy, she now feels not only part of the French nation but part of the new world being created by the election of Obama.

Were French Soldiers Betrayed In Afghanistan?

The deaths of ten French soldiers and wounding of twenty in Afghanistan last week has raised questions concerning how a group of soldiers belonging to a crack military unit wandered into a trap. The French weekly paper, Le Carnard enchaine claimed yesterday, the wereabouts of the French troops who were caught in a deadly ambush near Kabul on 18 August were passed on to their attackers either by their interpreter or by Afghanistan police or soldiers. A French parliamentary committee is currently investigating the incident. According to the French newspaper, the interpreter who was assisting the French troops somehow disappeared a few hours before they set out on the operation. Claude Angeli, who wrote the story, notes, “common sense should have led his superiors to fear that he had warned the insurgents of the arrival of the patrol.” He also claims four French soldiers were captured during the initial ambush and then executed by Taliban insurgents.

A debate is emerging within the French government regarding what exactly is happening in Afghanistan. French Defense Minister Herve Morin told a parliamentary committee the situation in Afghanistan is not really a war, but Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner insists military clashes are “the same as war.”

The situation in Afghanistan is not a war in the conventional usage of the word nor is it exactly a guerrilla war in the classic definition of that expression. In some respects it resembles aspects of the Vietnam War when within South Vietnam there existed a considerable portion of the population that was sympathetic to the North Vietnamese communists. At times US and South Vietnam troops did not know exactly who they were fighting since their opponents often were warned by local population about the location of enemy forces. The only solution in such situations is for the government to win over people by being effective, free of corruption and offering vision of the future that is accepted by most people.

Furor In France Over Afghanistan Role

The death of ten French soldiers and wounding of twenty in one battle with Taliban forces has created a growing conflict among French people as to exactly the role their nation and its armed forces should be performing in Afghanistan. The deaths were the highest suffered by the French army in over 24 years. President Nicolas Sarkozy immediately rushed to Afghanistan to show his support for the French army and assured the fighting men,”France is resolved to pursue the fight against terrorism, for democracy and liberty. I don’t have any doubt about that. We have to be here.” The Taliban ambush came only months after Sarkozy agreed to send an additional 700 troops to the fighting zone.

The opposition Socialist party is raising questions about France’s objectives in afghanistan. Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande called for a parliamentary debate on French policy in Afghanistan. In an interview he commented: “It is the Afghans themselves who need to provide security for Afghans and not an operation of occupation.” Right wing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, denounced the fighting as “an endless war that the United States is waging in this country in its own interests.” President Bush is extremely unpopular in France so those opposing fighting in Afghanistan undoubtedly will connect the war there with American objectives and interests.

After seven long years of fighting and claims by Bush the war would soon be over, most Europeans don’t trust him and have scant interest in what happens in Afghanistan.

Who Did What In Rwanda Genocide?

The Rwandan government has issued a 500 page report that alleges France was aware of preparations for the genocide and the French military in Rwanda helped to plan and carry out the killings of members of the Tutsi minority. It accuses French troops in Operation Turquoise of acts of murder and rape against Tutsi people of whom 800,000 were slaughtered by the Hutu majority. The Rwandan government calls on international bodies to indict French officials for their role in the Rwandan genocide.

French Defense Minister Herve Morin rejected as “intolerable” the allegations by Rwanda concerning the supposed role played by French forces in the genocide that led to the death of 800,000 Tutsis. Morin was in Rwanda and argues, “I still remember what the military did to save hundreds and thousands of human lives in abominable conditions.” he claims a French parliamentary investigation cleared French troops of any inhumane behavior.

Perhaps, it is time for the African Union or the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation since charges of genocide should not be lightly made or disputed.