Monday, March 19, 2012

Is Sarkozy to blame for racist deaths of children soldiers and a rabbi in France?

In today's Guardian Fiachra Gibbons has an excellent article which outlines the dangers of the lurch to the hard right by France's current government in their despertae bid to cling to power. He writes

Over the past few years of recession and regression, it has become a trite truism of European politics that you can't go wrong going to the right. Politicians across the continent have found a new magic formula for electoral success and survival by playing on fears of foreigners and particularly of Islam – the wink and a nod that says that immigration has been the root of our social and economic decline. This is by no means an exclusively rightwing vice. Anyone who has heard the Dutch Labour party recently will have difficulty putting light between them and the demagogue Geert Wilders.

Until today, they might have tried to argue that there was no harm in it, that it's healthy even, a rebalancing of the scales after two decades of biting our tongues and creeping political correctness.

The French airwaves have been full of such ugly equivocation these past few weeks as Nicolas Sarkozy has lurched his party wildly to the right in an attempt to save his skin, claiming there were "too many immigrants in France"and stoking Islamophobia with a ridiculous claim that the French were being secretly forced to eat halal; his prime minister François Fillon even said Jews and Muslims should put their dietary laws behind them and embrace modernity.

Are we in France now reaping the seeds sown by Sarkozy and his desperate henchmen in their bid to cling to power?

Gibbons continues
Claude Guéant, the interior minister who took personal control of the investigation, has been the most consistently xenophobic, championing the superiority of European Christian civilisation over lesser cultures who force their women to cover up – yes, observant Jews and Muslims, he meant you. The nadir came last week when Sarkozy's new immigration chief Arno Klarsfeld – the eldest son, ironically, of Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld – called for a wall to be built between Greece and Turkey to save Europe from barbarian invaders.

Is it not a disgrace that a man who two weeks ago was attacking Jewish and Muslim religious practices regarding food is now the man France's Jewish and Muslim population must entrust the investigation of these hate crimes too? It is North Africa that many of Toulouse's Jewish inhabitant's families emigrated from. It was North Africa that gave France three of its serving paratroopers, gunned down in cold blood.

Fiachra Gibbons is the first journalist to articulate my feelings on this matter. As an Irishman with a French born child of mixed Irish and French parentage I find each attack on foreigners or outsiders by the President and his wolf pack an insult to me and my French citizen off-spring. It leaves me both angry and determined to resist such hate talk to the fullest of my abilities. My boy goes to creche with children of all races and religions, he does not fear his creche mates and I know he will never hate based on race. That is the good in France. The bad is its current leaders and the hate they preach.

If good is to come from these tragedies then it must be the unification of France's minorities Arab, Berber, Jews, Muslims and atheists, Irish, Belgian, Australian or whatever to join in their rejection at the ballot boxes in April and May of Le Pen and her National Front and most importantly of the now impossible President Sarkozy who preaches hate and fear.

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