Tuesday, August 17, 2010


John Vinocur sees a wider European context for the recent French crackdown on immigrant nonconformity and criminality.


Anonymous said...

France stands out because it's blasted others for purported infringements to universal rights (hypocrisy: now it doesn't apply to France?), because its president comes from immigrant background himself (and played on it heavily during the campaign), because the distance between discourse and reality is so great, because also it's purely done for electoral gain.

It's sad that a democratic party would choose stirring these ideas and vouch for intolerance, instead of leading its people toward better things.

It's ironic the "land of human rights" would require some citizens to carry passports for travel within France (stamped in police stations) or would dismantle shacks without a thought as to where the people will go, after heaping scorn on other countries that behaved not nearly as cruelly.

The Bordeaux situation is pretty significant though: the travellers were sent away and then... what?
They don't magically disappear. Being citizens, they've got the same rights as others. No doubt some people are now thinking of revoking said rights due to their "travelling nature"...?

Where they were they didn't cause trouble, now they're out on the street asking for a place to camp.
Not sure that was what Sarkozy had in mind.

MCG said...

Vinocour says, "Out of comfort and a habit of buying off trouble, [these countries] have also taken a pass on a confrontation with immigrants over their nations’ requirements for integration — and their civilizations’ demands for respect . . . ."

Citizenship is not a universal human right. The question is how newcomers can qualify to obtain or retain citizenship. The burden is on them to integrate and to meet the demands of the new country for respect. Criminality is unacceptable. Perhaps now Mr. Sarkozy can stop "buying off trouble." The burden is on those who would deny the right of a country to expel immigrant criminals.

Anonymous said...

Good! At least we've dispensed with the fig-leaf. It was always clear that the latest round of French-bashing was anti-Europeanism in disguise.

Anonymous said...

@MGC and Anonymous:
Citizenship is not a "right". But when a person is a citizen, that person is a citizen. Period.

President Sarkozy is not saying it's unacceptable to be a criminal: he's saying that a French criminal is different from another French criminal, not based on what crime they committed, but based on where they or their parents come from.

There's also the ridiculous notion that killing a police officer is worse than killing thousands of civilians in terrorist attacks.
Don't you find that offensive?
Right now, in France, murdering a police officer is 22 years without parole, if I'm not mistaken. It's not like cop-killers are let off easy.

Not to mention that I doubt the would-be murderer would think 'oh no, I'd lose my citizenship, I'll drop my weapon then.'
So it'd have zero effect upon people's safety.

(To tell you the truth, I find the idea that 'all people born in a country are citizens' makes things easier for all involved; as for those who acquire citizenship, I don't see how you can distinguish AFTER the awarding. Of course awarding of anything, from Légion D'honneur for being friends with someone to byzantine driving license exams, is not a garantee of fairness in France.)

If a newcomer doesn't qualify for French citizenship because they don't speak French and don't agree with democracy, that's one thing.
But if someone who's been French for 10 or 15 years - or someone's children - can be stripped of citizenship, now there's a big democratic problem for the country that does the stripping.

Anonymous said...

The first "Roms" are going to be sent back to Romania today, with a bonus check of 300 euros per adult, 100 per child, in a special flight (which costs much more than regular flights.)
The journalist did not fail to mention they would likely come back soon, since they're European citizens and are thus entitled to travel around Europe as they wish.
Will probably collect their 600 euros and go back a couple times each year, don't you think?

In terms of "public safety" and "security": pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"Refus de remonter à la source des maux. Jeter les gens à la rue, miser sur la répression et réduire les moyens éducatifs : n'est-ce pas la pire manière de combattre la délinquance ?"



MCG said...

One of our several Anonymouses said, "They would likely come back soon, since they're European citizens and are thus entitled to travel around Europe as they wish."

The Roms at issue here are entitled to travel around, but they not entitled to stay in France. France, however, is entitled to expel those who don't meet certain standards. My understanding is that citizens of EU countries can travel freely around Europe, but to stay in France for more than three months they must demonstrate either that they have a job or that they are students, plus other qualifications. One is citizen of a particular country, not a "European citizen."

Anonymous said...

@MCG: the comment referred to was mine (I signed) :p

I guess you're right, they're not entitled to stay, but what if they settle next to a border and just go back and forth?
It really doesn't make any sense financially to pay so much money for people who can come back as they please. It's for show but does not change anyone's situation on the ground.