Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Guéant: Preaching in Arabic OK

Claude Guéant, minister of the interior:

"Il est constitutionnellement impossible d'interdire le prêche en arabe", car "on n'interdit pas les messes en portugais ou l'hébreu dans les synagogues", a expliqué Claude Guéant dans ce qui semble être une réponse à Jean-François Copé. Le secrétaire général de l'UMP a, en effet, souhaité inclure dans le débat la question du prêche en français, soulevant l'indignation des responsables musulmans. Concernant des dérapages de prédicateurs, Claude Guéant a rappelé que la loi prévoyait des "sanctions" mais a ajouté : "En ce moment, rien de tel n'est signalé."
Or Latin, for that matter, he might have added (and I'm not sure that "masses in Hebrew" is what the good Guéant meant to say--the slip is in a certain way revealing). Sheesh, to think that such a law was even thinkable says something about where things stand.

Nick (see comments) points out that the slip was mine, so I guess I should leave it in there as revealing in its own right! Apologies to M. Guéant.

Julien Landfried on the Left's Shortcomings in Facing the FN

Here. (h/t Laurent Bouvet)

"Elle appelle un chat un chat"

Robert Ménard se réjouit du score de Marine Le Pen by FrenchCarcan
In this clip, Robert Ménard, ex-president of Reporters sans frontières, exemplifies precisely the sort of ras-le-bol anger that I fear is propelling the candidacy of Marine Le Pen. He's disgusted with la classe politique, he says, and it's about time somebody struck the fear of God into those salauds. "Tell me what difference there is between DSK and Sarkozy. There is none." And more of the same. This is the reaction of the beauf, the barroom loudmouth, the angry lout who thinks they're all bums anyway, and it will do them some good if they're shaken up by a populist tsunami. He seems unable to imagine the destructive potential of such a tidal wave, perhaps because he's riding its crest. I'm afraid there are all too many like him. (h/t Oumma)

Income Inequality by Département



Unless I missed it, French bombers have yet to take off for Libya, despite President Sarkozy's announcement, and Bernard-Henri Lévy has not yet stormed Tripoli with his breast bared. Meanwhile, Kadhafi's forces seem set to retake Benghazi and end the abortive revolution. This is a pity, even a tragedy, and for reasons having nothing to do with Sarkozy's misstep. But this episode in a way encapsulates the entire Sarkozy presidency. He correctly identified a real problem and a real opportunity. He precipitously proposed an ill-thought-out solution without enlisting the support he would have needed to follow through. He alienated key allies, such as Juppé and Merkel. He milked the announcement for a couple of days in the limelight. And then he moved on to other things. He is a president with an attention span that is as short as a three-year-old child's--sometimes shorter.

For a very thoughtful reflection on Libya in a much broader context, read Judah Grunstein.

ADDENDUM: Le Monde today calls for a no-fly zone, which in the present state of fighting would certainly accomplish nothing:

Nicolas Sarkozy a raison. Il faut un geste militaire pour aider les rebelles à sanctuariser Benghazi. Ce peut être une zone d'exclusion aérienne au-dessus de la ville. Américains et Européens en ont les moyens, largement. Il est temps de les mettre en œuvre.
Kadhafi has managed to move armor and artillery across the desert and has used his firepower effectively to drive the rebels out of their strongholds. His air force has played only a small role. Le Monde's intentions may be good, but its proposal is no more serious than Sarkozy's.

Oy, oy, oy!

A new polemic has erupted over the pseudo-question of "Who decontaminated the Front National?" That is the title of an article in Le Nouvel Obs, which accuses Alain Finkielkraut, Élisabeth Lévy, Philippe Cohen, Éric Zemmour, and Ivan Rioufiol. I won't detain you with the arguments of the attackers or the counterarguments of the attacked. This food fight is a règlement de comptes in the worst Parisian style and a distraction from the far more pressing questions of the hour: To what segments of the population is the appeal of the revamped FN most attractive? What sorts of arguments might counter the growing FN influence? Why have the major parties failed to respond to the discontent indicated by these shifts? Can they do so without betraying their core values? Will they resist the temptation to take the low road? If Le Nouvel Obs wanted to do the country a service, it would send its reporters out into the field to talk to new FN recruits rather than clip the columns of its competitors and scour them for points of coincidence with some aspect of FN discourse.