Is France’s Center Falling Apart?

Asks John Rossant.

He writes that this incident

On Jan. 31, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy visited a Paris shopping mall to win support for the center-right in upcoming elections. Within minutes, a group of youths — most of North African background — began hurling insults. Sarkozy, a potential presidential candidate, was chased until he reached a police station.

and this one

Later, in the Burgundian town of M?con, First Lady Bernadette Chirac attended a benefit concert for children’s hospitals. All went smoothly until a Franco-Israeli chanteuse named Shirel began a song about Jerusalem. According to those present, up to 30 Arabs in the audience suddenly began screaming epithets: “dirty Jew,” “death to the Jews.”

were too common occurrences to rate much national media attention.

After more examples and arguments, Rossett concludes:

The school system is increasingly ill-adapted to the multicultural and multi-ethnic nation France has become. Underfunded universities are prompting an unprecedented brain drain. And the arrogance of the big political parties is alienating voters. A recent example is the government’s support of former Prime Minister Alain Jupp?, head of the ruling party, after his conviction on corruption charges.

With few public figures to respect, North African kids often figure they’ve nothing to lose if they join extremist movements. At the other end of the spectrum, plenty of native French are ready to ditch the old doctrines of moderation for something nastier. With regional elections due on Mar. 21 and 28, polls already are showing important gains for extremist parties — and losses for the center-left and center-right coalitions that have long held the reins of power. Given the current climate in France, it’s hard to be surprised — and hard not to be discouraged.

I don’t know enough to say, but it’s worrying.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Minorities and integration and tagged by Doug Merrill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

1 thought on “Is France’s Center Falling Apart?

  1. were too common occurrences to rate much national media attention.

    hmmm, It looks like L’affaire Shirel took place on the evening of February 1, in front of a live audience of 5000.

    The Minister of Justice put out a press release announcing that he is shocked by this, and an investigation is being launched, on Sunday February 2nd.

    February 4, LCI, reports that 5 Franco-Arabs (4 being juveniles) have been served with a court-summons.

    Please explain why this particular story should have legs ?

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