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Why do migrants hate France so much?

20.04.2012  |  11:02

President Nicolas Sarkozy has given Brussels an ultimatum, demanding that the EU has more stringent border controls. Riots do not take the French by surprise. First riots started in the 1970. The inability of the authorities to rein in powerful stream of French immigration and integrate earlier arrivals represents a time bomb

As we approach the date of the presidential elections in France, as expected, the topic of immigration in the speeches of the candidates is becoming increasingly more acute. All the reasons and aspects are good: halal meat, the burqa, construction of new mosques, unemployment and crime among immigrant youth. President Nicolas Sarkozy has given Brussels an ultimatum, demanding that the EU has more stringent border controls.

If this is not done, France will unilaterally suspend its participation in the Schengen agreement. The recent tragedy in Toulouse and Montauban, where an Algerian immigrant acted as a coldblooded killer of the military and Jewish children only added fuel to the fire. During negotiations with the besieged offender it was found that he was driven by revenge for the suffering of the Palestinians and protest against the ban on wearing the burqa. Before the completion of the operation to neutralize the alleged killer, a leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen has made loud statement that the risk of fundamentalism has been underestimated in France. Political and religious groups develop in the face of certain conciliation and permissiveness.

The killer saw himself first and foremost as a Muslim, not a Frenchman. However, to the credit of most presidential candidates, they avoided getting involved in controversial discussions and refused to equate terrorism, Islam and French Muslims. And yet, questions remain. In May of 2005, I happened to be in the midst of a riot in the city of Perpignan in southern France.

The area of ​​Saint-Mathieu, where I lived, was inhabited by many Gypsies, Arabs and other ethnic minorities. It so happened that in one week Gypsies killed two Arabs, beating one with iron bars, and shooting another. The perturbed Arab population revolted and brought down their wrath upon the quarter of Saint-Mathieu. In one night,

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a picturesque street of Marshal Foch was nearly in ruins: burned cars and buildings, broken and robbed shop windows. Riots do not take the French by surprise.

First riots started in the 1970. Incidentally, in 2005 urban riots swept across France and 28,000 cars were set on fire. The cause of the riot was the fact that on June 20, 2005 in the working-class district of the town of La Courneuve during a shootout between two rival gangs an innocent boy was killed. Nicolas Sarkozy, then the Secretary of the Internal Affairs, arrived in town and said he wanted to clean the city of Kärcher. On October 25, during a visit to the city of Argenteuil, Nicolas Sarkozy used the word "scum" for local residents who threw stones at him.

These expressions were seen by working residents of the suburbs as an insult and a provocation. Just at that time two teenagers were killed who hid from police harassment in the transformer box. That was enough to blow up the situation.

The immigrant suburbs across France revolted, and the order could not be restored for weeks. These events became the reason for greater discussions on social and urban policy, education and integration. Social housing in the immigrant districts has moderate rent rates (known as HLM in French). But this is probably the only advantage of living there. Everyone who can afford it prefers to move to more respectable areas.

The native Frenchmen, in general, have a tendency to go live somewhere in the country, if only to be out of the cities with "sensitive" areas (a euphemism used in France for "immigrant"). Vandalism is a lesser evil characteristic for these regions. The problem is lack of safety.

Criminal gangs feel at ease, drug trafficking is nearly open and can be seen in the lobbies of apartment buildings or in front of supermarkets. The slightest conflict with gang members can turn one's life into hell. Rest after a hard day's work can be forgotten. Local kids gather at night under the windows of apartment blocks and make a great deal of noise.  Other typical crimes include theft and robbery. A friend of mine fell victim of persecution by a criminal group.

One day, she prevented the actions of criminals who in broad daylight were trying to crack open the door of her neighbors. Threats and insults have followed, and the thieves removed the wheels of her husband's car, and her son was regularly attacked by bullies.  "Where are the police?" some would ask. The police are trying to sidestep these ghettos called "zones outside of the law." If someone is hurt in the pursuit of criminals, riots and "nationwide" unrest can be expected. I tried to find out from some French Arab friends an explanation of such uncivilized behavior of their countrymen.

As understood from these explanations, the reasons are rooted in poor education or lack thereof, in the sense of revenge for the colonial past and for the wrongs done to their fathers, as well as to discredit immigrants based on ethnicity. But these arguments seem to be just excuses. France has long left the Maghreb, and people from North Africa are not forced to live in their territory. There is no discrimination in the labor legislation. But who is to blame if enterprises are more willing to hire people with French names than Arabic? As for the education, it is really a problem.

If the French, in most cases, have one or two children per family, and do not spare their time or resources for their upbringing and education, the immigrant families have five or more kids. The care immigrant parents provide to their children mostly boils down to making sure there are fed and dressed, but otherwise they are raised in the streets. Nevertheless, they regularly receive child benefits and other social payments that allow them to exist comfortably even without working. The majority of the riots in 2005 were those of the minors. The authorities of some French cities have been forced to impose a curfew and provide administrative impact on unsuspecting parents who completely lost control over their children. Expressing this kind of criticism of the immigrant population in France is risky, because the critics, represented by numerous human rights defenders, journalists and left wing politicians and associations representing the interests of immigrants immediately express their indignation.

"Immigrant youth is not to blame, it has been devoured by the environment," they say. "This is the most disadvantaged part of our society that suffers from discrimination and does not see any prospects for the future. If they go and destroy things, this is a form of a protest against social injustice." However, such arguments do not convince everyone. After all, the indigenous French do not express their protest in such wild forms, although many of them have suffered from the crisis, lost their jobs and are barely making ends meet. Nicolas Sarkozy came to power in 2007 under the slogan of the security of citizens and the limitations of uncontrolled immigration.

But the campaign promises were not fulfilled. According to the official data of Ministry of Internal Affairs, in 2010, France issued 203,000 immigrant residence permits, which is an absolute record. So, every year the country receives the number of immigrants equal to the average population of a French city. All these people should be treated, provided with housing, work, schools, etc.

This is a significant financial cost, estimated at nearly 70 billion euros per year. Given the fact that the French have difficulty in obtaining housing and employment (the average unemployment rate is 10 percent, and among young people - 23 percent), one can imagine how heavy of a burden on society these costs are. It is no wonder that increasingly more French people feel the isolation of the ruling majority "Union for a Popular Movement" (UMP) from the realities of life, and are inclined towards politicians offering radical solutions, not in words but in deeds. Traditionally, the most acute problems associated with immigration are addressed by the National Front. Its leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen promised, if elected, to take the following steps: - Reduce the number of legal immigrants from 200 000 to 10 000 in the five years; - Complete removal of the right to family reunification; - Reduce the number of asylum seekers who will be allowed to stay in France; - Revise the Schengen agreement on free movement of persons: France regains control at its borders (an item that has already moved into the pre-election rhetoric of Sarkozy); - The fight against illegal immigration that must be reduced to zero; - Use of the principle of priority of French citizens to immigrants; - The legal removal of any possibility of the legalization of clandestine immigrants; - Adoption of the republican model and its values ​​against the Anglo-Saxon multiculturalism. The assimilation should be restored via school, and communitarism shall be eliminated.

France will record in its Constitution, "the Republic does not recognize any communities." If we look back at the tragic story of the Toulouse killer, many are trying to figure out who he is: a psychopath, a terrorist, recruited by al-Qaeda or a Muslim Robin Hood? It is clear that there is no direct causal link between his origin, his religious affiliation, immigrant roots, and the terrible crimes he committed. We only know that his brother and other relatives were involved in the clandestine network engaged in the recruitment of Mujahideen in warring Iraq. This means that the immigrant neighborhoods have become breeding grounds for radicalization and field agents of influence of Islamic fundamentalism. The inability of the authorities to rein in powerful stream of French immigration and integrate earlier arrivals represents a time bomb. If the situation is not brought under strict control, new shocks are inevitable.

Usam Ozdemirov Pravda.Ru Read the original in Russian .



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