April 13, 2006


Déjà Vu All Over Again (ABDELLAH TAÏA, 4/13/06, NY Times)

France lives today, more than ever, in a utopian fantasy. The gap between the political leadership and the people is enormous. The elites seem to speak to us of outdated concepts, far, very far from reality. France can't deal with its "foreigners" who have French nationality and does little to integrate them into society. Islam is the second religion of the country, yet France cannot speak intelligently to its millions of Muslims; it calls us all the "Muslim community" as if there were only one way to be a Muslim.

France knows that it needs to change its economic system, but each attempt is blocked, as it was this week with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's bid to encourage businesses to give jobs to young people by loosening the strict labor laws governing their hiring and firing. It's often said that the French are all grumblers, and that cliché is more than true.

While the students who have been in the streets are right to protest against the precarious life that awaits them, it's also true that the French are timid, even frightened of change, as we saw last year in their strong reaction against the entry of Turkey into an enlarged European Union.

If your system had endured such an abyssmal two hundred years you'd be terrified of the future too.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 13, 2006 8:03 AM

--it calls us all the "Muslim community" as if there were only one way to be a Muslim.--

Well, that's their next fight, isn't it? And we might be caught in the middle.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 13, 2006 9:51 AM

While the students who have been in the streets are right to protest against the precarious life that awaits them,

Non! The students are wrong! Of all the methods for affecting future outcomes in one's favor, protest is the least effective. Yet the Left has turned the act of protest into a quasi-religious sacrament, or ritual, to magically summon the gods of righteous indignation who will bestow upon the believer their favor.

If you are poor, don't work hard, protest! If society does not recognize your special and unique gifts, protest! If you have a boo-boo, protest! But for Pete's sake, whatever you do, never take responsibility for your own destiny.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at April 13, 2006 10:44 AM

"Islam is the second religion of the country..."

And what is the first, praytell? Worship of the self?

Posted by: b at April 13, 2006 11:48 AM

their is a reason that the chicken is the national symbol of france.

Posted by: toe at April 13, 2006 12:17 PM

Isn't it the cock?

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at April 13, 2006 12:34 PM

Ali, you are correct.

However, I recall reading an article someplace that says that the actual "coc Galois" that is the national symbol of France is as endangered as the Bald Eagle used to be.

Posted by: Ptah at April 13, 2006 12:58 PM

it's still a chicken, just not a hen.

Posted by: toe at April 13, 2006 2:48 PM

The French have good reason to be terrified of the future.

Ethnic/religious strife aside, it's a 100% sure thing that France will not be able to provide her Boomers with the pensions and benefits that were promised, but will nonetheless begger the Boomers' children and grandchildren, (what few there are of them), in attempting to do so.

Instead of rioting, the young French students should have been filling out visa applications.
Australia and New Zealand are looking for labor, among others.
Plenty of opportunity in South and Central America too.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 14, 2006 1:40 AM


Froggy doesn't travel, and you should hear what the natives have to say about him in those few places where he does, like Quebec.

Just to give you a taste, here's the opening line from a screamingly hilarious skit on French tourists I saw on Quebec TV about ten years ago:

Customs Officer: Bienvenue. Avez-vous quelque-chose a declarer? (Welcome. Do you have anything to declare?)

Tourist: Oui! Vive La France!

Posted by: Peter B at April 14, 2006 6:43 AM

karma is a bitch. does anyone here think the u.s. will step in when paris starts burning ?

Posted by: toe at April 14, 2006 1:07 PM

Yes, I think we will step in again, but the third time will be the charm and we'll demand law and order be established. There are precious few francophiles left among We,the People these days.

Posted by: erp at April 14, 2006 3:49 PM