Sarkozy’s elitist actions hurt France
Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Updated: Thursday, September 30, 2010 21:09
President Sarkozy announced early July that his government would enforce the expulsion of the Roma, a stateless, vagabond ethnic group originally from Romania and Bulgaria. While half of his incumbents support the move, forceful voices strongly oppose such vehement action, calling it xenophobic and paranoid, whereas France's supporters from abroad cry out disappointment.
In the 1960s and 1970s, France prided itself as one of the most multiethnic populations in Western Europe, welcoming immigrants from its former colonies from North Africa to southeast Asia. The glamour capital of the world, it sported cities such as Paris, Marseille, Lyon and the beautiful Riviera, flaunting an immense historical and cultural legacy that attracted millions each year.
However, political mismanagement and financial difficulties have transformed France's image, and its decline imposed the need for a strong charismatic leader such as Francois Sarkozy, France's own Obama.
Sarkozy's strong sense of national identity led him to dislike the foreign influence that had been infiltrating the country, calling first generation immigrants living in the suburbs "scum" and violently proclaiming against the European Union's open borders. Thus, he has directed this distaste on the relatively small, low-crime population of Roma living in camps, pricing 100 euros on a poor, uneducated child's head to "go back" to a state that is not really theirs.
Sarkozy is afraid of the destruction of a culture that seems so precious: why should the Eiffel tower be demoted to shabby caravans and sprawling camp fires? He is hasty to rid France of people that have no education, no resources and, above all, that are not French.
Though the influx of immigrants may frighten governments due to poverty, assimilation and demographics, this has never been a French policy. Those who asked several thousands of immigrants to install themselves and rebuild a country destroyed by World War II are now turning their backs to those who may be desperately in need. This may be the first step in many. Who will be next? Those who have been living in cities for many generations, whose only fault is the absence of a French name?
By ordering the deportation of the Roma, may it be legal or not, humane or not, Sarkozy is not preserving identity: he is spoiling it. As a European country that is a step away from legalizing gay marriage, who puts women in government and has the best social security system in the world, this is failure.
France was once a maverick, putting out the first Declaration of Human Rights in the 1780s, overturning an absolutist and bloody monarchy, prizing direct democracy and a romantic revolution three hundred years ago. Today in 2010, we need such change once again.