12:27:26 amCategories: Politics

“Monsieur Sarkozy, if you don’t love France, leave her”

Today’s most important event is probably what I’m watching right now; the French cup final described as the dream final for the supporters and the nightmare for the forces of order. Since it’s between my two and only favourite French teams, it’s a dream final for me as well. After I’ve settled my little foldable bike import firm in Marseille my loyalties will probably settle for the Mediterraneans, but until then I’ve spent too much time in the capital to not have divided loyalties. There goes La Marseillaise… All the 80 000 (with tickets sold out weeks ago and reaching 400€ at the internet) are not singing, but quite a few are. The President arrives and shakes the hands with all the players…

Well, not everyone will agree that this is the most important event today. Before going to what has been the most important event for me, I had a glance at an TV audience complaints programme, where I heard a TV spectator who was so angry, and found it surrealist that Zidane announcing his retirement had made it to the number one headline on the evening news the other day. (The spectator en colère was a religious man and in his opinion a news event in the Middle East was far more important). (PSG has already scored after 5 minutes! Luckily Olympic Marseille looks like they can equalise any moment). Zidane’s forthcoming retirement has not passed lightly in the public debate, but the last days the Clearstream affaire has of course out-shadowed other news. The question is; will really de Villepin have to go now after he somehow got through the CPE storm (though dropping to a an all time low for a Prime Minister on popularity ratings)? I can’t be bothered to go into this affair here (see The Guardian if interested), but the affair latches on to a question I saw on a funny poster today: On top of a drawing of the three leading politicians President Chirac, Prime Minister de Villepin and Interior Minister Sarkozy it was written Choisie? Subie? (“Chosen? Or suffering from?”)

In order to explain this drawing, I shall go on to what has been today’s most important event for me: The demonstration (of course encore une manif! It’s been more than three weeks since the last one…) against the new immigration policy which will be discussed in Parliament in three days.

According to this new law, immigration to France should be “chosen” (immigration choisie) rather than “suffered from” or “undergone” (subie). In practice, this means that people who are useful to the French economy are invited in, while the law will be more restrictive on the others – the asylum-seekers, the family reunions and the unregistered sans-papiers. The labour party (PS) politician Christiane Taubira said on the news today that she had too much respect for humanity to accept even the notion immigration choisie. Activists have in a similar humanist vein renamed the government term immigration subiedisposable immigration” (immigration jetable).

Either the political climate is hardening here, or I’ve just taken too long to grasp how far right the Interior Minister is willing to go. When the Votez Le Pen poster with Sarkozy’s photo appeared in January, I have to admit that I found it a too strong for my taste (on the other hand I could wholeheartedly appreciate the Sarkozy satire poster “When I hear the word banliue I reach for my Flash-ball (rubber bullet weapon)” and the Raspouteam stencil). But after Sarkozy’s two latest “love France or leave her” and the “If Le Pen says that the sun is orange, do I have to say that it is blue?”*) I must admit that the poster was far more updated on French politics than the newly arrived anthropologist.

Quite a few demonstrators today had come to the conclusion that the interior minister obviously doesn’t love France as she is, so they suggested that he packs his bags and leave.

The cup final is finished long time ago (Paris Saint-Germain led all the way from the 5th minute and won 2-1…).

*) The exact quotes are "s'il y en a que cela gêne d'être en France, qu'ils ne se gênent pas pour quitter un pays qu'ils n'aiment pas" (Le Nouvel Observateur 28/04)« Si certains n'aiment pas la France, qu'ils ne se gênent pas pour la quitter » (Le Figaro and Le Monde 29/04) Le Monde 27/04 has published a more extensive interview with the interiour minister on the subjet.

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