Saturday, July 31, 2004

The problem with France...

The Guardian had an interesting article about the main problem of the French government today.

For the most sacred article in all France's grand republican and secular creed is the principle that everyone is equal and indistinguishable in the eyes of the state: no matter where they come from, all French citizens are identical in their Frenchness. In the much-vaunted "Republican model of integration", all immigrants go through the Gallic mill, shedding their ethnic and religious differences and emerging as shining new French citizens. In theory.

In practice, this explains why France cannot say, and does not know, how many citizens it has who are of north African origin, or who are Muslim, or who are Jewish. For the purposes of the Republic, it simply does not matter.

An interesting footnote is a paragraph on intellectual left-wing anti-semiticism which appears to evaded the Seamus Milne Brigade.