Perspectives: A Review of 2009
by Marie Rennard
(Swans - December 14, 2009) It's been a swell year in France, a vintage year -- a millésimé -- for anyone tantalized by reactionary politics and the rampant destruction of 220 years of painstakingly constructed solidarity, known as Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. To wit:
I — FRENCH PEOPLE are invited to think about the deep meaning of l'identité nationale (national French identity).
Probably to help the youngsters' analysis, the government plans to eliminate history and geography lessons in the scientific sections of high schools. Supposedly, the less one knows, the best one thinks.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, eager to help the debate, tells popular comic Dany Boon (whose real name is Daniel Hamidou) that he was "well inspired to change his patronymic, since there was otherwise little hope of success for him."
Invited to debate about the subject, André Valentin, the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) mayor of Gussainville, near Verdun in the Meuse department (pop. 40!) recently declared, "We are going to get eaten alive. There are already ten million [Arabs] that we [the "real French"] pay to do nothing."
Éric Besson, a former Socialist turned Sarkozist and minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity, and Development Solidarity (yes, Orwell is not a unique Anglo-Saxon phenomenon), suggests more controls to fight against the calamity of interracial marriages -- too many French citizens are being abused by immigrants who marry them just to be allowed to live in France. Let's be clear, he's not talking about "white marriages" but "grey marriages," where the French bride truly believes she is making un marriage d'amour (a love marriage), but is abused by her partner who only pretends he is in love.
The same Besson is mocked by the increasingly famous humorist Stéphane Guillon, because if he married his 22-year-old Tunisian companion, he would have to be submitted to an inquiry to determine whether he's a victim of "a sentimental fraud with a migratory objective." "He's thirty years older than her," says Guillon. "She can't be with him neither for his handsomeness nor for his sexual vigor." Poor Besson takes the humor quite badly.
II — FRENCH PEOPLE are invited to be more successful.
"If you don't own a Rolex past 40, you're a bum," explains President Sarkozy. "From now on," he adds quite seriously (the same day he demands that one of the most important public jobs be awarded to his 23-year-old underqualified son), "success won't depend on one's birth but on how hard one works."
"People who want to earn more should work more," he adds. To which many people answer, "how can I work more in a closed factory?"
France should be an example to the world like Sarkozy himself is an example for the whole universe.
"It is a shame that the Parisian metro stops functioning for several hours every night. In London, New York, subways never stop; this has to change, and I will change it," says the president, before people in charge of the metro let him know that everywhere in the world, subways have to stop the traffic a few hours a day to allow for the maintenance of the railway tracks.
III — FRENCH PEOPLE are the luckiest in the world.
Their president is everywhere and personally fixes every trouble. The worldwide financial crisis? The climatic deregulation? Don't worry, Sarko is taking care of them. Even the most insignificant events are the result of his actions, like the arrest of the most recent national hero, Toni Musulin, a security guard who stole 11 million euros he was charged to protect. "When I saw that Hortefeux was unable to deal with it, I used my personal network to get the robber caught. One phone call, and it was done, but I'll kindly leave the benefit of this arrest to my minister."
Good guy, this president! What are they (la racaille, meaning the non-white, unemployed youth) all complaining about?
IV — Swans Editor asked me for a view of what I thought happened around the world, how I saw the first year of the Obama administration, and whether it had any consequence as seen from my tiny window in Annecy, Haute-Savoie.
Let's be clear: The most significant event that took place in 2009 was Nicolas Sarkozy's unquestionable worldwide leadership. Nobody is any longer allowed to have a point of view. Expressing one is running the risk of spending two days in custody and being fined for a crime of lese-majesty, and Obama's unsurpassable success is no more than the result of the French president's indefatigable will.
Next year, whether France will be rechristened the Kindom of Sarkozia, the wearing of a burqa or a niqab will be made illegal, and new minarets forbidden like in Switzerland are only matters of conjecture.
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