>Good on Sarkozy for having the balls to say what too many of today’s multi-culti cowards will not.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the Muslim burqa is a sign of subservience for women that undermines their dignity.
For clarity. This is a burqa:
And for the nitwits who think a hijab and a burqa are basically the same thing here’s the difference:
Mr Sarkozy made the comments during a historic address in a special sitting of both houses of the French Parliament at the Palace of Versailles.
For more than a century, French presidents have been banned from speaking directly to Senators and MPs.
The argument has always been that parliament should preserve its independence from the president but Mr Sarkozy changed the rules.
That was controversial enough, but perhaps not as controversial as what he used the address for: stating that the burqa was an affront to women.
“The burqa is not a sign of religion. It is a sign of enslavement. It is a sign of subservience,” he said.
The French leader spoke in favour of a recent call by 65 French MPs to create a parliamentary commission to study a small but growing trend of wearing the full body religious garment in France.
“I want to say officially, it will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic,” he said.
“We cannot accept in our country women imprisoned behind netting; cut off from any social life, deprived of any identity.
“This is not the idea the French republic has of a woman’s dignity.”
Some parliamentarians boycotted Mr Sarkozy’s historic speech, dismissing the President’s address as nothing more than a public relations stunt.
But Mr Sarkozy struck a chord among the French population, who voted overwhelmingly in favour of his centre right UMP party in the recent European elections.
The head of European research at the Global Policy Institute at the London Metropolitan University, Jacques Reland, is a keen observer of French politics.
“I think a lot of people in France feel really ill at ease with the burqa,” he said.
“I am pretty sure that a lot of French people are saying yes, [what Mr Sarkozy said] is the way it should be.”
Sarah Joseph is the editor of Britain’s only Muslim lifestyle magazine, emel.
She says many Muslim women use the burqa as an expression of their faith and are not forced to wear it by anyone else.
“I mean, I colour my hair. I don’t wear [some forms of Islamic dress] myself but I will defend someone’s right to do so or not to do so,” she said.
“If you deny a woman’s right to choose, that is denying them dignity and denying them their freedom, and it won’t create a society of more integrated French citizens, it will create a division in France which will be very unfortunate and deny women their right to participate fully in French society.”
Mr Sarkozy says he is just defending a secular state.
France is home to an estimated five million Muslims. In 2004, the country passed a law forbidding any conspicuous religious symbols from state schools, including veils, which were also banned in government offices.
Charles Johnson at LGF used a very appropriate quote from Christopher Hitchens the other day, “The secular state is the guarantee of religious pluralism. This apparent paradox, again, is the simplest and most elegant of political truths.”
>For over 50 years the French have carefully nurtured their reputation as cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Preferring talk and negotiation to taking direct action has seen the French army become the butt of many jokes.
Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion – Jed Babbin
“Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day – the description was, ‘Never fired. Dropped once.'” – Rep. Roy Blunt (MO).
“Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris? It’s not known, it’s never been tried.” – Rep. R. Blount (MO).
War without France would be like, uh, World War II.
And my favourite…
“It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us.” – Alan Kent.
So news overnight that the French army had actually used live bullets and injured people comes as something of a surprise:
Seventeen people, including a child left in a critical condition, were injured when soldiers fired live bullets instead of blanks during an open day display, regional officials have told AFP.
Fifteen civilians and two soldiers were injured in the incident, of which the details remained unclear, involving a demonstration by members of a marines parachute regiment of hostage liberation exercises, the regional authority said.
Four of the 17 were seriously injured, with two described as critical following “incomprehensible” scenes at the barracks near Carcassone, in the country’s southwest.
According to local authorities, five children were among the injured.
Five helicopters, 11 firefighters’ first-aid vehicles and two ambulances rushed to the scene to help the injured.
One soldier had been detained, although no explanation was immediately forthcoming for why the wrong ammunition was loaded into weapons.
Let’s hope that everyone injured is OK.
What lesson will the French take from the incident?
Using real bullets gets people hurt.
Another 50 years of feckless pacifism seems likely in spite of Sarkozy’s noise about France rejoining NATO.
>When a society decides to pursue equality of outcome over equality of opportunity then that society has abandoned its values system. When confronted with the backward, racist, sexist, homophobic and violent Religion of Peace the society’s non-values cannot hold off Islam’s bad values.
In the picture tells a thousand words category, check out the following couple of graphics showing the rise in the number of mosques in each department (the numbers on the map) from 1985 to 2008…
With a huge Muslim population that is particularly fecund, who’s willing to bet that France will survive as a free democracy through the next 30 years?
By the way, France is the world’s most disgusting free nation in terms of promoting peace and stability in the world. Their record in Africa is especially egregious and perhaps the Islamification of the place will be for the better.
>Demonstrating that he is not afraid of tackling the big issues confronting the French Republic, new President Nicolas Sarkozy is out of the blocks early attempting the highest degree of difficulty political manoeuvre possible – reforming France’s stagnant higher education system.
Readers may be aware of what happened the last time the government tangled with universities, in 1968, by de Gaulle – a violent student strike that led to a general strike of 10 million workers and the fall of the government. France has never really recovered from this caving in to socialist demands (which saw the minimum industrial wage increase 35% and an overall increase of 10%) as has been demonstrated a number times since, the most recently in 2005 when the whole place went pear shaped after two members of that eternally racially nondescript body of people known as ‘youths’ ran away from police into a power sub-station and were, unsurprisingly, electrocuted to death.
Forty years of ignoring its own national motto, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”, has led to a fractured society made up of a small elite that run the place, a population whose major aspiration is to be a 35 hour per week public servant, and an unassimilated, uneducated immigrant class with a 50%+ unemployment rate. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that the only thing that has prevented France from collapsing completely before now is, ironically, the one thing that the majority of the French population despises most – globalisation.
From The Times:
President Sarkozy is preparing for battle with France’s rebellious students and education establishment over his plan to revamp a crumbling university system.
Under threat of a summer student uprising, he told the heads of the country’s 85 universities that he was taking charge of a draft law that lays the groundwork for the first significant reform in decades.
He has shunted aside Valérie Pécresse, his Higher Education Minister, and François Fillon, the Prime Minister, to direct proceedings himself.
Students’ and teachers’ unions are planning protests of the kind that have repeatedly forced French governments to retreat if Mr Sarkozy tries to promote “un-French” practices in higher education. These include entrance selection, fees, private funding and competition among universities.
There is, however, public acceptance that, with their 41 per cent drop-out rate and abysmal world ranking, French universities are in dire need of reform. Laurence Parisot, the head of Medef, the French Employers’ Federation, calls them “the shame of our nation”.
Jean-Robert Pitte, the reform-minded president of the Sorbonne division of Paris University, said: “It is a miracle that France is still the world’s fifth-largest [economic] power considering its weak investment in higher education.”
One of the most flagrant ills is the neglect of the rigorously egalitarian facultés, or universities, in favour of a handful of highly selective grandes écoles.
The lavishly funded grandes écoles, which include Sciences Po, the political sciences institute in Paris, and the École Polytechnique, groom the brightest 4 per cent of students to run business, industry, the state and the media.
That France has a 41 per cent drop out rate from its higher education system yet still has the world’s fifth-largest economy proves exactly one thing – education does not drive the economy, as I pointed out last week when discussing Australian Labor leader Kevin Rudd’s plan to increase spending on keeping people at school.
There are two basic factors required to drive economic growth – entrepreneurship and opportunity. Add in Liberty and you have the United States.
European ‘elites’ have spent the better part of the last century looking down their well-educated, intellectual noses at their American cousins and complained sniffily about their coarse, crass ways and unnatural focus on money. It sticks in their craw that these supposedly dumb, God-fearing hicks can be the most powerful nation, economically and militarily, in the world.
Middle-class parents yearn to place their offspring in such colleges and dread their relegation to la fac, including those with old names such as Sorbonne. About 1.5 million students are registered at the universities, which are open to all who hold a baccalauréat school-leavers’ certificate.
Libération, the newspaper that was founded by Maoists in the 1968 student revolt, noted yesterday that the universities are so decrepit that some academics are ashamed to show foreign colleagues around their premises.
In something of a revolution, Mr Sarkozy and Mr Fillon attended universities and their Cabinet has fewer graduates from the elite grande écoles than any administration since the early 1960s. Mr Sarkozy regards the revamp of the antiquated education system as one of the most urgent, but also potentially explosive, tasks in his drive to revive France.
“You cannot keep on saying that the 21st will be the knowledge century and leave our university system in a state of neglect because it is too politically dangerous to reform,” the President told MPs from his centre-right camp last week.
His Bill, due to be published next week, will grant self-management to universities that wish it. This will enable them to manage assets and budgets, recruit staff and design courses – all of which have long been controlled by the state. Mr Sarkozy wants the universities to create partnerships with research institutions and seek finance in addition to the €50 billion (£34 billion) that he has promised over five years. Student representation on university boards is to be heavily cut.
Most of university chiefs favour the reforms in outline but they have told Mr Sarkozy that they are alarmed over what they see as his haste.
The main unions are furiously opposed, seeing autonymous universities as the “Americanisation” of French traditions. “They want to impose on us an antidemocratic system that will confiscate . . . the values of collegiality and equality,” Jean Fabri, the secretary-general of Snesup-FSU, the biggest lecturers’ union, said yesterday.
“The Government wants to set the universities in competition among themselves while relinquishing its responsibilities,” he said. “It’s an aberrant and dangerous vision.”
Bruno Julliard, a students’ union leader whose 2005 protest movement ended the political career of Dominique de Villepin, the former Prime Minister, wrote to Mr Sarkozy telling him that he faced an all-out battle. “Do not doubt our determination,” Mr Julliard said.
The Socialist Opposition has been showing confusion, deploring Mr Sarkozy’s methods but accepting the need for reform.
François Hollande, the party leader, said: “Everyone should get together to put French universities into the category of excellence without rushing and incomprehension.”
Long learning curve
— France has about 1.5 million higher education students, 94 per cent of whom attend the 85 universities, plus the vocational colleges, which are open with no selection
— The other 6 per cent attend the grandes écoles – highly selective establishments for the elite. Two years of post school study are required before taking the competitive entrance tests
— About 40 per cent of all who register as university students leave with no degree or diploma
— The state spends €6,700 (£4,500) a year on each university student, below the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average, and €13,000 per grande école student
— Only one French institution is in the Top 20 of The Times Higher Education Supplement 2006 international ranking: l’École Normale Supérieure, a Paris grande école
— In the 2006 world rankings by Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, the best French university, Paris VI, was 45th. Only three are in the Top 200, compared with four British universities in the first 26. (France contests the Shanghai criteria)
— President Sarkozy read law at Paris University and did not attend a grande école, unlike most recent French leaders
Good luck to Sarkozy in taking on the establishment and dragging France into the 21st century. We’ll know whether the French people are ready to make that move by whether there are mass riots around the country. I suspect that Sarkozy has read the political wind correctly and things will remain relatively calm.
>Hold a German festival and thousands will turn up, drink beer and eat sauerkraut. Hold a French festival and thousands will turn up, drink wine, eat croissants and look at a the works of some of the world’s greatest painters. Hold a Danish festival and thousands will turn up to see Viking relics. Hold an anti-Israel festival and all sorts of loons will turn up to denounce the Middle East’s most democratic and progressive nation.
Hold an American festival in Europe and Islamist extremists threaten to turn up and kill innocent people.
A Paris festival celebrating US music and culture has been called off following a series of anti-American threats, organisers said on Sunday.
Called “Three Days in America”, the festival featuring country and gospel concerts, line-dancing, sales of US paraphernalia and a tribute to Elvis Presley was to take place from May 26 to 28 in Saint Cloud, southwest of Paris.
Organisers issued a statement saying they were forced to postpone the event following “persistent pressure and threats of an anti-American nature”.
“At first we thought it was a joke when we received a letter with a mixture of threats, mentioning Al-Qaeda and full of spelling mistakes,” said Chantal Tenot, the festival’s press officer.
But after several threatening phone calls the organisers decided Friday to file a police complaint and call off the event.
Paris anti-terrorism investigators have been alerted and the festival organisers are to meet foreign ministry officials on Monday to discuss the situation, Tenot said.
She said the organisers hoped to reschedule the festival — which last year drew 15,000 visitors — in the autumn.
Where are the supposedly moderate Muslim leaders speaking out against these threats? If a few senior Imams spoke out and supported the event’s continuance then things could continue and there’d be no problems. The fact that the event went ahead peacefully last year proves my point.
Unfortunately, silence equals agreement. It beggars belief that there is a majority of Muslim leaders that don’t support, even tacitly, the violence committed in their name. If they exist then they have a moral obligation to denounce terror done in the name of Islam.
>After Nicolas Sarkozy’s win in France’s presidential election reaction across the political spectrum has been…quite predictable, actually.
Winners are grinners
No other country on earth immolates cars with quite the gusto of the French – including Iraq. On average, an astonishing 112 cars per night are sacrificed by these ‘youths’ in order to make a statement. Given it’s been going on since the mid-70s, and allowing for a build up over time to the current number, if the average over that time is only 30 then over 300,000 cars have met their maker. No wonder Citroen and Peugeot have been doing so well.
Apparently, the view is that if they burn cars then the press will follow – and politicians immediately after that giving away more of the farm in order to keep the peace. As the old saying goes, if you reward bad behaviour then you can guarantee it will be repeated.
>Nicolas Sarkozy, dubbed ‘Sarko the American’ for his fondness of American values, yesterday defeated Socialist glamour, Segolene Royale, by a hefty 53.1% to 46.1% to become President of the World’s Worst Nation. Voter turnout was the highest since 1981 at 85% demonstrating how important the World’s Worst People viewed the election.
Sarkozy campaigned on a platform of repairing France’s moribund economy by reforming anti-employment legislation with a view to creating an environment in which people can yield the fruits of their labour. He also took aim at the large immigrant population for its refusal to not only integrate into French society but also be appreciative of the benefits that being a French citizen bestows. Sarkozy is the son of Hungarian immigrants and did not grow up as part of the establishment that has ruled France for the last two hundred years. It seems to me that he holds the view that if he can work hard and become successful then there’s nothing holding back other immigrants from doing the same. Of course, besides being Mulsims – with all of the backward-thinking baggage that carries with it – they’re also profoundly unskilled to work in a modern economy at anything other than the most menial levels; a situation that is guaranteed to foster resentment.
I thought I’d trot over to the BBC website and see what comments people were making on the results. Surprisingly, most are extremely positive, which makes one wonder whether there’s a growing realisation in the UK that the welfare state is out of control. Some of the negative comments were quite enlightening.
“I would have thought that people who had actually experienced the benefits of a Socialist government first hand would have had better sense than to make such a mistake.” – Mike, Dallas, Texas, USA
Has there ever been a line that demonstrates the cognitive dissonance of today’s Left than that one? Socialism is the most profoundly evil of ‘isms’ to ever have been inflicted upon humanity. Amazing.
“…we can only hope that the Left of our two countries can begin to unite….when France realizes the mistake made…” – James, New York
There you go. The Left in the US always looks to Western Europe for thought leadership so it’s natural for them to not only suggest that the two groups unite but also to imply that world socialist government is what’s needed.
Please don’t consider all french people wanted Sarkozy as President…
I’m french, I’m sad tonight, for this result and thinking about the future that is coming in France now…
Some surveys are showing than people older than 65yo voted mainly for sarko whereas people in 18-25yo and even more voted mainly for segolene.
Don’t forget it. It’s an unpleasant time, but still there are french people open minded there… in France. And that don’t want “their” Bush…
In every country in the world the 18-25YOs vote overwhelmingly for left wing candidates, which is natural given the indoctrination they’ve received in the education system and their lack of maturity. Once they get a dose of reality they realise the pros and cons of both sides of the argument and, in the end, become the older, wiser voters balancing up the impetuousness of the youthful vote.
The French just elected its own version of George Bush, those who equate Democracy with Capitalism and who see cultural and other differences as an opportunity to exploit people and nations, not truly support them. A sad day for the home of my grandfather, and for the world.
JD Benson, Berkeley, CA
This guy’s from Berkeley. Nothing to add.
And the best of the comments:
What is good for business is good for people and what is good for people is good for business.
The French are finally on the road to prosperity for everyone.
Keith, Indianapolis, IN, USA
Well said, Keith. It’s only through creating a flexible business environment that the needs of the people can be met.
Make no mistake, though, Sarkozy is a French nationalist in the truest meaning of the term and while he’ll improve relations with the US he’s sure to continue to push the world to accept the religion of climate change (under Kyoto France didn’t have to make any reductions from 1990 levels so there’s little impact), to try to dominate European politics and suck all he can out of the EU and continue to frustrate the rest of us in the way that only the French truly can.
At least he’s not Jacques Chirac so that’s got to be a good thing.