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More fun & games at the Francophone summit

Chirac has called on his Francophone club to sign a Unesco declaration on cultural diversity. Yes, agreed - dull as ditchwater.

However, this is coming from a man who presides over a country which only allows its historic linguistic and ethnic minorities a sort of biscuit tin lid expresion of identity, let alone that of ethnic Arabs and Berbers. Brittany, which I know quite well, does not provide state education in Breton, and I believe the same holds true for German in Elsass-Lothair, Flemish in the deep north or Provencal / Occitan in the South. Motes and beams, eh?


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Blogger Trouserless In Tokyo said... 12:58 pm

The only good thing ever to come from the lucious lips of Portillo
was this phrase "The French" said with an exasperated sigh whilst starting a speech at a conference.
France is like a woman , we couldnt do without her but by god every now and again you could happily strangle her.  

Anonymous Verity said... 1:38 pm

Oh, for heavens' sake! I've mentioned this before: no one speaks Occitan or wants to! They're part of France and watch French TV and read French newspapers. I would think Breton is the same. I lived down there, as does your own mother, and the only word of Occitan I ever heard was "Occitan".

I don't believe England has classes in Cornish.

Chirac has his head screwed on right. The encouragement of many cultural "identities" is divisive and totally unnecessary. If parents wish to keep cultural identities alive in the home, cooking ancient recipes and so on, fine. No one's stopping them. But if you are settled in France, learn to think French or you are going to be discontented and resentful.

And what is it about N African identity that's worth preserving anyway? It's a very primitive society. All societies and cultures are not equal, and France is at the top of the apex.

I cheered Chirac and Jack Lange when they brought the hijab law in, despite whining from the urbane immigrants from the Magreb.

What is more, around six months after it was brought in, there was a survey of N African women in their 30s, taken intentionally not in the presence of any male member of their families. They approved of the new law by something like over 70%.

Why? Because these women would themselves have been born and grown up in France and have felt "different" all their lives. They may have had opportunities limited because of being forced to wear the hijab and go outside as ambulatory black tablecloths. They would not have had anything in common with their little French schoolmates. And they would have felt "different", which children don't want to do. (Until they're teens, then it's Katy-bar-the-door.)

These women saw how they'd been held back by having their differentness broadcast to the world, and they didn't want the same for their daughters. If the survey had been taken in front of male members of their household, they would have said they were angry about the ban.

So screw cultural identity. You want cultural identity, go back to your own culture and get it in spades.  

Anonymous verity said... 2:25 pm

Chirac pays lip service to "cultural diversity" for the votes. He sends an email ahead of his speech: "Cultural diversity. Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. Blah blah blah. Bon! Et maintenant, a nous moutons! Vive la France!"  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:55 pm

V - in the case of Breton, it is somewhat analagous to Welsh, in that it is spoken in the home (in the centre and west at least) and that culture / language was historically undermined by fiat from the centre.  

Blogger istanbultory said... 3:15 pm

Verity, twelve primary schools in Cornwall include some Cornish in their lesson plans. Also campaigners are pressing for the return of a Cornish GCSE, (scrapped in 1996 after just 42 candidates took the examination in a decade).  

Blogger istanbultory said... 3:17 pm

Twelve primary schools in Cornwall include some Cornish in their lesson plans. And Cornish language campaigners are actively lobbying for the re-introduction of a Cornish language GCSE (which had existed for a time in the 1990s but was abolished as only 42 students ever took the exam)  

Anonymous Verity said... 3:37 pm

I stand corrected on the Cornish, and as long as they are also fluent in English, that's nice.

I don't think you can compare indigenous peoples with large wadges of immigrants with alien values and an aggressive, alien religion.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:02 pm

V - in the case of Breton, it is somewhat analagous to Welsh, in that it is spoken in the home (in the centre and west at least) and that culture / language was historically undermined by fiat from the centre.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:04 pm

V - I was largely taking issue with Chirac's chutzpah, but intersting figures in that survey you mentioned.  

Anonymous verity said... 6:42 pm

Croydonian - it was around three years ago now and I cannot vouch for my memory with the figures. It may have been 67%. Anyway, it was astounding. Those women were pleased that their daughters were going to grow up integrated.

As for the demonstrations (small turnout) they held in Paris, it was all women in hijabs except ... for the males with the loudspeakers out front, leading. No one paid any attention.

It must have been infuriating for the fathers and brothers that they were losing that control over their daughters. Tee hee.

Anyway, I don't remember reading of any repercussions. I think a couple of girls got sent home, but it was largely a big zero. Now it's the norm.

Chirac and Lange were right, and as much as I hate to say it, they were brave. They didn't give an inch.  

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