Curtain Raiser

Here Comes the Wandering Scapegoats, Colltalers

France’s new president, François Hollande, has been doing a lot to convince everyone he’s not just another ‘françois’ to occupy the Palais de l’Elysée. In less than three months, he may have already accomplished that.
He’s ended the use of official vehicles by members of his administration, raised taxes on the very rich, and done away with state officials to church-owned schools and universities.
The area in which he’s most certainly just like any other European leader, though, is where immigration issues, and foreigns working on French soil, is concerned. Such posture was evident last week, when he ordered the eviction and deportation of hundreds of Roma, camped all over the republic.
For this ethnic group, made an eternal pariah in the past two centuries of the continent’s nation and border consolidations, the reality of who’s in power (everyone else) and who’s not (always them), has been unchanged.
But they’re just a metaphorical example of what’s been happening in countries such as Greece, Spain, Germany and others, where there’s been a spike in the number of undocumented immigrants crossing borders in search of shelter and jobs.
So much for the architects of the euro’s lofty ideas of unifying Europe by money and passport, and opening international borders to those seeking honest ways of raising a family, regardless of their nationality. That, while trying to erase the thousands of years of infighting and wars of conquest.
The contrary has been happening, though. Brutally misguided nationalist hordes have been beating up immigrants all over Europe, under the excuse they’re ‘stealing’ jobs from nationals, and practically turning back the clock on the goodwill disseminated in the past 40 years.
Even non-euro countries such as the U.K. have already expressed their intention to close borders to the expected increase in the numbers of foreigners seeking legal residency in the country.
Even more cruel is that now, when it’s apparent that the euro concept won’t survive based solely on its currency and economic policies mirrored after Germany, all the talk is about saving its financial system and banks, which in many ways, were contributing factors to the current crisis in the first place.
If that all sounds familiar it’s because there’s been a global retrograde push for rejecting the pursuit of mutually-beneficial social and political ideas, and reversing even basic concepts of respect for individual and regional differences.
Even in the world’s biggest immigrant country, the U.S., for all the talk about fulfilling the American Dream and giving opportunities for everyone, the Obama administration’s done very little to tackle the immigration issue.
Yes, it did pass a set of measures that may pave the way for a minority of illegals to pursue a path to citizenship. But coming in the tail end of its first term, characterized by an even stricter policy than Bush’s, such path may be littered with mistrust and the legitimate suspicion that it only came to boost support for the president’s reelection among voting latinos.
That governments of countries such as Israel and Russia aggressively use immigration policies to all but segregate and keep under tight control the activities of foreign workers (even citizens of former Soviet republics) within their borders comes as no surprise.
What’s incredibly disheartening is to see decades of laborious efforts, in Europe, the U.S., even in some Asian countries, to erase a dark past of xenophobia and racially-tinged policies come crushing down, on the outrageous assumption that such outmoded didn’t cause enough harm.
Thus, the struggle for equal rights for all has been diffused and neutralized, as it’s replaced by another important but not as socially relevant issue of our time: religious freedom.
While the former affects all mankind, the individual prerogative of choosing his or her own god should be as private as the choice of a pair of underwear; no need to waste taxpayers’ money to help build places of worship, for example, or support so-called faith-based (read: anti-science) teachings.
As Europe once again invokes another excuse to shut down its borders and close ranks with nationalistic policies, it may be up to the U.S. to set a different example. We know, the outlook for a change has been far from promising.
Despite of that, no other country has come close to prove how a multidiverse and racially mixed work force can contribute to build a great nation and, in the process, create an even richer social and economic reality.
Humbly we wish to think that we too are part of that multitude. And so can anybody else. Have a great week. WC



4 thoughts on “Curtain Raiser

  1. It looks like it’s my country, your country, our world. But I agree with Louvain 95. “Nationalism is a plague.” Returning to Quebec was a bit of a shock. .


  2. louvain95 says:

    Clear and to the point editorial.
    Nationalism is a plague, you cut it here, it grows up there.
    Besides, in smaller matters, the (here recent) NIMBY phenomenon is spreading too, creating problems where there should be none. Were we always so self-centered?
    There is an outcry here in my region because a convent accepts to receive a discharged criminal (the ex-wife of a paedophile murderer, she also passively responsible of 2 children’s death). I understand the parents and family. But rightist extremists are exciting the villagers. It looks ridiculous -not to say illegal- but it is scary, they are talking vengeance and try and change the law…
    A bit out of subject, this, but the problem is the growing assertive selfishness all around. It nourishes all nationalisms as well.

    Always interesting to read you, Lou.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.