Introduction by Roland Dürre:
Because the reasons for the dilemma the entire world is facing seem to be many. Here are some of the contributing factors:
We have a radical globalization which totally neglects all borders for trade, yet it leaves the borders for normal persons. The worker living in a low-wage country is the one who produces for the rich world, yet she has to remain in the poor world.
It seems like the wall-street mentality and the shareholder value principle, a rushed-through free-trade agreement, lack of freedom, corruption, lies, frustration of humans, second-hand emotions, manipulation through various systems, total marketing and powerful lobbyism, massively heterogeneous religions which seem to exist in different epochs, the distance between poor and rich, non-species-appropriate keeping of humans, a common feeling of helplessness, radicalization of societies, violation of feelings, the clear priority of profit, the tendency towards esoteric behaviour, the loss of enlightenment, the development of dogmata, lack of freedom, torture and much more are getting more and more the upper hand.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little order and clarity? What are the reasons? What can we do against it? There are numerous exciting questions one can ask.
This discussion motivated us to “give the topic a boost in the IF Blog”. Perhaps we will even manage a blog parade. As far as I am concerned, I will invite everyone to join us in a blog parade as soon as we have created a basis.
As a starting point, Klaus Rabba will report from his adopted home in France.
The Paris atrocities catapulted the violence and terror from the Orient and from Africa right into the middle of our countries.
The public reaction is enormous. Up to one million people went marching on the streets in order to demonstrate for our hard-won rights: freedom of opinion and physical integrity.
France defends her ideals from the French Revolution: Freedom, Equality and Fraternalism.
So how is the social situation and what could society have done in order to prevent these atrocities from happening?
Arguments as published in a prayer-like way both by politicians and the media are amass and quickly found. Yet many of the enlightened but less politically aware citizens no longer want to believe them:
- Show tolerance towards those who think differently and believe in another deity.
- We are collective
- Equal Opportunities
- If you want to do it, you can do it
- Education is the key to integration
- Fight fascism
Nobody can seriously oppose any of these arguments unless he wants to find himself in the off or in the Brown corner. Yet this is not a good state of affairs, because urgent questions are pushed to the background.
As opposed to other European societies, the French society achieves extraordinary things in education. All children aged three will enter the full-time kindergarden very close to his or her home, the ”École Maternelle“. Children of working parents get lunch, there is a bed for the toddlers to go to sleep after lunch and no child is ever forced to leave the premises before 5 p.m. – even if the parents are not on time for pick-up. After 7 p.m., the children can be retrieved at the gendarmerie. All children attend the Maternelle, because otherwise they would have no chance of successfully starting school with their peers.
The years at school follow the same pattern and, basically, this should be the key to equal opportunities in education – provided the parents cooperate. More than ninety per cent of all parents play their role. So what about the others? Both in federal schools and universities, you find strict freedom of religion. Nobody is permitted to wear a cross, nor a headscarf or Kipa. Religion is everybody’s private affair. There is no state religion.
Regardless of federal care, there are still holes in the social network. All societies have school deniers and other children who are not motivated by the educational model. This is where the state comes in, providing a huge number of educational measures and support facilities for these children. All well? No!
After you are sixteen, there is no more federal support. The adolescents are then on their own. If their families are not intact or the environment is not as it should be, school or education is terminated. Even in a homogeneous environment, this is a tragic thing to happen, so how bad is it in an immigration environment!
The rich send their children to catholic private schools or move into areas where almost everyone is rich, which means that those schools are the best in the republic.
France has a long history of immigration. Lost colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria triggered the first immigration wave, since the collaborators had to fear for their lives. Which meant that France allowed them to immigrate. Civil wars in the former French Colonies brought more immigrants into the country. An open asylum policy also permitted persecuted persons from China to relocate.
As early as in the 1960ies, what you saw in the streets of Paris looked rather heterogeneous. Times of full employment camouflaged the basic differences among the immigrants – for the time being.
Increased unemployment, family members joining their families and the high birth rate among Arabian and African immigrants made the differences more acute.
While the Asian immigrants live extremely private lives and actually like the French educational model, the Arabians and Africans among the New French citizens have more problems. Religious differences were never much of an issue with Asian persons. None of the children took it as an excuse not to do well at school and they made sure they entered the workforce in well-paid positions. Some Africans and Arabians, too, managed to fight their way through the educational institutions and arrived at the universities, but relative to their numbers, there were too few of them.
Parallel societies grew in quickly built residential areas. These areas slowly turned into ghettos. In these parallel societies, a huge number of the various immigrants find a place to stay today. And all of a sudden, religion, too, plays a role in society which formerly was not obvious.
Today, these residential areas are the homes of varieties of people. Some of these immigrants have work, some families have an income, some not, and, above all, these people belong to various religions.
In such a conglomerate, the excellent federal educational models no longer work. Too many who terminated their school careers without having gained enough competence in language and orthography and without hope for the future live there. The first conflicts happen in these motleys, where loiterers molest those who work. Women and girls are the first victims.
In the less favoured districts, the young persons developed their own language: Verlaine. It is a rudimentary French where terms are phonetically jumbled; ”femme“ becomes ”meuf“, ”flique“ becomes “keuf“, just to give you an example. In these circles, “rap” plays a huge role – as well as a crude kind of Islamism which is supposed to increase the sense of discrimination.
The next step for the young men in this society is to become small-time criminals. Their aversion to the French society model is shown through strong aggression. It is directed against all policemen and firefighters, but also against emergency doctors. Cars are set on fire and the approaching firefighters are beaten. Emergency doctors often fare no better – so-called “no-go-areas” developed.
As soon as a member of these communities of strict enemies of society is wounded or killed when a criminal is chased, you get these notorious upheavals.
In France, and especially in Paris, there are Jewish communities. Not all Jews are rich and live in the classy arrondissements of the city of Paris. Many of them live in suburbs and belong to the lower middle class. This is the group of Jews the hatred of the Islamic fringe area youth focusses on. The conflict between Palestinians and the Jewish State has been carried into the French cities and results in daily aggressions.
The pressure is enormous – which means that thousands of Jews leave France every year and move to Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister Nethanjahu affronted France during his state visit when he encouraged all French Jews to come and settle in Israel because France is no longer capable of protecting them.
For extremism, it is easier to fall on fertile land in the underprivileged areas and the persons living there than in functioning communities or families. As everywhere, the converts are the exception to this rule.
Uncontrolled preachers from Northern Africa play a sinister role. The French legal system makes it extremely hard to expel so-called hatred preachers. Neither does the situation improve through the fact that Muslims, as opposed to Christians or Jews, have no organization that speaks for all the believers. President Sarkozy founded an Islamic Council in order to have a contact person for religious affairs of Muslims for the French Government.
The foundation of the Islamic Council was accompanied by unbelievable tribal factionalism, because the Muslims come from different nations, for instance Algeria and Morocco – and they oppose each other vehemently. Well, it would take more than this article to discuss the great Islamic Schism. It is a fact that the Islamic Council is only heard by a part of the believers, let alone the inner circles of the Ghetto. If you think the Muslim World is united, you are definitely totally wrong.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the world has changed, because there is no rivalling model against capitalism left. Simultaneously, an Intra-European job migration wave started. The economically strong countries attracted workers on all levels. At the same time, the work conditions were released, causing a ruthless wage dumping. Labourers from Eastern European companies work for a ridiculously low wage in Western Europe. The German economic policy is the driving force of this development.
As a consequence, more and more French companies, for instance in the food sector, close down, because they have to pay the legal minimum wage while German slaughterhouses provide the big European super market chains through low-wage labourers from Eastern European firms without social security. This development minimizes the number of potential jobs for small-time earners, which is what many immigrants are. Fortunately, France is one of the biggest tourist countries of this world and can offer many jobs in this sector. Without immigrants, the French gastronomy and hotel sectors would collapse.
France promotes the French-Speaking regions of all continents and each year there is a world congress of ’Francophonia’. As a matter of tradition, the relations with former colonies have been preserved, both economically and politically. Except in Algeria, Indo-China/Vietnam.
The special feature is that the French language initially was the official language in the newly generated countries, and mostly it still is. Of course, economic interests were also nurtured and the regimes were supported with militia. They even introduced a Paris-supported currency in the francophone countries of Africa. Simultaneously, there was a constant emigration from these countries into the mother country.
All over the world, more than 10,000 French soldiers are doing active service at all times. The major part of them is stationed in Africa, where fighting is common. French soldiers try to de-escalate the atrocious genocide in the Congolese province of Kivu, keep the Ivory Coast from gliding into civil war, see to it that Mali will not be divided and stabilize the governments in Togo, Congo and Cameroun. At the same time, they control huge economic zones on the ocean. Along with the British Air Force, the French Air Force was the central power making Gaddafi’s downfall possible. If the situation had not totally escalated, they would probably also have become involved in Syria against Assad.
As a consequence of this policy, France became a target of Al Kaida, the Islamic State or Deash, as it is called in France.
Globalisation with Wall-Street conditions advances forcefully. Societies like the French must join in the change unless they are content to become a deficit state which is downgraded by “rankings” and punished. This process is dire for all parties concerned, since the re-distribution from bottom to top which the new business model causes also results in the middle and lower classes having less spending capacity. Not to mention weaker social security.
The French policy fights this development, and so far there was neither a Maggi Thatcher nor a socialist like Gerhard Schröder who cut down on the social system with his agenda, thereby preparing the state for the global market. Much is at stake: for the educational model, for the civil servants, for the workers who get a guaranteed minimum wage.
The socially weak are the first victims of a rigorous austerity policy. Since the state and the economy are led by elites, the chances of immigrants for a lateral entry are practically nil. Those who leave the educational system and are older than sixteen will be left to fend for themselves. Immigrants with no inclination for education will be permanently excluded from upper movement, which only serves to increase the isolation even more. A second-chance education is possible, but it is even harder than the normal educational path.
Politics, media and intellectual circles keep believing in the multi-cultural ideal, meanwhile neglecting the self-isolation of groups in socially weak regions. By now, the French society is believed to be more responsible for the isolation than the immigrant groups who feel isolated yet do everything in order to preserve this situation.
The religiousness of the fringe groups is strongly apparent, providing potential conflict material during the fast month and the prayer times. Religion promotes isolation in a secular environment and prevents the establishment of inter-religious connections. Through the generations, immigrants insist on giving their children names from their homelands, instead of choosing neutral or French names.
In France, we have a state of sullenness when it comes to politics, which is obvious if you look at the low voter turnout. Many scandals in the leading parties and in the President’s Palace caused a loss of trust. Too many French persons believe their government is not capable of solving the most urgent problems.
So what can be done in order to achieve better integration or a sense of belonging together? Well, first and foremost you would have to practice honesty and openness on a daily basis. All members of the society must understand that immigrants are needed. At the opposite end, the new citizens must experience that they cannot continue living like they used to live at home without any changes. They must adapt. After all, people coming to Europe originated in societies where prosperity so far has not been generated. Consequently, what we need is a critical view of society.
In order to get the losers off the streets, you will need changes in the educational program. Naturally, you cannot lower standards in order to facilitate affairs for late-comers. That would cost the entire society. What you need is school courses where the different backgrounds of students are taken into consideration. Apart from that, socially unstable adolescents need guidance beyond their sixteenth birthday.
Children from broken families with an immigration background have a particularly hard future ahead. The attraction of getting money through crime – instead of waiting for success on the job – is ever-present. As everywhere in the world, drugs play a significant role. It is important not to send adolescents into normal prisons. Instead, you need open and self-dependant law enforcement.
Final Note on the Charly Hebdo Assassinations.
The assassins have an immigration background and were orphaned early. They lived in asylums and received professional training before ending up criminals. The radicalization probably happened during their time in prison, where a preacher had a strong influence on the assassins. This is something you cannot blame society for. After all, society met its obligation towards the orphans. When all is said and done, every individual person alone will decide if they want to commit murder or not.
(Translated by EG)