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Gérard Larcher comments

I'm transcribing an article that appeared in Wednesday's Financial Times.  In the interests of keeping your friends page neat and tidy, I'll put it behind a cut.

I thought Dominique might have something to say about this.


Polygamy 'played part in French riots'

(By Martin Arnold in Paris)

France's employment minister yesterday blamed polygamy as one reason for the rioting in the country.

Gérard Larcher said multiple marriages among immigrants was one reason for the racial discrimination which ethnic minorities faced in the job market.  Overly large polygamous families sometimes led to anti-social behaviour among youths who lacked a father figure, making employers wary of hiring ethinc minorities, he explained.

The minister, speaking to a group of foreign journalists as the government stepped up efforts to improve its image with the foreign media, said:  "Since part of society displays this anti-social behaviour, it is not surprising that some of them have difficulties finding work ...  Efforts must be made by both sides.  If people are not employable, they will not be employed."

The riots, and the government's slow reaction to the violence, has led to widespread cirticism that France's ruling class is out of touch with the rest of the country.  Mr. Larcher's comments could further fuel the debate and are likely to outrage Muslim and anti-racism grouops in France.

They also come as the government considers tightening visa-granting rules and a possible clampdown on polygamous families already living in France.

Although polygamy is illegal in France, visas were granted freely to family members of immigrants until 1993, when visas were banned for more than one spouse.  Many wives continued to enter illegally, however and a clampdown, if enforced, could affect families that entered the country before 1993.

Politicians estimate there are 10,000-20,000 polygamous families in France, most from North and sub-Saharan African countries such as Algeria, Mali and Senegal, where the practice is legal.

Polygamy is a taboo subject for most mainstream French politicians.  Far-right groups, however, have seized on it to argue that immigrants abuse the French social security system by collecting state benefits for several wives.

The government has also been criticised for refusing to analyse demographic patterns in France closely in order to better integrate minorities.  But Mr. Larcher said France was so traumatised by the Vichy government's expulsion of French Jews to German concentration camps during the second world war that it still found it unpalatable to allow information to be collected on people's ethnic origins.

He acknowledged that the unemployment rate among young people in France was twice the national average, but said other European countries faced similar problems.  He also pointed the finger at the US, where he said the unemployment rate among blacks aged 16-19 was twice that of their white counterparts.

His comments came as Dominique de Villepin, prime minister, made his first visit to the poor Paris suburbs since rioting erupted almost three weeks ago.

Although the unrest has abated substantially in recent days, the French parliament yesterday approved a law prolonging by three months the life of a controversial 1955 curfew law.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 19th, 2005 06:52 am (UTC)
*sits in seat with hand thrust into the air squirming*

OH! OH! Teacher, pick me please, pick me!!! Oh, oh!!! I want to say something, please pick me!

My reply exceeded reply-size, so I have made it into a post here

Please tell me, what did you think about the article? Enough to transcribe it... but?

What I think is interesting is that no one has commented so far, even though you posted it on Thursday. I wonder why people don't want to talk about this article. I am dying to know what people think. (Apparantly, as I've just spent about forty minutes detailing what I think, ha ha ha.)
Nov. 19th, 2005 01:06 pm (UTC)
Anytime you see "wa2" in the tags, that means it's a filtered post. My "wa2" friends group is you and Tavi (RL and character LJs), sarkolegrand, castalie, desert_rifka, and rosesfade. I intend to use this filter for WA-related posts, including newspaper articles, that might be of interest to followers of the WA world. I DON'T use this filter for character/plot discussion (that's "wa1").

Now, why didn't I just make this a public post, you ask. There's no political slash here, hence no need to worry if it turns up on the friends page of some of my anti-WA friends. The short and sweet answer is because I knew nobody on my flist (apart from the obvious) would be interested. There's one or two who might comment if the article were something that pertained to the U.S., but this? I might as well invite discussion on the grand coalition or on Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's presidential win in Liberia. Politics just doesn't seem to be a big thing for most of my lj friends.

Before you get completely overwrought, lol, you should know that I did another post that was filtered to just the French people on my flist (poor Mouse castalie got to see both of the posts). There was some discussion there. I think what I'll do is go back now and take the filter off the post and make it public; if I haven't heard by now from the rest of the people in my "French" filter, I'm probably not going to. So feel free to go read it and comment, if you like. I think the subject line of the post was something like "A question for my French friends".

I'm at the library this afternoon, and have more newspaper articles that I want to post today. I'll have to save your post to print out and read at home later tonight. You know what? I'm going to take the filter off this post as well. If people don't want to read the article, that's their choice, but there's no reason I should feel guilty for posting it.
Nov. 20th, 2005 07:50 am (UTC)
Karen! Ack, sorry, didn't notice the filter! Also though, you're right - shouldn't feel guilty about posting your opinions. Well, that's actually the thing, you didn't put it with any opinion on it. Except for the 'depressed' mood icon. Anyway, so, sorry that I posted it publically in my LJ and well, what follows. Sorry again, though - I love getting people talking and so just assumed.

Ack, now I've just read the other post, and the comments, and am wondering where to continue the discussion, lol!
Nov. 22nd, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)
Hey, nothing at all to apologise for. I'm delighted you commented on it publicly. Not that I expect much response, but we have to keep trying, I guess.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )