Headline Jan 28, 2016/ ''' *EUROPE -with below the sea-level- ECHOES* '''

''' *EUROPE -with below the sea-level-

 ECHOES* '''

[ 2012 ]  : ALL OVER EUROPE,   author Lisa Fitterman,  found immigrant areas seething with frustration and anger. But nowhere was it more evident as in Paris.

Xavier Lemoine  leafs through the thin police blotter on his desk. As the mayor of  Montfermeil, a small suburb northeast of Paris, it's one of the first things he does every and each morning.

The night before was rather quiet : a family house fire, a car set ablaze, teenagers driving a stolen vehicle and a brawl between two women. ''Not bad,''   he remarks between sips of coffee.

Stern, balding and bespectacled, Lemoine points to an aerial photo of Montfermeil on a nearby wall. It portrays a patchwork of houses, parks and strip malls, and right there in the middle, a tiny grey circle that draws the eye.

This is Les Bosquets, a dilapidated apartment building that was the crucible for fiery riots that raged through France in October and November of 2005.

Covering only  3%  of the town's territory, Les Bosqheuets at this time to nearly a third of  Montfermeil's  25,000 residents, many of whom hail from Turkey,  Sub-Saharan Africa and Maghreb  -which consists of Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania   -and who are devout Muslims.

Many are also unemployed, and there is burgeoning underground economy supported by the trafficking of drugs and false papers. ''Whole families are supporting themselves by these different trades,'' says the mayor. ''In 2005, 80% of the town's delinquents came from the area's housing projects.''

According to Lemoine, part of the problem is that the bulk of the people in the housing projects tend to favour their culture of origin over France's secular one, to the point that many of them don't even speak French. This means a community that's closed to the outside world, with its own languages and traditions.

''But France is not a multicultural society,'' says Lemoine. ''We're open. We like couscous. We don't want headscarves or Burqas.''

A few blocks from  Montfermeil's town hall, the flowerbed in the square that serves Les Bosqueta  looks from a distance like a riot of vibrant blooms. Upon closer inspection , it becomes a mound of crumpled cans, cigarette butts, empty bottles and rotting food.

Although Notre Dam Cathedral is just over 15km to the southwest, the square feels  light years   away from the tourists and overpriced bars.

On a late spring morning, the spare is filled with men; older men who have lost their jobs, and younger men who have never worked, period. They slouch in doorways, smoking and watching, suspicious. ''Are you a flic? they ask, using the French slang for  ''cop''.

When they do speak it is of racism, both subtle and not, of fruitless searches for work in a country that  defines them by their names, the colour of their skin, what they wear and where they live. They feel powerless.

''When you say you live in Montfermeil or  [neighbouring]  Clichy-sous-Bois, that's it,''  says Mohammad Gadar,  a  28 year-old father of a one-year old girl who is hanging out with his buddies in the local cafe. He says he's been looking for work for the past  18 months.

''It's hard to overcome the stereotype that we're all shiftless thieves and cons who sell drugs. It doesn't matter that I was born in France and I speak french perfectly.''

The secular  french Republic  prohibits any mention of race or religion for censuses or statistics, but according to a 2011 publication from the Pew Research Centre,  The Future of the Global Muslim Population, the number of Muslims living in the country right now is estimated at about 4.7 million, expected to grow to 6.9 million by 2030.

*And France is not alone. Studies predict that  40 years  from now Muslims will account for more than 20% of the European Union's entire population.*

Growth like this has given rise to far right nationalist movements that reject multiculturalism. From Sweden  to   Hungary to  Italy,  divides fuelled by mistrust, liberal immigration and high unemployment are getting wider.

And it's in places like Les Bosquets, one of  750  communities that throughout France designated as  Zones Urbaines Sensibles  {ZUS}   -urban hot  spots prone to  poverty  and  crime  -that you feel the growing divide between   ''us''   and    ''them''  ; between richer and poorer,  white and not.

There's a perception that these places are rife with voyous   -young unemployed thugs who allegedly hawk drugs, burn cars and occasionally fight each other.

The situation has also given  Marine Le Pen of the National Front  [the right wing anti-immigration party founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen] the opportunity to further the agenda of the party.

Elegant, blonde and straight-talking, she represents a new generation of French citizens who agree when she compares Muslims praying in the Paris streets to an  ''occupation''.

In Response to the rise of the right, and after a debate that divided the French, President Nicolas Sarkozy's government enforced an all-out ban on burqas and niqabs  [face veils],  threatening a  150 euro  ($200)  fine and lessons in French citizenship for those few women who flouted it.

The Honour and Serving of the *State-of-the-World Operational Research* continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and  Teachers of Europe. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011.

''' Protective Environment '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!