Saturday, August 7, 2010

Nicolas Sarkozy fans flames of xenophobia in France

Xenophobia, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, refers to fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange and foreign. Recent events in France point to the fact that French President - Nicolas Sarkozy is fanning flames of xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiments in the European country.

On 30 July 2010, Nicolas Sarkozy warned that foreign-born French citizens would be stripped of French nationality if they "threatened the life of a police officer" or commit serious crimes. For right-wing anti-immigration supporters, this sounds like good news, but for people of good conscience and in the eyes of international human rights law, such a move would be discriminatory. Explicitly linking immigration to crime and fanning flames of xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiments is outrageous.

In the same month of July 2010, the forced eviction of African immigrants from a camp in the outskirts of Paris shocked rights advocates, and Nicolas Sarkozy promised to destroy the camps of the Roma minority and evict this vulnerable group of people who face untold discrimination in France and beyond. He accused the immigrants for a spike in crime in France.

It is interesting to note that Nicolas Sarkozy seems to have forgotten that he is the son of an immigrant. According to the BBC, the president is the son of a Hungarian immigrant and his mother is of Greek Jewish origin. In other words, Nicolas Sarkozy is of foreign origin. Why then does the President fan flames of xenophobia in France?

Why does Nicolas Sarkozy, the son of an immigrant, stigmatize less fortunate immigrants?

Foreign-born French citizens, non-immigrant French citizens and immigrants in France are all natural persons entitled to equality before the law. Explicitly linking immigration to crime could win Nicolas Sarkozy some votes in the up-coming 2012 elections, but would have dangerous repercussions on a country that has benefited enormously over the years from a long history of immigration and diversity.

You would agree that politically, immigrants are an easy target and immigrant-bashing is more often than not a last resort for increasingly unpopular politicians.

Ahead of the 2012 elections, Nicolas Sarkozy is unpopular, running out of ideas, running out of time and is in desperate need of votes from anti-immigration right-wing voters - as argued in an editorial on The New York Times, titled Xenophobia: Casting Out the Un-French.

It remains to be seen whether fanning flames of xenophobia in France would win Nicolas Sarkozy another term in office.


  1. It seems he's pulling a Hitler - he has foreign ancestry and hates it, like H. hated his part-jewishness. Sarkozy discriminates with much gusto just to make it clear to the rest of the country that he's not one of those people, even though he has similar origins...

    Though I don't think that's the reason for his xenophobia, it was just a random observation. No, the reason is that he's a hateful asshat.

  2. so whats the way forward for Sarkozy and immigrants in France as of now?


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