Tuesday, February 9, 2010

News Talk Online February 9, 2010: France's Fight For National Identity



By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


When you travel to France it's supposed to be to enjoy the French culture. But an influx of immigrants has many in that nation fear that they are losing their national identify. And now, the government is doing something about it.

The last straw, perhaps, was the jeering at the national anthem by immigrants at a soccer tournament. They were there to support the team of their native land.

Whatever the defining moment, it is clear that the French have had it with people who come from other lands intent on molding French culture into their own. So French Prime Minister Francois Fillon says, from now on, anyone who wants to emigrate to France must sign a declaration of values. French values.

The government is also ordering schools to fly the French flag. And is directing the singing of La Marseilleise - the French national anthem - at schools.

Not everyone is happy with the new directive. Some are arguing that it's a blatent anti-Muslim move. But doesn't a nation have the right to maintain and preserve its culture?

What would the reaction be if, for example, a bunch of French immigrants moved to Saudi Arabia, Morocco or Algiers and jeered at the playing of their host nation's national anthem? Would a crackdown on such impoliteness be viewed as anti-French? Or anti-Christian?

The old saying - when in Rome do as the Romans do - could well be applied here. Modified, of course, to when in Paris do as the Parisians do.

A stranger in a strange land is supposed to be warmly greeted. But he is also expected to be respectful of the values of the country he is visiting. This is even more pronounced when he adopts a new country as his own.

I've never understood those who move to the United States only to repeatedly attack this country. They of course, have the right to do so. But the question I have is, then why did they move here?

The same can be asked of those who move to France, and increasingly England, Sweden and other nations, who have no respect for the values there.

The French response may seem extreme. But it's a response to extreme disregard by those who care little about the culture and history of their adopted nation. I wouldn't be surprised if other nations follow the lead of the French.

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