donderdag 25 februari 2010

Europe: A shifting From Politics to an Anti-Islamic Showpiece Are France and Belgium playing Domino?

By Bouchra Grich

What used to be politics has now officially turned into a cosy anti-islamic stage play. Insulting, discriminating and oppressing Muslims and Arabs on a daily basis has become an ordinary activity. The authorities feign that they try to combat social, ethnic and religious discrimination while in reality they encourage racist activities by making racist remarks themselves. And we all know that actions speak louder than words. These racist bunglers are available in every country, in all sizes and all shapes, but they all have one thing in common; an intolerant, contradictory and discriminatory attitude.

Done with France's 19th century national motto 'Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité', the new slogan to describe France is 'Oppression, Inégalité et Discrimination'. In 2005, during Jacques Chirac's presidency, civil disorder was spread over France. This unrest was triggered by the deaths of two teenagers during an investigation of a possible break-in by the police. Chirac declared a state of emergency, but justice delayed is justice denied and the riots continued and even worsened. Sarkozy (interior minister that time) called this violent youth, which is by the way a minority in France, "scum" and spoke of an "ethnic cleansing". This strategy of the Government, namely treating the youth without proper respect or attentiveness, is so-called firm and effective, but instead it provokes and incites the French citizens. Besides, the main reasons behind these riots were youth unemployment and lack of opportunities in France's poorest communities. So before criticizing a man, walk a mile in his shoes! Of course, such violent behaviour is frowned upon, but children who use violence usually come from homes where they have been abused or witnessed abuse and violence. With no sense of self-worth, family or community, these children struggle every day to find their place in the world. So you tell me, who is the real scum here...

In 2007, a few months after Sarkozy was named president of France, the second biggest civil unrest took place in France. This time because the police rammed the motorcycle of two Arab teenagers, these policemen failed to assist the injured teenagers and left them for dead. This was not a one-off exception or the latest fashion in France, but these things happen daily. Ethnic minorities are pushed further outside the French society and are constantly predominated by impudent policemen. Although France has the largest, multi-ethnic Muslim minority in Europe, the French President is constantly ridiculising these citizens and uttering the most repugnant statements. Sarkozy shows publicly disrespect towards north Africans and people with Muslim backgrounds and gets away with it. He does not bother to apologize. Even worse, he holds speeches to defend his racist remarks. I guess a leopard cannot change its spots.

Let us definitely not forget that it was France that decided to launch a law banning the wearing of religious symbols from public schools. This law has stigmatised Muslims at a time when the country should be fighting discrimination in the job and housing markets. The French government does shit to tackle exclusion and high unemployment in the suburbs, but instead ridiculises its citizens. They obviously seem to forget who build up France after World War II !

This new Olympic anti-Islam sportsgame is not only perceptible in France, but the torch seems to have been passed on to Belgium. At least in Belgium they have some sense of humour; some belgian politicians consider themselves leftist while all their 'principles' correspond to the fascist right-wing ideology. Schools in the French Community who ban the headscarf are supported by two decisions of the Belgian Council of State. The Council thinks that the ban contributes to 'promoting peace and brotherhood'. Calling them funny would be an underestimation, they are hilarious. They marginalize the Islam and ban Muslim girls from wearing a headscarf because they want to 'set them free', they care about them. Oh please, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! The only thing they need to be liberated from is this empty-headed destructive behaviour of the authorities.

Our mindless darling Belgium also felt obliged to take over the repulsive manner in which France treats and looks at the violent youth: zero-tolerance. They get tough with the youth rather than provide longer term solutions, the 'kill one to warn a hundred' strategy. The reasons behind the violent behavior of the youth is the same as in France: unemployment largely due to racial and religious discrimination. The goal is to make people feel safe and secure and maintain public order, but how can these goals be achieved by prejudiced and racist policemen? How can these goals be achieved when ethnic minorities in Europe are still discriminated on basis of their skin colour? How can these goals be achieved when even the authorities, who are expected to give an example, encourage racist activities? Or let us put the question differently. What is their damned goal?!

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