WHY RABID FRANCOPHOBIA, ALTHOUGH UBIQUITOUS, IS AN UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITY.
We know the USA is not doing too well when francophobia is rising. Another chapter in the unfolding depression, most probably.
ANTI-FRENCH RACISM, THE GROSS EDITION:
I recently mentioned that Britain and France declared war to Hitler on September 3, 1939, and won on May 8, 1945. This attracted comments such as:
"Phukin phoney French fought phony war.
Much like the French soccer team.
Herein is my problem with you, Patrice. You just cannot reconcile the fact that France gets her ass kicked first by the Brits then the Krauts. Just as Hitler scapegoated the Jews for losing WW 1, with the "stab-in-the-back" propaganda, so have you come up with the lame/same type of apologia. Please do some growing up… Obama used to be a ray of hope, but now you disparage him mercilessly. It is sooo obvious that Obama’s Bus has left without you. Get over it. You have a much better life here than in France. You just have no phukin clue. I am sure you will say you prefer France, but no one will support you there, not even your own mother."
[June 23, 2010. The strange spelling is to avoid spam filters. More personal considerations were edited out. I do not disparage Obama, instead, constructively, I am debating him mercilessly.]
Just as banks do derivatives in another universe, the correspondent above is in a derivative universe too. In reality, France and Britain have been allies since 1815, even invading China and Russia together, as good allies do, and have enjoyed the "Entente Cordiale" for more than a century. It is this Entente that broke fascism, not the belated, ambiguous activities of the USA. It is obvious in World War One. And so it is in World War Two.
By the time the USA started to shoot at Hitler, Hitler had already lost the war in England (Battle of England), North Africa (Afrika Korps had failed to seize the Suez Canal and get Iraqi oil), Russia (Hitler’s army had suffered huge losses at Moscow and Stalingrad)… and over Germany (British bombing raids were destroying German cities, and the Nazis were incapable of stopping them!)
Far from being enemies, France and Britain were beyond friendship, beyond dying for each other. In 1940, Churchill, De Gaulle, the British parliament and the French PM decided the unification of France and Britain. Unfortunately a coup during the apocalyptic Battle of France, the most deadly battle of the Western front in the entire war, prevented its implementation, at the last minute. Informed French contemporaries all regret that the unification did not come to be then (nowadays, as many Americans do not know, and even Paul Krugman recently, French, German and Brits are all citizens of the same Union).
The unification of France and Britain would have allowed France not to cease fire, while giving the entire French population the protected status of (British) citizens. Otherwise, as the French government had been physically destroyed by the Nazis, the Nazis could have claimed that all French resisting them were terrorists, since they had no state to back them up, and kill them like pests (that was done to many French soldiers and officers during the Battle of France, because they had resisted too much; the same happened to a few US soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944). If all French had been British, killing the French like pests would have been a clear and definitive war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
Even the New York Times allows its editorialists to feed racist hatred against the French. Roger Cohen wrote there an editorial claiming that "Just when you thought France could sink no further, it discovers improbable new depths to plumb thanks to … this imploding team where no middle ground binds the Muslim boys from the suburban projects and the clean-cut, middle-class French lad — Yoann Gourcuff of good Breton lineage?….It’s individualism rampant…It’s the distance between the tenacious French imaginary of the secular state integrating every immigrant and the facts of increasingly divided identity.
Removing Muslim veils won’t make France whole…Abidal is not alone in being a Muslim convert. Nicolas Anelka… also adopted Islam, as did Franck Ribéry on meeting his wife Wahiba (of North African descent). Romance in the projects happens with those who are there. France has become a land of Fatima Duponts without acknowledging it…something is working in America that’s dysfunctional in France. I know where I’d rather be an immigrant…Meanwhile, not wanting to look as rich as a French footballer, the president has cancelled the traditional Bastille Day garden party at the Elysée palace. It cost over $900,000 last year. Looks like a false economy to me. France should at least go down in style."
[The French team went on strike because Anelka, who Mr. Cohen condemns as a Muslim convert, was fired. Here is the paradox for American neo-conservatives. American neo-conservatives always celebrate the mediocre Ayn Rand for writing the "Fountainhead", a book where American millionaires go on strike, and the USA stop functioning. Now, of course, American millionaires never went on strike, and never will. But, in another French first, the entire world could admire the world's first strike by multi millionaires, the soccer stars of the French football team. You would have thought that American neo-conservatives would have been on their knees, making incantations to their idols. Instead, they found in that multi millionaire strike another reason to vilipend France, showing that France is just a safe way to express their otherwise undirected racial hatred.]
Mr. Cohen, a practicing Jew (according to his published editorials) apparently resent the fact that some French convert to Islam, and that France is turning into Fatima Duponts without acknowledging it.
I know one of these converts, a good friend. His wife, born in Morocco as a Muslim, has been a close friend of mine for decades. She is a very pretty, blue eyed PhD biologist, turned manager. Her husband converted to Islam, because Islam forbids Muslim women to get married to non Muslims, under the penalty of death (in theory). Death being inconvenient, and wanting to see their family in Morocco, without the threat of such an inconvenience, he converted. The French being deeply secular, they don’t mind wearing a label they don’t care about.
Indeed they are both secular in the best French tradition, and do nothing Islamist (differently from me, who drinks no alcohol whatsoever). These pseudo conversions are a general phenomenon, hundreds of thousands of French have done it. They just mean that family peace is the true religion of France. Speaking of integration, polls show that even those French who are practicing Muslims celebrate Christmas, etc.
According to Cohen, the French soccer/football team loss proved that France was a bad, divided, racist society, whereas the American victory proved the USA was great in all ways, a racially harmonious society. Cohen forgot to mention the Watts riots (deadly and with nothing equivalent in France in the last 100 years). Cohen forgot that, in the last 30 years or so, only two French passport holders were accused of Muslim terrorism. One was killed by French police, the other is in American prison (he was implicated in 9/11).
Just last week six American Muslims were condemned for pro-"Muslim" terrorism (to life). The total Muslim origin population in France is even bigger than the American one (something which seems to upset Cohen). So one can compare. Many American Muslims hate the USA to the point of mass murdering Americans. Nothing of the sort seems on the horizon in France. All the recent anger of French Muslim in France was about the defeat of the Algerian football team (made mostly of dual citizenship French star players), resulting in the immolation of 15 of their neighbors’ cars by excited teenagers. The French repression apparatus tends to give a Gallic shrug to this sort of excitement. Much worse happens in the USA, where guns are used liberally, killing more than 30,000 Americans a year, and the total population in prison is more than 30 times greater than in France.
Even Obama has amplified from the presidential pulpit the concept of "anti-Americanism". But, all too much "anti-Americanism" is just how condemning plutocratism is called. For example in the mind of the first correspondent above, I am clearly "anti-American" (I removed the abusive parts where he mentioned this, to avoid too much inflammation).
It is true that, for example, I condemn Henry Ford for the early and gigantic help he gave to Hitler. We may have enjoyed Herr Hitler, just because of Mr. Ford. Among other generosities, Ford put Hitler on a yearly $50,000 salary, a gigantic sum under the hyper-inflation of the 1920s. Hitler had a private army with which he tried to seize power in Germany in 1923, and, considering the exsanguinous state of the Weimar republic at the time, only Americans could have paid for it. And that was just the beginning of American plutocracy’s interference in the rise of Nazi Germany.
Ford wrote a book, the “International Jew”, that the Nazis printed and distributed for free, by 1923, in their luxurious headquarters in Munich (no doubt paid by American plutocrats). So I am anti-Ford. Does that make me "anti-American"?
The notion of "Anti-American" activity is a curious one. Hyper nationalism in the USA is not just the First Amendment, the right of free speech, but apparently an imposed duty. The US congress had, until 1975, HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee). Now it still has the United States Oath of Allegiance (officially referred to as the "Oath of Allegiance," 8 C.F.R. Part 337 (2008)). It is an oath that must be taken by all immigrants who wish to become United States citizens.
Part of the short current oath is as follows:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I … will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…so help me God.
This is curious, because it admits and expects, under oath, that the USA has “domestic enemies”. It also violates the separation of church and state since people are supposed to be helped by Dog. Not everybody ought to swear they believe in Dog. It contradicts pretty explicit text from the Founders, and is obviously anti-secularist. But never mind.
So why all the excitement against France? Well, France is the parallel republic, the progenitor, the historical source of the roots of American civilization… Wherever, whenever the USA does something, there is always the French alternative manner, now amplified by the entire European union, which has become a big France. The horror.
Of course the reciprocal is true, but, differently from the USA, this is well admitted in France, and, contemplating US alternatives there is not viewed as an Un-French, or anti-French Activity. The same is true all around Europe. Saying that such and such is much better in the USA than in Europe, is never viewed as a reason to terminate friendships in the EU, but so it is with the reciprocal in the USA. The smell of HUAC and the Oath of Allegiance is still in the air, like sulfur around a volcanic crater. No doubt why the USA has been going down the wrong road for 30 years.
Civilizations die when they are wrong, big time. The best way to not get wrong, big time, is to try to be right, honestly, and by answering others’ critiques, in depth.
By the way, truth be told, I have been driving Ford vehicles for more than 16 years… Intelligence rests on the ability to make distinctions. Henry Ford may have created Hitler, but his company can still make good cars, built by honest workers. And, truth be told, some more, not all of Henry Ford’s ideas were wrong. Some were excellent, like the one of paying his workers enough, so that they could buy his cars (an idea which eludes the genius of greed in Wall Street, version 2010). But very correct ideas here, does not mean no lethal ideas, there. Philosophically, it does not pay to be personal, it pays to target precise thoughts for destruction. (And others, for construction).
Intelligence, distinctions, prognostications: of these survival, and morality, are made. And what is deeply un-American is to behave as if it were not so.