The French political scientist Alfred Grosser emigrated from Germany to France in 1933 at the age of eight. He devoted his life to enlightening the Germans about France and the French about Germany, and has received high honours in Germany. (Full disclosure: there are close family ties between his family and the blogger’s.) He was interviewed by Deutschlandfunk on the occasion of his 90th birthday on February 1. He said among other things:
It is remarkable that only now France’s colonial history is beginning to be “remembered.” There are monuments in Bordeaux and Nantes reminding the population that they owe the wealth and glory of their cities largely to the slave trade in the 18th century.
The press in France and Germany downplays the positive achievements of the European Union. Good things come from Paris and Berlin, bad things from Brussels.
In the suburbs of Paris and other cities, people are discriminated against who are French citizens, unlike many people in similar situations in Germany who remain Turkish citizens. In France, in many cases, first comes the discrimination. Radical Islam follows.
What does Marine le Pen, leader of the right-wing Front National, want? She wants to exclude everything we would call “modern” from the contemporary scene. And she wants as few Muslims as possible.
The Spanish-born Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, became a French citizen in 1972. The Spanish-born Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, became a French citizen in 1982.
I often say, perhaps a little arrogantly, that there are really no longer any Frenchmen. There are pharmacists, notaries, truck drivers and taxi drivers; they all fight for their own interests.
At least one of the Charlie Hebdo terrorists came from a solid bourgeois Catholic family. Radicalism was a form of rebellion.
Prison turns many moderate Muslims into radicals.
The prime minister of France was right when he used the word “apartheid” to describe the conditions in many suburbs.
Concern for human rights applies as much to the Palestinians as to other minorities under pressure.