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Editorial

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: http://www.humanite.fr/2007-10-10_S...

by Pierre Laurent

War?

Translated Sunday 14 October 2007, by Gene Zbikowski

France’s gendarmerie – the national police force that is organized along military lines – is on a war footing. A general mobilization has been proclaimed in a letter from the top administration to the prefects. To fight against what major danger, to stop what terrorist scourge, to meet what national emergency? Why, the hunt for undocumented immigrants!

The official bulletin which l’Humanité has revealed spells out the battle plan to be carried out by the military gendarmes and begins by calling them to order, noting that “67 groups in 17 regions have not met the objectives” set by the Minister for Immigration and National Identity, Brice Hortefeux. And what are the objectives in question? For the gendarme groups that are required to do more, they are summed up in a sinister formulation: “charges are to be filed against [at least] 75 individuals under index 69 of State 4001,” in other words for having violated the conditions for foreign entry and residence in France. What are the means to be employed? A nerve-chilling panoply of directives and commands, including one that requires the setting-up of “organizations of a permanent nature,” to be responsible for intensifying contact with “labor health and safety officers and public organizations and housing authorities” to hunt down immigrants. The priority given to this operation is so high that even the redeployment of staff assigned to official escorts is authorized. From now on, “gendarme reservists and retirees” are to help with escort tasks. Thus nothing seems to be more urgent for the authorities than this vile hunt based on an individual’s facial features.

Decidedly, this going too far, especially after the scandal of the DNA tests, which yesterday were again defended by the boss of the UMP deputies in the National Assembly, Jean-François Copé, and which were shamefully approved of by the government’s supposedly “left-wing” ministers, who shed crocodile tears while continuing to praise Sarkozyism as if there were no problem. Through their actions, they accredit Prime Minister François Fillon’s phrase reducing the DNA test scandal to a “detail.”

Thus it is not at all surprising that the Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration, the French equivalent of the Ellis Island Museum in the U.S., an institution whose planning began under President Jacques Chirac, opens today in the Paris palais de la porte Dorée in a very hush-hush way, without any official ceremony. Everyone knows how uncertain the realization of this museum center was, and how the Interior Minister of the day – who is now the President of France – fought against it. In the Sarkozy monarchy, immigration to France is not celebrated, instead fingers are wagged at it, and it is even criminalized.

The more this immigration policy shows its true, cruel colors, the more it drags our values in the dirt, the more it dishonors our nation on the international scene, the more it mutilates France, one of the homes of human rights, in the eyes of the world. Fortunately, more and more voices are being raised against this intolerable policy. Undoubtedly, even in the police force and among the gendarmes, unease and anger are growing at this pressure from above.

In the area of immigration as in other areas, and notably as concerns important social issues, the usurper Sarkozy, who tries to appear as everybody’s friend, as the person who will finally listen to the nation’s suffering, is having an increasingly hard time concealing the brutality of his policies. He knows this, and consequently is trying to use this provocative brutality to separate and isolate the initial victims of his policies from the rest of the nation. In a certain sense, Sarkozy is trying to turn his weakness into a source of strength. Blocking his maneuvers to isolate, insisting on our common interests in every domain, uniting people around the values of solidarity and equal dignity for all – these are the means to thwart this strategy, which depends so much on striking one group amid general indifference, so as to strike everyone in the end.


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