Don’t worry, I’m not going to go on about the quality of the press in the UK as I’m aware I’d sound like a broken record. But I have to admit that every now and again, I really miss reading about French politics, even those issues which I wouldn’t really care about if I was still living on the continent.
On a trip to France last June, I read in the paper that Nicolas Sarkozy had ordered a parliamentary commission to look at whether to ban the wearing of burqas and niqabs in public. Who knows whether it’s being married to an ex-super model that’s made him take an interest in what his public is wearing, but I have to admit that I was in shock. I have never hidden the fact that I think Mister N. (yes, that’s right, I’m comparing him to Napoleon) is the worst fascist France has ever seen (mainly because he does such a good job of pretending he’s not). But in a country where liberté, egalité and fraternité is supposed to reign, and where you should be able to practice your religion as you wish, I really don’t understand the logic of forbidding a certain type of outfit just because it doesn’t correspond to traditional Christian values (even if you don’t see that many out and about these days, nuns can wear their full outfit without bothering anyone).
Even though this law hasn’t been voted in yet, you don’t need to be a genius to realise that the move will turn France into a potential bomb target for some extremists. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do not support such barbarian acts and think taking innocent people’s lives for religious or political reasons is the worst thing that’s happened since the H Bomb – and keeping our mouths shut and trying not to step up because of the fear of reprisals is nothing short of blackmail. As a woman, I have to admit that I am not particularly keen on the idea of respecting a dress code because of a religion – but then this is up to each and every individual to decide for themselves. This is their own right.
But to be honest, in such a dodgy economic climate, bringing up a debate on religion reminds me of a certain Mister H. in 1933 … Trying to get people to focus on something other than the downfall of the economy – especially by making them think about religion (a topic that’s bound to get chins wagging across the whole country) – all just seems a bit too easy to me; especially considering that France seems to have just found some stability following the mass debate about the wearing of the burqa in the civil service a few years ago.
Over here, on the other side of the channel – where the memory of 7 July is still very much alive – Nicolas Sarkozy’s actions send a crystal clear message that he is just provoking extremists to blow up Paris. Again, I must stress that I don’t agree with these sorts of practices, but I can’t help but wonder what on earth Sarko is hoping to achieve:
- Does he want to become France’s saviour and secure his seat in the Palais de l’Elysée by coming to the rescue of traumatised people after a series of bombing? (he would not be the first one to use this strategy)
- Is he thinking of carrying out further economical reforms and hoping no one will notice as they are all too busy discussing the burqa issue?
- Does he just want to secure the vote of his fascist supporters?
Whatever the case, I wonder where the interests of the French population really are in all of this. And I reckon that risking the lives of millions of Parisians who could soon find bombs in the Métro all to satisfy the ambitions and megalomania of a French President with a height complex is not really normal. As far as I know, there is only a small minority of Muslim ladies who wear the burqa in France anyway and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. And it’s probably worth mentioning that when one is married to an ex super model, i.e. someone who used to make money out of her appearance, I seriously doubt whether they can talk objectively about the importance or abolition of any kind of dress code.