What's Really Going on with France Plus: A Ray of Bipartisan Hope
Published on November 08, 2005
If you were wondering whatís been going on
click here.† Amazing (or maybe not) how much hatred and
violence a rightwing leader certain of his moral superiority (Sarkozy is, among other things, Franceís Minister of Religion) can
stir up.† Not to mention the long-run
cost of cutting social programs.
A taste of it:
"Sarko" made headlines with his declarations that he
the ghettos of "la racaille"--
words the U.S.
press has utterly inadequately translated to mean "clean" the ghettos
of "scum." But these two words have
an infinitely harsher and insulting flavor in French. "Karcher"
is the well-known brand name of a system of cleaning surfaces by
super-high-pressure sand-blasting or water-blasting that very violently peals
away the outer skin of encrusted dirt -- like pigeon-shit -- even at the risk
of damaging what's underneath. To apply this term to young human beings and
proffer it as a strategy is a verbally fascist insult and, as a policy proposed
by an Interior Minister, is about as close as one can get to hollering
"ethnic cleansing" without actually saying so. It implies raw police
power and force used very aggressively, with little regard for human rights. I
wonder how many Anglo-American correspondents get the inflammatory, terribly
vicious flavor of the word in French? The translation
by "clean" just misses completely the
inflammatory violence of what Sarko was really
saying. And "racaille"
is infinitely more pejorative than "scum" to French-speakers -- it
has the flavor of characterizing an entire group of people as subhuman,
inherently evil and criminal, worthless, and is, in other words, one of the
most serious insults one could launch at the rebellious ghetto youth.
A RAY OF BIPARTISAN HOPE
It turns out that common ground is
possible after all. †Click here for the way the
world ought to work more often.