Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Should the French deny citizenship on the basis of Religious practice?

First I agree that a country has a right to impose what laws it wishes for granting Citizen ship. In the case of France though they are violating their own concepts of tolerance. They are different from other European countries in this respect. It is not that the other countries are happy about the Burqua or Naqab, it is just that they wish to respect the beliefs of their Citizen or even those who wish to be their Citizen. France has a much bigger issue than just disciplining 1900 of it's citizen. This is the problem of showing intolerance to people for their beliefs about something as simple as a dress code. In every other way these 1900 people may well be the most law abiding citiizen.

The bigger issue here is that France has a misunderstanding about these practices being degrading to women. You or I may feel that women cavorting topless in public is more degrading to women. Again this is not a matter of individual values, a very large number of women wear a Hijab or other covering out of religious conviction. In Iran women wear the Chaddor but go about their duties as freely as any French woman. Clearly the French are looking at a very small minority and making up their minds about the beliefs of 1.2 billion people. I find this to be irrational and arrogant. It is as stupid as the Taliban blowing up Historic Statues because they think poorly of statues.
France more than any other Secular state has raised secularism to the level of a State Religion and that too an intolerant one. Let me make another point. Why would you or I not think of emigrating to France? Simple because our country was never colonised by France. People who wish to become French Citizen are people from countries which were previously colonized by France. These countries were not only colonised but robbed, raped and left impoverished. Their Citizen want to live in France because France has a better standard of living partly because they ( the French) set back these countries many generations of prosperity. Why is it that UK absorbs the West Indians, the Pakis, The Nigerians, and it must not be easy, and the French look down upon the Algerians?

This is not just about France but the whole of Europe is having issues absorbing their Muslim Minorities. In this respect the US and Canada have done a much better job. The Muslim Minorities that emigrate to Europe are not as well educated and are themselves resistant to merging into the host country culure.
In many respects they are like the Mexicans in America, who are becoming a headache for America for very different reasons. Like The Mexicans in America though, the Muslims are becoming a very sizeable minority in Europe. Some projections show that in 25 years they will become a majority.
Unlike America though, this thought is driving the Europeans crazy. The image of Muslims as terrorists is not helping matters either. There is an implied invasion from within which may cause the French if not the Eurpeans to close their borders and make citizenship qualifications more rigorous. Although you ignore this point but this is not a French problem, the French are just handling it differently. If any one has more reasons to be truly concerned it is the British who have Muslim British Citizen, wanting to blow up trains, bridges and buildings. In the UK it is not an issue of an "eye sore" but real issues of home made terrorism yet they have so far resisted pointing fingers at their minorities.

Maybe the French are right and the British and Americans wrong, I merely wish to point out that so far the French have come up with a solution which is different from the rest of secular thinking.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is the leadeship of the US now seriously flawed

"There was no emergency. No one had attacked anyone. There wasn't any new WMD. We could have taken the time and got it right. The forces weren't ready to go in. They have said that themselves." Claire Short.

An inquiry in the UK into the lead up to the Iraq war, is showing what many of us have known from day one. The Iraq war was never about either WMDs or terrorism. This is leading people to believe that it was about regime change, even if that was not sustainable as a reason to put before the UN. The truth is that it was not even about regime change. Even Obama has distanced himself from the Iraq adventure by calling it the wrong war.
The fact that both the President of the US and the Prime Minister of the UK lied about the real reasons not only to their public but also to their colleagues and twisted the arms of their legal advisers to support these trumped up reasons lays bare how these institutions operate.
It calls into question the stated reasons for the attack on Afghanistan and it's continued occupation, it calls into question the entire concept of the "war on terror" and it smears the mainstream media of these counties with toeing the Government line rather than questioning it. Bush and Blair deserve to be convicted as war criminals and that may never happen but the Institution of the President of the US has suffered untold damage. The call to others to follow the political system of the US rings hollow and in fact encourages people looking for a model to look elsewhere.
In Europe, France and Germany stand out for having opposed the reasons and timing of the Iraq war and Britain stands exposed for being " a poodle". The type of inquiry being held in the UK cannot be held in the US. The US has a greater intolerance for the sexual escapades of their leaders and lawmakers then it does for their political ethics. This is a problem not just for the US but for the whole world as the US has the ability to impact the rest of the world for better or for worse. The question is being asked ( not in Davos) whether the Leadership of the US is doing more harm to the world then it is doing good. As long as there is no alternative the world may choose to live with a seriously flawed leader but clearly there is now a vacuum waiting to be filled.