Discuss a problem that plagues French society today: immigration and the integration of an ethnically diverse population that tends to cling to traditional ways and is not easily assimilated. Under the leadership of Jean-Marie Le Pen, an extreme right-wing party called Le Front National was responsible for ousting the Socialists from power in the 2000 elections and giving Jacques Chirac and his neo-Gaullist government a mandate to deal with the ever-present realities of racism and violence. In October 2005, riots originating in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois spread to other communes of the dÃ©partement and virtually every major city in France.
Nicolas Sarkozy, then Minister of the Interior, was accused of provoking the the civil unrest that led to the rioting in the projects (HLMs) by referring to to young delinquents in Argenteuil near Paris as “rabble” (racaille). Sarkozy had a mixed record on supporting the Islamic community in France by helping them to gain recognition before the French government (May 2003); he also proposed quotas as a solution to the immigration problem. In late November 2007, riots broke out again in a suburb 11 miles north of Paris called Villiers-le-Bel when two teenagers were killed in collision between their motorcycle and a police car. This grave incident put President Sarkozy and his government to the test in finding solutions to France’s persistently disenchanted marginalized residents. It is possible that FranÃ§ois Hollande will have to deal with immigration during his 5-year presidential mandate, beginning in 2012 through 2017.
Based on your readings, write a short essay comparing the ways in which the French and American governments are dealing with issues of immigration and integration and the reactions that these problems are provoking among the people. In your essay, be sure to compare and contrast French and Anglo-American democratic protest and their effect on government debate. Provide, where applicable, a brief analysis as to why you think these particular practices are more or less persuasive within each culture’s ideology of freedom and responsibility for citizens’ rights.