Saturday, October 06, 2007

Les nuits de Paris: Black, blanc, beur

It is the evening of the Nuits Blanches here in Paris, the “white nights” of all-night cultural events that were inaugurated by Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë's in 2002.

As I prepare to go see a pair of African bands set to play a free concert at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, the fierce debate regarding immigration in France continues. In recent months, as I alluded to in an article some time ago, France has witnessed the creation of the (often justly) maligned Ministère de l'immigration, de l'intégration, de l'identité nationale et du codéveloppement and the implementation of policies that have chased middle-aged Chinese workers and schoolboys out of windows in nighttime immigration raids and bundled screaming Malians onto planes taking them "home" to Bamako. As a resident of an immigrant community and, indeed, an immigrant myself, I can only say that I hope some kind of humanity to one’s fellow man prevails in this discussion. As I would similarly criticize the current government in the United States, one can control one’s borders without victimizing the most defenseless in society.

Also note that this blog may be silent for a bit as I depart tomorrow for a two week reporting trip to Côte d'Ivoire, which promises many, many interesting things but among them perhaps not regular internet access.

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