Is France “allergic” to Multiculturalism?

From WikiCommons: " 'Lamartine, before the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, rejects the Red Flag,' February 25, 1848. By Henri Felix Emmanuel Philippoteaux (1815–1884). Lamartine said that the red flag represented revolutionary violence, and 'has to be put down immediately after the fighting.' "

From WikiCommons: ” ‘Lamartine, before the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, rejects the Red Flag,’ February 25, 1848. By Henri Felix Emmanuel Philippoteaux (1815–1884). Lamartine said that the red flag represented revolutionary violence, and ‘has to be put down immediately after the fighting.’ “

A new op-ed posted on the French news-site “Le Monde” today offered a cutting criticism of France’s ideas of nationality tied to ethnic background. The article delves into the twenty year history of the idea of “communautarisme,” a concept foreign to USians, which has become a pejoratif term for the subjugation of a majority to the aspects of a minority culture. (Think: the extra costs it takes for a school cafeteria to accommodate vegetarian or Halal food.) The article traces the modern negativity towards multiculturalism through the burning issue of women wearing the veil in public (in public schools, offices, etc.) and the debate it ensued in the 1990s and to recent dialogue and reactionary language to the attacks in Brussels and Paris. 

While this “allergy” to “communautarism” has modern ramifications, the article’s author Anne Chemin points out that the idea of a monocultural France can be traced back to the French Revolution from 1789-1799.

Indeed, many fundamentals and symbols of French national identity are tied to monoculturalism. In the USA, we have jus soli–citizenship determined by the land upon which one is born. (Remember the debate of Obama’s birth certificate and place of birth?)  In France, the system is jus sanguinis–citizenship is determined by the nationality of one’s parents (and often grandparents). Furthermore, the red of the French flag is symbolic of blood-relations. Likewise, the last part of the French motto refers to “brotherhood.” The idea of purity of blood is further cemented to primary French national identity in the repeated chorus of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem: “To arms, citizens!…Let [their] impure blood soak our fields.” (Aux armes, citoyens!…Qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons.) Continue reading

“Je suis Charlie” Lighting up USian Social Media

Captured from linked Tumblr post, original photo credit to London's Telegraph.

You probably remember in Fall of 2012 when the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) gained international notoriety for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (including some illustrations of him nude).

Earlier today, three masked gunmen opened fire at this paper’s headquarters in Paris, killing a dozen people and wounding another eleven before speeding away.

According to Al Jazeera America, thousands of people all across Europe have gathered in major cities, holding vigils in solidarity for the lives lost to this terrorist act of violence.

Awareness in the US is also gaining momentum as social media posts on Twitter using the #JeSuisCharlie and #IamCharlie tags, as well as photos of the solidarity rallies coming across posts on tumblr. In the pictures, participants hold up lighted placards declaring that they are “not afraid,” while other groups hold up pens to signify their belief in freedom of expression.

Tumblr: http://roryinfinity8.tumblr.com/post/107449158568/the-gasoline-station-not-afraid-source-the

 

Al Jazeera America: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/1/7/je-suis-charlie.html

ABC news: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/je-suis-charlie-message-viral-paris-attack-28064199 

Captured from linked Tumblr post, original photo credit to London's Telegraph.

The Beginning of Transnational Media 101

In the fall of 2008, I was granted the opportunity to conduct research on the influence of art on Franco-American relations in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. My thesis began as a simple intellectual exercise–contrast two French artists from different era whose domestic success carried over to the United States. However, the paper quickly began to evolve as emerging similarities between the two artists proved to be key in their transAtlantic triumph. The final paper outlines a rubric–a set of five criteria–which artists must satisfy in order to have the economic viability and compatibility in both domestic and international markets.

More interestingly, at the time of the research and drafting of the paper, Sony France was conducting a multi-branched initiative to push French chanteuse Camille into US American markets. You’ve heard of Daft Punk. You’ve probably heard of Edith Piaf. You haven’t heard of Camille, and she does not meet my five criteria. If she did meet the criteria, her chances of American success would have increased, at the very least.

This paper serves as the springboard for my subsequent and current research in transnational media, and I am now able to release this paper on this blog.

 

“Daft Punk and Edith Piaf: Similarities between Two French Artists Famous in the USA”