On France, Gobineau, Colonialism and the Roma

Muncean_468x117 Valeriu Nicolae in Eurozine:

On 28 July, French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced a series of measures to deal with Roma communities in France. These include plans to shut down around 300 illegal camps, the expulsion from France of all Roma from Romania and Bulgaria who have committed public offences, an exchange of policemen between France and Romania, and targeted checks by the fiscal authorities on Roma who possess expensive SUVs.

Two days later, in a declaration on the Roma, Sarkozy said he wanted to revoke the French citizenship of immigrants with French passports who endanger the life of police officers. The government then started to fly Roma back to Romania. Most were ineptly “bribed” not to return with euro 300, a measure that makes little sense given that most of these Roma, just as high-ranking French officials, will promise whatever it takes to take advantage of whatever is on offer. The collection of biometric data in an effort to ensure Roma do not return to France is both expensive and irrelevant.

Blatant racism

Targeting Roma alone – or, indeed, migrants from Romania, Bulgaria or elsewhere – cannot be seen as anything but racist. If the same policies were applied equally to all French citizens involved in cases of bribery, nepotism, corruption, financial mischief, embezzlement – fancy words for robbery and other crimes – a good part of the French political class would have to be expelled or lose their citizenship.

If we believe French media coverage of the Bettencourt scandal, in which it is alleged that the French President received campaign funds above the legal limit, even the president himself might be sent back to Hungary or Greece. Former junior ministers in his cabinet, one of whom flew to Martinique on a charter jet for just over euro 116 000, and another who bought over euro 12 000 worth of cigars, all paid for with public money, might also be forced to emigrate if the French government were to treat all criminals equally.