hi! I hope I'm not bothering you I was wondering if you could explain your posts about the elections? I'm american and I don't understand what's going on but I feel it's important?? Is france racist? I don't want to be rude but it is what I gathered??? thank you sorry if it came out wrong!!
Hey, thanks for the ask, don’t worry you’re not a bother. On the contrary, I’m glad you ask. I’m sorry it took me all day to reply, I just didn’t want to forget anything.
Firstly, no, France is not racist. That’s a big assumption to make about a whole damn country.
So. Yesterday was the first round of our regional elections. Basically we were electing our regional councils, one for each of the 13 regions in France (plus 5 overseas). Keep in mind that these councils do not have legislative autonomy, but they do manage sizable budgets, mainly for high schools, professional training, associations/organizations and regional transports.
What happened is that the FN (Front National, the extreme-right party) won 6 of the 13 regions in France, and picked up 28% of the vote nationally. The right wing secured 27% and the left wing only 23%.
FN is in brown, right wing in blue and left wing in pink.
That’s fucking terrifying. The Paris Attacks took place 3 weeks ago, and it was no coincidence. Daesh - that’s what most of us call ISIS, ‘cause there’s nothing Islamist and there’s nothing state-like with Daesh - chose to attack Paris this close to the elections because their goal is to turn the population against itself. Against refugees, against Muslims, against all the people the FN does not want in France. And it works. Not everywhere, of course. Not in Paris, the city enjoys being multicultural way too much. Not in Britany, where people are so damn welcoming. But in other regions. Regions where maybe there are not so many young people. Where people don’t have an easy access to education. Where the population is mostly white, where the people don’t get to meet and exchange with POC every day like in bigger cities. Where people don’t know. This is Daesh’s strategy. And many people don’t know any better.
A poll published yesterday revealed that a third of the votes was influenced by the terrorist threat. Which is ridiculous. Regional councils don’t do much in terms of terrorism, like I said above since they mainly manage educational budgets and budgets for transports and associations. Pretty much all the things that help in building a community - that the FN wants to cut, which would NOT help the fight against terrorism.
But many don’t know that. All they see and hear is this: There is a terrorist threat. The terrorists claim that they are Muslims and doing it in the name of Islam. The FN says that they don’t want Muslims in France. And bam. Many don’t go looking further and take shortcuts, mix up everything and suddenly the FN looks like a plausible solution to eradicate terrorism. Of course it’s bullshit. I know that, I guess you know that, and a good chunk of the population in France knows it too. But almost50% of the population didn’t vote yesterday. Because they didn’t see the point, because “regional elections are not that important, I’ll vote for the presidential elections in 2017”, because “politicians are all the same anyway”, I don’t know why else. Shame on these people.
Actually, this is pretty much the same situation than with the 2002 presidential elections. The 2002 elections took place 8 months after 9/11 and the terrorist threat was also palpable in France. I won’t go into details since there are other factors but this did play in the fact that the FN actually got to the second round. I was 10 so I didn’t understand everything but I remember this
Le Pen on the right, Chirac on the left
And the shock that followed in my livingroom. Le Pen? President of the Front National Le Pen? Racist, xenophobic, homophobic Le Pen, in the second round? How? How could this happen? People were devastated.
But France did not even wait for the second round a week later. People immediately took to the streets that same night. They protested, against Le Pen, against extremism, against wrong conflation.
And it did not stop there. It went on for a week and on May, 1st, a big manifestation took place. It was supposed to be a march between Place de la République and Place de la Bastille, but there were so many people that they couldn’t do much more than standing instead of marching.
And of course, Le Pen lost, and Chirac won the second round with more than 80%. Sigh of relief. But for how long?
I can’t help but wonder. Regional elections ALWAYS reflect presidential elections. It gives a trend of what people think. So is that what we should expect for the 2017 Presidential Elections? I really hope not. We wouldn’t let that happen right? Not France. Not the nation of Human Rights, of Liberty and Equality. Right?
My baguette friends and I are angry, kinda scared, exasperated and disgusted. It’s just… How did it go this far, AGAIN? Where is the France of January, the one taking to the streets to protest against extremism? Parce que le FN en tête dans 6 régions, c’est pas très Charlie.
DONC LES GENS. Mes petites baguettes. Si vous le pouvez dimanche prochain, ALLEZ VOTER PUTAIN.