Tag Archives: europe

French Racism

23 Mar

The French are a bunch of racists and they're getting even more racist. Well, they think so anyway:

One in three French people say they are at least somewhat racist, an opinion poll suggests.

The figure shows an eight percentage point rise in those who said they were racist in a similar poll last year.

The survey of 1,011 people was carried out by the CSA polling institute for the National Consultative Commission for Human Rights.

The commission said the poll pointed to socio-economic unease and suggested racism is gaining acceptability.

France last year saw weeks of rioting in impoverished suburbs that was partly linked to the anger many youths from immigrant families felt at alleged racial discrimination.

The survey was conducted in late November 2005 – just after the riots had subsided.

'Drop in crime'

Respondents were given five options for describing their personal stance on race, ranging from "somewhat racist" and "a bit racist" to "not racist at all" and "don't want to say".

More than three in every 10 said they were "a bit racist" or "somewhat racist".

Only 32% of people said they would notify police of racist behaviour they witnessed, compared to 50% in the previous year.

"Despite the efforts deployed to fight racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia there is still a long way to go," the president of the commission, Joel Thoraval, said.

According to the report, anti-racist sentiment has grown weaker since last year.

However, the report noted that the number of racist and anti-Semitic crimes had also fallen in 2005.

France's justice minister, Pascal Clement, said last week that the number of convictions for racist and anti-Semitic crimes had risen 43% in 2005.

Link: One in three French 'are racist'.

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Ireland’s “Crack” Habit

21 Mar

This is a fun story about Irish Pubs:

Ireland, as much of the world knows it, was invented in 1991. That year, the Irish Pub Company formed with a mission to populate the world with authentic Irish bars. Whether you are in Kazakhstan or the Canary Islands, you can now hear the lilt of an Irish brogue over the sound of the Pogues as you wait for your Guinness to settle. A Gaelic road sign may hang above the wooden bar and a fiddle may be lying in a corner. As you gaze around, you might think of the Irish—O, that friendly, hard-drinking, sweater-wearing people!—and smile. Your smile has been carefully calculated.

Link: Ireland's "Crack" Habit – Explaining the faux Irish pub revolution..

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Dutch: No prudes allowed

15 Mar

The Netherlands has adopted a very interesting immigration policy:

The camera focuses on two gay men kissing in a park. Later, a topless woman emerges from the sea and walks onto a crowded beach. For would-be immigrants to the Netherlands, this film is a test of their readiness to participate in the liberal Dutch culture.

If they can't stomach it, no need to apply.

Despite whether they find the film offensive, applicants must buy a copy and watch it if they hope to pass the Netherlands' new entrance examination.

The test — the first of its kind in the world — became compulsory Wednesday, and was made available at 138 Dutch embassies.

Taking the exam costs $420. The price for a preparation package that includes the film, a CD ROM and a picture album of famous Dutch people is $75.

"As of today, immigrants wishing to settle in the Netherlands for, in particular, the purposes of marrying or forming a relationship will be required to take the civic integration examination abroad," the Immigration Ministry said in a statement.

The test is part of a broader crackdown on immigration that has been gathering momentum in the Netherlands since 2001.

While this is clearly aimed at Muslims, it would also be applicable to any Christian conservatives who were thinking of moving to Holland. Of course Americans are exempt from the rule. Dang!!!!

Link: Dutch Immigrants Must Watch Racy Film.

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David Irving

14 Mar

The sentencing of David Irving to three years in an Austrian prision for denying the Holocaust have me stumped.  Aside from my obvious interest in the subject becasue of it takes place in Austria, I do not know how to react to this particular situation.  While I think Irving is the worst kind of psudeo-academic, he does have a right to say what he wants.  However, the law against denying the Holocaust exists for a specific reason that is  justified to a certain degree.  So whose side should I take?

Hans Rauscher in Austria's Der Standard writes (via BBC News):

Holocaust deniers like David Irving want to trivialise these inconceivable crimes and make them politically acceptable. That is the decisive point. Whoever wants to render National Socialism harmless wants to revive it as a political option. It's just too much to ask of democracy to tolerate this. And it is deplorable treatment of the victims.

On the other hand, an editorial in Spain's El Mundo explains (via BBC News):

It goes without saying that Irving's harebrained historical theories deserve none of our respect. But perhaps for that very reason, one cannot fail to wonder if, today, there is any point in keeping in force legislation conceived in a very different historical context. Fifty years after the end of Nazism, Holocaust denial – not, of course, incitement to or glorification of genocide – must stop being a crime in Europe. Can it be right that someone should go to prison for saying Auschwitz did not exist, when those who deny the crimes of Stalin or the tortures of the Inquisition go unpunished?

European laws against anti-Semitism have become a nefarious exception which various Islamic intellectuals have recently seized upon as an example of the West's double standards. Far from giving in to demands to establish new restrictions to combat 'Islamophobia', European governments must eliminate this obsolete legislation and reaffirm the West's support for freedom of expression.

Both sides have effective arguments, and I still don't know which side I'm on.

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A lesson for us all

14 Mar

We've been discussing far-right extermism in my class the last week or so and I found this assesment from a Czech paper to be a perfect summary of the lesson:

Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes believes that while the former president's death is "frustrating", his life can teach us a lesson.

"It is a warning about how easy it is for a charismatic demagogue to use a favourable moment and turn an entire society into fanatics," it says, and "about how mistaken we are to assume that somebody will immediately rush to save the victims."

Link: BBC NEWS | World | Europe | European press review.

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Austria + the EU + sex = good story!

29 Dec

Three naked models masked as Jacques Chirac, Queen Elizabeth and George W. Bush depicted in sexual positions have caused embarrassment just a few days ahead of Austria taking over the EU helm.

A poster showing the lower body of a woman with her legs spread and wearing EU-flagged underwear has also caused uproar in the media and among politicians, demanding they be removed.

The posters are part of a larger partly-publicly funded project '25 Peaces' celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Austrian republic and its ten years of membership of the EU.

Link: EU sex-posters spark protests in Austria.

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Gummy bears know no borders

12 Dec

I love Haribo gummy bears and so does the rest of the world, apparently. The guy who runs Haribo is one of Germany's richest people and has an estimated worth of $1.3 billion dollars.

Link: Richest Germans: The Emperor in Gummy Bear's Clothes.

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