Original Post: 17 Nov 2005
The events of the last couple of weeks in France does not speak well of France, in fact does not speak well of all of Europe.
Unlike the US where, even with the problems and issues people and government have with immigration, for the most part the US is the only country in the world that immigrants have a chance, a chance to make it and become part of the American dream.
Not withstanding the xenophobic rhetoric we heard during this past election in the Commonwealth of Virginia where the Republican candidate tried but failed to succeed on promoting racism, and fear among Virginians and promoting and advocating fear from immigrants, American will always be the land of the free and home of the brave.
France like the rest of Europe has nothing to be proud of. The often mentioned logo of France; liberty, legality and fraternity does not fit with the reality that is France where immigrants even those who have lived in France for some 50 years will always find nothing but discrimination, and marginalization in France.
As an immigrant to the US and having lived in Europe (Switzerland) and having lived overseas for some 20 years I can testify to the marked difference between immigrants to Europe and immigrants to the US. A world of difference, where these immigrants enrich American.
My late father who immigrated to the US in his early fifties and who learned to read and write in night school sponsored by the YMCA and who worked as a labor in steal mills and with the City of Gary, always felt very proud of being an immigrant and his sense of belonging could never be higher that the date of elections when he always wear his political hat as a partisan Democrats who worked the poll stations. My late father always talked to me about Franklin Roosevelt and how Roosevelt, as a democrat always fought for the common and poor man who turned American around from a country of soup kitchens to America that liberated Europe and the Far East.
France like Germany and all countries of Europe never made any efforts what so ever to incorporate and integrate these immigrants to Europe and never gave them the opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty, violence and marginalization. I could never understand why children of immigrants are trapped into the lives of their fathers and why children of immigrants never find seats in some of the best universities in Europe where they can have an opportunity to become professors, scientists, businessmen, lawyers, economists and physicians. There is a world of difference between Europe and the US notwithstanding what Republicans like Kilgore believe in.
Dominique de Villepin, Nicolas Sarkosy and Jacques Chirac could ever have the vision that the US has. To these leaders and leaders all across Europe, immigrants are like the old Black salves in times past. Europe today is like the US of the turn of century when slavery and disfranchisement from society was the order of the day.
France and Europe don’t know what they are missing, and they are missing out a lot from the marginialization of immigrants and children of immigrants.
I always feel a great sense of pride and empowerments when I read in the papers that children of immigrants are top graduates in high school and in universities all across the country. Yes, American have lots of problems and we must never surrender to the xenophobic feeling of right wing politicians, but American remain the only country in the world that gives the opportunity to new immigrants and where children of immigrants are always proud of their immigrant roots. Let us not forget that the Holocaust and the ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Bosnians place in Europe.