Tuesday, 26 April 2011
The Socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, has denounced the lack of help given by the French state to the hundreds of Tunisian savages now living on the streets of Paris, having arrived in France via Lampedusa and then Italy. He has offered financial support to a range of non-governmental organisations who will support the Tunisians directly. Hotel accommodation has also been arranged for them.

I want to express the emotion and the anxiety inspired in me by the attitude of Europe, and of France in particular, faced with the arrival of just over 20,000 Tunisian immigrants in Italy.

It is particularly alarming to see the French authorities limit themselves, on this important subject which concerns the European Union as a whole, to bilateral talks characterised by narrow conclusions and subtexts clearly inspired by electoral considerations. This measures up neither to the magnitude of the situation, nor to history.

The Tunisian people have just lived through, without the support or the solidarity of the countries of Europe, a revolution whose consequences have already upset an entire region of the world. It is undergoing an economic crisis, aggravated by the loss of affection among Europeans for this country which is so dependent on tourism. However, faithful to its tradition of hospitality, it agrees to accept thousands of Libyan refugees, driven from their homes by war. Under these circumstances, to see Europe, and especially the French government, react with so much narrowness and so little humanity when confronted with the arrival of a few thousands Tunisian immigrants on our soil, inspires a veritable indignation in me.


But, not limiting ourselves to dealing only with the urgent aspects, the duty of our country is to establish, in conjunction with the Tunisian authorities, a true logic of partnership. Young Tunisian graduates lack employment opportunities at the end of their studies: this was also one of the direct causes of the movement of January 2011. France should also welcome several thousand young Tunisians, as as envisaged in the cooperation accord signed by our two countries on 28 April 2008. These young people, who could thus begin their professional life in France, would then have a vocation to return to Tunisia to contribute to its development. [Translator's note: Sure, I bet they would.]

In the name of Paris, I invite the French authorities to respond with humanity and dignity to the expectation that thousands of Tunisians have of our country. It would be very serious in these circumstances if, several months after the jasmine revolution, history once again passed France and Europe by.

Some interesting detail on Delanoe's personal history from Wikipedia:

Delanoë was born in Tunis, Tunisia to a French-Tunisian father and a French mother. He moved to France with his family in his teens.

Delanoë was one of the first major French politicians to announce that he was gay, during a 1998 television interview (before being elected mayor).

He was stabbed on 5 October 2002 during the Nuit Blanche, a night of festivities in Paris, while mingling with the public. His assailant was a Muslim immigrant, Azedine Berkane, who reportedly told police that "he hated politicians, the Socialist Party, and homosexuals."


Johnny Rottenborough said...

You couldn’t make it up. M Delanoë will be tolerant even if it kills him.

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