There was a time, not long ago, when I viewed the French as arrogant Arab-lovers whose leaders chose to protect Yasir Arafat’s wealth and reputation, a people which sought to expunge their record as brutal colonizers and to continue their work as Holocaust collaborators by joining the jihad against the Jewish state.
As a lover of French literature (my college dissertation was on Stendhal) I was nevertheless clear that France was no longer the capital for expatriate artists and revolutionaries in search of each other. I could never embrace France as a place of refuge or exile.
But now, France under Sarkozy is becoming attractive once more. This President has stood up for the rights of democracy, both in France and in Iran. He believes that human and individual rights apply to all French women, including Muslim women. He does not see immigrant and/or Muslim women as a separate or subordinate species. Sarkozy understands that woman’s equality is the bottom line issue in terms of assimilation and integration.
President Sarkozy is absolutely right. Based on my own research, it is clear that when those Muslim women who wish to assimilate or modernize actually do so– they are often shamed, persecuted, and even murdered by their own families, by their religious leaders, and by those western leftists who argue for “multi-cultural relativism.”
Today, the French government has announced that immigrants (all and any immigrants) who wish to settle in France must make a commitment to “integrate.” This means that new citizens must agree to give up polygamy, forced marriage, the Veil, and female genital mutilation; such practices are forbidden. According to Nadine Morano, the French Secretary of State for Family: “Equality between men and women is a fundamental principle of French society.”
According to the French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, a French “national identity” must be understood and embraced by all. To accomplish that, Fillon said “that French schools will now be ordered to fly the French flag and to have a copy of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in every classroom.” Young French citizens will have to “speak better French, know more about the values of the republic,” and engage in certain (undefined) ceremonies.
What will be most stressed is the importance of equality between men and women.
These plans are being mocked and scorned by French socialists and certain academics who view them as inflammatory, culturally insensitive, subject to challenge in European Union courts, etc.
As a thousand Norwegian-Muslim taxi drivers a day continue to demonstrate against the Mohammed cartoons; as the mad Dutch judges continue to try the heroic parliamentarian Geert Wilders in a case that is stacked against him; as the Danish government employs a prison imam who guides husbands on wife-beating; as the leftists and Muslims of Malmo continue to persecute the small number of Jews in Malmo, I say: Vive La France!
And, may America soon follow its example.