France, Para­dise Lost


When I moved to France 12 years ago, it was like arri­ving in an unfriendly para­dise. Sure, hardly anyone spoke to me. But there was natio­nal paid mater­nity leave and free pres­chool. Prac­ti­cally everyone seemed to agree on the need for strict gun laws, and access to birth control and abor­tion. Not only did the whole coun­try have health insu­rance; most undo­cu­men­ted immi­grants could get medi­cal and dental care free.

[…] The French believe “they have a duty to think not just for them­selves but also for the rest of the world,”

[…In 1970’s…] France took in nearly 130,000 “boat people” from Viet­nam, Laos and Cambo­dia. That influx, and others like it, have helped make France a nation of immi­grants. Nearly a quar­ter of the popu­la­tion has at least one foreign-born grand­parent.

[…]

I assu­med that France would be welco­ming.

It wasn’t. President François Hollande said in Septem­ber that France would take in an addi­tio­nal 24,000 refu­gees over the next two years. In a natio­nal poll after­ward, 70 percent of respon­dents said 24,000 was “suffi­cient” or “very suffi­cient,” and half said they would refuse to accept refu­gees in their own city.

New York Times

Où est passé notre France ? Que sommes-nous deve­nus ? Nous nous sommes perdus, ou est-ce moi qui appar­tient au passé ?

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