A return to France (and little has changed…)

Just before I went to Sweden I figured out a quick trip back to Lyon, France to see some old friends. (I lived there in 05-06).Can’t wait to go back and see the great “Marches de Noel” and walk through Vieux Lyon, eat at some bouchons with old friends and reminisce about old times. However, after reading the news this week, I guess little has changed. I was in Paris the day the riots started in 2005 and left to go back to Lyon, where the riots continued. There was tear gas used in the city’s main square, a molotov cocktail thrown on the metro I took everyday (which thankfully didn’t go off) and thousands of cars burned.

Funny thing though, I read more about the events from the International papers than the French ones. Everyone back home was worried about me being in France at that time, and the general opinion I got from friends and workmates were “bon, c’est dans les banlieues quoi… pas de soucis”. (well, it’s in the suburbs, don’t worry).

Honestly, this was the general opinion from most French natives (not immigrants) I got. They were disheartened by it, but they didn’t really care (most of them at least). I was shocked. 8000 CARS BURNED AND YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY!!!

Well, shouldn’t be a surprise then that the riots are back. As the article (many articles) point out, massive reforms are needed, and little has been done.

In terms of getting jobs, it also doesn’t help that you need your photograph attached to your resume (very common in Europe). This would perhaps weed out some of the racism happening when finding jobs.

burned mailbox in lyon


One thought on “A return to France (and little has changed…)

  1. Jay Godse says:

    The French have a big problem. They need people to do the work, but don’t breed prolifically enough to provide their own. So they import immigrants, usually from former colonies. Those folks are usually of a different colour and/or religion, and as residents of former colonies, not well-respected by the French, and are often deemed worthy of indifference and contempt.

    They grudgingly allow the immigrants into the country, as long as they don’t cut into their prosperity or employment prospects. This is done by labour laws that make it difficult or impossible to fire anybody, thus favouring the incumbents already working. When it is hard to fire people, it is hard to hire anybody (because you can’t fire anybody easily if you made a hiring mistake), including the low-cost labour from the immigrants.

    That leaves the immigrants to work the unregulated low-cost, insecure sectors of the job market. With high living costs and few opportunities to advance, immigrants are frustrated. Faced with contempt and indifference from the indigenous French, they end up physically and educationally segregated from them, leading to more indifference and contempt. The only things left for the immigrants to do besides scratching out a meager living is to breed and riot.

    It’ sad.


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