Anger that France Again is Flirting with the Extreme Right Marine Le Pen

France and the Elections

This will be a short but bitter rant. As a Canadian residing between Paris, France and Canada, I have always been puzzled by what the French often dabble in Politically. After being brutally occupied by the Nazi regime for over four years from 1940 till 1944, one might think that the last things they would consider would be to vote for what for all intent and purpose is another NAZI regime dressed up in sheep clothing.

Well, I am afraid not. A very high percentage of the French populous are again considering voting extreme right in the next up and coming presidential elections. Our dubious extreme right wing friend, Marine Le Pen again is showing her true colors after attending the extreme right wing, white supremest anti-Semitic Austrian politicians FPÖ Ball in Vienna Austria, where she was applauded uproariously by those attending.

If an election was held today, Marine Le Pen would come in third or perhaps second after Hollande the Socialist candidate. That again shines a very bad light on the French psyche at large and is a major disappointment to this Canadian residing in France. I am sure that those on the extreme right of the fence might be thinking, “…If you don’t like it, go back to Canada…” Well as time passes, I am seriously considering the possibility. I can now understand why over the last  few  years over 50,000 French Nationals immigrated to Canada and in the same time frame little more  than 1000 Canadians immigrated to France. Hmmm, that does speak loudly indeed. It is reminiscent of the huge influx of immigrants flooding in to the USA, Canada and other less hostile countries prior to and during the Nazi regimes reign of terror.

I am afraid the writing may already be on the Wall… Am I Disappointed? No… I am ANGRY!

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About Benjamin Kanarek
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Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…
  • Alexander Polonsky

    That’s just the difference between “old world” and “new world” countries. But no place is perfect – new world has got its own issues too. 

  • vincent

    Benjamin, you are here, you stay. 

    And you’re right to be angry, and you should be. What you are describing is dramatic and makes me extremely sad as a French.Marine represents part of France, and that France exists. Rather than ignoring this France, let’s face it, talk with it.

    I was on the Promenade des Anglais in 2002 when I heard Le Pen father scored 2nd. I was shocked and looked around me. I was right in the middle of one of the region which gave him the most votes.

    But I remembered how my country was built, from top to bottom, east and west.
    I remembered how, walking on the streets of Saint Petersburg I noticed the French influence, and when watching an advertisement for a French company, the music was composed by a man named Chopin, an immigrant, that the nuclear electricity I was using was very largely discovered by another polish woman, Marie Curie.

    I then left the Nobel prizes and the music and went underground, I entered the metro, largely built and maintained by immigrants, or people from former colonies. And I am grateful.
    Those people built my country as it is as well. I am proud of what they gave to my country.
    On my way to the airport I remembered my primary school, with kids from all colors, with italians, algerians, gypsies, and how much I LOVED the end of the ramadan. I think about Lara my iranian friend and her pictures in palaces made in the name of god, which would make our cathedrals look like a vulgar piece of stone.

    And I am flying to London, going to meet my girlfriend, Russian, and her son who goes to an international school, in which kids learn about different cults, different ways, and don’t seem to care much about colors.

    I remember what was written on MY school in France : Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.
    I love those words and how they can be interpreted in many ways, opening long debates.

    However, I know something. I know that societies which are closed, reject, are meant to become more and more insignificant.France, this very very small country, among all nations in the world has built its image and prestige not because it was a closed and xenophobic nation.It grew when it inspired every boy and girl around the world who would dream to, one day, live and work in Paris, or Provence, or elsewhere.Benjamin, it is people like you and many, many, many others who are making my country what it is.I repeat : you are here, you stay, and show Marine and anybody that this country that it can still attract the best talents in the world and be a land of hope for any political dissident in the world fighting for democracy, that it is a civilisation to envy, and a very desirable place to be.

    This is my country : it is a desirable place to be, and Marine makes a lot of noise, too much noise, but that’s about it.We WILL keep the best foreign students from around the world despite M. Gueant far right flirts, because our nation needs them for growth in a very competitive world for talents, we WILL reunite our nation as it has to be to be peaceful and strong, despite M. Sarkozy’s attempts to oppose one France against another.My country is open, generous, and welcomes the best talents from around the world as much as it needs and needed for its growth a gigantic amount of “little hands” from anywhere to rebuild the country after WWII and earlier.

    The sons and grandsons of these “little hands” are now French, and will be integrated in our society just like the Italians 100 years ago, just like the Spanish after Franco, the Russians after the Soviets, and all the people who helped my country become what it is : a great country.

    Thanks to you, thanks to me, thanks to us.

  • It looks like all of the FN supporters have decided to back Marine Le pen and comment on your post Ben… Lol!!!!

  • Pat C

    The French are fed up with people coming to their country and demanding that French society be changed to accomodate them.  “It is my right to come to your country, because conditions in my own country are so bad,” say newcomers.  “Once I am in your country, it is my right to conduct myself as I did in my old country, and to complain because there is no work, and because housing and government handouts are not sufficient.” 

    Claude Gueant caught flack the other day for saying not all societies are equal.  Well, he was right.  People vote with their feet, and great many flee their dysfunctional countries for a better life in France.  But the French see a steady slide into the very conditions the immmigrants claim to be fleeing. 

    If you want to leave France, fine, but let’s be realistic.  The problem with France is, as with many other countries, the tension between a system that tries to provides for some basic level of welfare for all and the demands placed on that system by people who flock to it from places worse off.  If the French react negatively to that, it’s not because they are neo-Nazi but because they see their system, their way of life, rapidly breaking down. 

    And by the way, the reason capable and ambitious French people leave for Canada and the U.S. is for the economic opportunity their own country does not afford them. 

    • Pat C I am just quoting you here:

      “And by the way, the reason capable and ambitious French people leave for Canada and the U.S. is for the economic opportunity their own country does not afford them.”

      That is why people come to France as well!  The difference is that after 5 years in Canada, you are not made to feel like an “etranger” but a truly integrated citizen.

      Canada allows people with ambition to succeed..

      Listen closely Pat C…You Sir are just one very Savvy & Slick FN Minion! No more No less! But YOU don’t Fool Me!

      • Pat C

        When you cool down, try reading for content.

        • I don’t need to “try reading for content”. Being that my mother tongue is English, I can read and understand exactly your meaning. So lets just agree to disagree, for now that is…

  • David M.

    Getting angry rather than trying to genuinely understand the reasons making people turn to FN is what causes the problem. A bilinguist Canadian working in wealthy circles can afford to sneer and look down on other people with contempt. A 98 years-old grandmother evicted from the Parisian apartment she lived in for three decades to make room for more HLMs, a young mechanic who has to take charge of his invalid mother and keeps seeing other people jump in front of him for job opportunities because they have the right color, these people might feel differently.

    What is the right color, you ask? Everything but white. It’s that simple.

    Sure, again, if you stick in fancy and restricted Paris circles, there it’s all you can see (and it’s just as disgusting, in my opinion). For the rest of us, living in the real France, being born white and french is something we are consistently culpabilized for. From the wealthy media or bloggers who can afford to build walls between them and the reality of the street ; from “immigrants” who often have been living in the country as long as anyone but enjoy playing the victim card to grab money or easy jobs.

    As for having any sort of pride in France, you may as well put your head on a pike. Liking your country is equaled to being a fascist, a racist, a nazi, a baby-eater, Satan’s spawn… No, oops, scratch that last one, being Christian is just as bad. You still get to be Muslim, though. Religions that force women into slavery and bomb you if you disagree with them are a lot harder to diss for our population of misogynistic and cowardly intellectuals.

    So we live in a country without values, where the well-connected and the criminals win, where the majority of people who just mind their business and try to make a living are consistently sat on and shat on ; and then you wonder, with your little pinky raised in the air, why oh why do people turn to extremism?

    Although I have no doubt some will try to paint my reply as just that, I in no way advocate voting for Marine Le Pen. The point is, people need to open their eyes and realise why is this even happening. This climate of freedom of speech and thought being more and more impeded, of constant denigration, a climate that you are helping propagate Mr Kanarek, with your oh-so-subtle reference to nazis, creates weaknesses in French people the Front National can exploit. If you rob away any sense of being part of a bigger thing, a clever demagogue has his work cut out for him. Jean-Marie Le Pen understood that. His daughter understands that. The French intellectual “elite” didn’t understand that and still doesn’t.

    In 2002, Le Pen did 17.79% and Chirac 82.21%. For people who have a hard time with statistics, that’s less than 1 out of 5 and more than 4 out of 5, respectively. Any other country would have said this is a reassuring victory over racism. French intellectuals claim this shows French people are hopelessly racist. That’s the kind of “rational thinking” you only get to see in France. Cocorico!

    • My point (“with your oh-so-subtle reference to nazis”) is not subtle at all SIR! I am the child of Holocaust Victimes that lost an entire family, heritage and birthright.  So before YOU jump to glaringly hostile conclusions, I suggest you reflect on what you have written down for all to read and for posterity. I am sharing my opinion from a perspective of one that has been brought up in an environment of embracing new cultures than one that just tolerates them.

      I had never witnessed Flagrant Racism until I came to France and that SIR is what I personally observed on more occasions than I wish to ponder.  To say I am helping in propagating racism is so predictable and the typical tact taken by opponents when pressed with this issue.  That SIR IS Repugnant and the only reason I don’t throw you off of my forum, is so that I can remember this episode!

      Oh…and I did notice that you are hiding behind an anonymous pseudonym David M! Who is “David M.?” How courageous!

    • Charlie M

      This is so amazingly stupid.

      First, you cannot speak for “the rest of us” because I’m as French as much as you and probably even more – yes, the name of my family is written under the Arc de Triomphe, with generations of ancestors who gave their blood for this country. It would be probably be difficult to be more white than me, and I live a middle class life away from Paris. However I do not share any of your ideas, so there is no “rest of us”.

      Second, I see it quite normal to help my fellow humans. Marine Le Pen is stupid, useless and shameless, and the people who vote for her have no political ideas, and no intelligence whatsoever, people who can only make poor generalizations such as “playing the victim card to grab money”. I am not a stupid leftist either, and I think the way Sarkozy dealt with the economy was not the best, however if I will certainly not vote for François Hollande, I will either certainly not vote for your champion, because she would make the country run backwards. My only choice left is Sarkozy, altough Villeping could have been a choice if he had any chance of success. But I would rather vote for Mélenchon than for your idiotic, poujadist Le Pen. So much for the “rest of us”.

  • The last time I checked, Stephen Harper was prime minister of Canada. A neoconservative who is against the Kyoto Protocol and who has, on many issues, political positions not so far from those of Le Pen.

    So before to say that a country who will very likely elect a very moderate leftist (Hollande) as head of state is becoming nazi, maybe you should look toward Ottawa…

    • I find it more than difficult to imagine comparing Mr. Harper to Marine Le Pen! That is a stretch in my humble opinion.

  • Jkundra

    Those who haven’t learned from history are doomed to repeat it.  Add the fringe minority that secretly believes that Hitler really did have some rather appealing ideas and you get a partial explanation for the uptick in the National Front’s popularity.

    But don’t go back to Canada: we need the presence of good people to help balance the leaden weight of the imbeciles – not all of whom are necessarily part of the FN.

    Hang in there and let’s hope for the best…!