Sunday, November 20, 2005

That's It...No More French Bread For Me!!!!!!!

The Language Behind the RiotsFrench Language Blog
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November 09, 2005
The Language Behind the RiotsOn 27 October, the deaths of two African teenagers sparked off riots in poor northeastern suburbs of Paris. As of today, the riots have spread to more than 300 French cities and urban unrest is growing in other European countries. While the deaths of the youths were the catalyst to the violence, other factors are involved, including the language used by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy to describe his plans to fight crime.Vous en avez assez de cette bande de racaille ? Eh bien, on va vous en débarrasser.These words were spoken by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy during a visit to Argenteuil on 25 October. English-language newspapers have translated this as "You've had enough of this band of scum? Well, we're going to get rid of them for you," which doesn't quite do justice to the word racaille. Sub-human, evil, worthless, and dregs of society would be closer to the mark.In recent months, Sarkozy has also referred to hoodlums as "gangrene," and has talked about the need to nettoyer au Kärcher (or Kärchériser) certain cities. The English translation of this in the news, "to clean," is wholly inadequate. A Kärcher is a brand of power washer, and thus Sarkozy's suggestion of "power washing" to get rid of certain populations smacks of ethnic cleansing. Small wonder that these remarks helped to inflame underprivileged French youths already dealing with racism on a daily basis.Questions or comments?More info: Les ainés des quartiers - Discussion between a reporter and two neighborhood elders in Clichy-sous-Bois who are trying to calm down the situation.«Il faut que Sarkozy s'excuse ou démissionne» - LibérationFrance for Visitors Race Relations Islam


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