No one at an ordinary McDonald's would even notice such a device. Ergo this was not an ordinary McDonald's, but one with security people looking for cameras. Why would a McDonald's have security people looking for cameras? Possibly because it was a mafia front. If you wanted to launder money, a fast food restaurant in a popular location would be a good place to do it.
The way the employees behaved is consistent with this explanation.
Edit: I should have said no more than that the excessive reaction of the security people suggests there may be something dubious happening at this McDonald's that they don't want filmed. But there are other less dramatic things they might be doing besides money laundering: using undocumented labor, for example.
Is this the real PG throwing around conspiracy theories? Wow.
I'm French and have been living in Paris my whole life. In France you're not allowed to take pictures or movies of people without their consent. If you try to take pictures of strangers in the subway you will be heckled and possibly assaulted, and the police will do nothing to stop it.
I'm not defending my country here -- I'm a photographer and resent this a lot, this attitude is stupid -- but this is how it is.
> No one at an ordinary McDonald's would even notice such a device.
Every fast food and most retail shops now have "private security" who are untrained/uneducated people standing at the door and watching people come and go. I would bet none of them speaks a word of English so it's unlikely the letter from a doctor in the US meant anything to them. They felt entitled to prevent the taking of pictures in the restaurant and felt they were being played with false official documentation.
(Go try and take pictures at any McDonald's in Paris or any other fast food joint and you'll be met with extreme hostility, and possibly physical aggression).
This privatization of security is a very big problem and a scandal in its own right (the rule of law means the state has a monopoly on legitimate violence) and I try hard to never comply with what those security people tell me, and tell them to call the police if they're unhappy -- the fact is that they have absolutely zero legitimate power but since nobody knows it, they have a lot of semblance of power.
But I would be very very surprised if McDonald's in France (on the Champs Élysées!) had restaurants that were a mafia front. Undocumented labor is a more likely possibility, but again, no restaurant or in fact no retail place in Paris will let you take pictures inside their premises without a very strong confrontation. Go ahead and try.
You make a convincing case. I didn't realize attitudes toward photography (and security in shops) were so different in France. I've taken quite a lot of pictures there, including inside shops and restaurants IIRC, but somehow I must never have tripped this rule.
How embarrassing to have produced an instance of the indignant and uninformed speculation that I so often groan to find at the top of HN comment threads.
Fun fact of the day: It is in violation of the law to publish a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night without permission, because the visual is under copyright.
A French court ruled in June 1990 that a special lighting display on the tower...was an "original visual creation" protected by copyright. The Court of Cassation, France's judicial court of last resort, upheld the ruling in March 1992. The Société d'exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE) now considers any illumination of the tower to be under copyright. As a result, it is no longer legal to publish contemporary photographs of the tower at night without permission in France and some other countries.
Different as compared to what? Google “right to bear camera” and you will find many documented cases of policepersons, people in charge, and passersby harassing photographers, in cases photographers that were not using their equipment. These take place in countries that are otherwise considered civilized, all over the world.
> In France you're not allowed to take pictures or movies of people without their consent.
"Droit à l'image" covers use, duplication and distribution of pictures of people, and only if said people can be identified on the picture. I don't know about any french law that forbids actually taking pictures of people in a public place. In a private area, there's Code Pénal, Art. 226-1, and even then, the law says that unless they explicitly disagree, their consent is assumed. Once the shot is taken, you don't have the right to publish the image without their explicit consent, and if no consent of publication is given, you can publish the image as long as people cannot be identified.
(FWIW one can take and publish pictures of goods to one's heart's content, provided it causes no harm)
> If you try to take pictures of strangers in the subway you will be heckled and possibly assaulted, and the police will do nothing to stop it.
There is no legitimate reason for a nearby police member not to try to stop someone physically assaulting someone else, whatever the reason of the assault may be. Their duty is to at least inquire into the situation.
> There is no legitimate reason for a nearby police member not to try to stop someone physically assaulting someone else
In France the photographer is considered the perpetrator. The police are more likely to help the people being photographed to not be photographed (if necessary, by taking the camera by force), than to protect the photographer. ("More likely" is an overstatement; the most likely behavior is that the police won't do anything either way).
> the most likely behavior is that the police won't do anything either way
Are you serious? So you say that in France, I can just beat up a random guy with a camera and claim that they tried to take a picture of me? And the police will just say "yeah, whatever, carry on. Need a stick?" Not very credible.
Also, if it were done in front of a policeman, he may do something (or not -- if he's in charge of monitoring traffic he won't do anything about an altercation between pedestrians) -- but in most places there isn't any policeman.
If you go to the police after the fact and say that someone hit you in the face because you were taking a picture of them, then I guarantee you will elicit zero sympathy and will be made to wait a looong time before anyone writes down your complaint (which will go nowhere anyhow).
But of course circumstances matter; if you shoot people in the street then even policemen monitoring traffic will intervene; if someone cuts your arm in half because you were carrying a camera then the police will help!!
No he is not. He evidently does not have a clue about how the police and law work here in France.
Actually, the only situation when police really don't do anything, is when you come to them with petty crimes/misdemeanors and are unable of right away identify, or provide something to easily identify the offender. I've rarely seen the police not acting when evidences of identity are provided. Like in this case. If they didn't react... it's probably because the victim wasn't European... so taking on this case would be complicated and probably end in nothing. Because most often, when the victims are strangers the case tend to end in the trash after a while. And policemen don't like the idea of doing work for nothing. But they should do it. And act more often than not.
Note : Actually the Police may be doing something, but he OP don't know it. Because what's true about French policemen, is that they're horrible at communicating.
That sounds more like what I'm used to seeing. I guess the parent was being a little hyperbolic, or simply hastily generalizing what may be true for professional photographers (i.e. conspicuously pointing large gear in the face of people without asking for their permission). Even so, you'll find millions of your typical subway candid shots taken in Paris on the internet. I don't suppose all of these shots resulted in the photographer being assaulted in front of a consenting crowd.
As a fellow Frenchman I can confirm everything bambax said!
Maybe one other explanation for this incident is the amount of hidden camera documentaries airing on national TV recently. I can imagine these security agent being briefed to avoid at all costs having another Super Size Me shot at their location.
In France, taking a picture of a stranger can be compared to entering his home, unannounced, and helping yourself with the content of his fridge.
The reaction can be mild "Hey, WTF??" to aggressive (being punched in the face).
In the US, if you go to the police saying "I entered this guy's home and took a Coke from his fridge, and next thing you know he punched me!! For a can of Coke!?! Can you believe that! Please arrest him!" the police will likely tell you "you're lucky you didn't get shot".
In France the photographer is considered the perpetrator. The police will not help him (and maybe worse if he insists...)
Also, "assault" is very different here than in the US; grabbing someone by the arm or pushing him around isn't considered assault (more like a disagreement).
That said, you can get very far with asking first: many people, if asked, won't mind being photographed (but you have to ask every person, and respect every decision, which would make the whole process pretty complex).
French student in law here. And you're so wrong it's painful to read. Police isn't acting, because damages are small, not a single ITT probably (ITT is the measure of personal damages in french law), little damage to a gadget, and the guy is not French, so the case will probably never go anywhere. That's probably why police didn't react. Not because he was considered the perpetrator... Actually the French law is totally permissive about taking photos. It's the publishing of those who may cause a problem... and even in that, the Cour de Cassation does not enforce it all the time, or with a regular severity. Maybe some persons don't like you taking photos of them. But you should not excuse them saying "it's cultural... we don't like it". No you're wrong, you don't like it, they don't like it, some people don't. Other don't give a fuck. And if you don't like it... it doesn't change a thing. It's totally legal to do it, so reacting like a douchebag is not only stupid but wrong. And actually, as described probably a felony.
And please the ... "Also, "assault" is very different here than in the US; grabbing someone by the arm or pushing him around isn't considered assault (more like a disagreement)." the description of what happened is not just "grabbing someone by the arm". But anyway you're wrong, because even in that situation, grabbing someone by the arm an pushing him around is quite exactly the main case of application of Article 222-13 of the Penal Code, under the condition n°8. And the Criminal Chamber of the Cour de Cass' has said millions of times that an actual physical assault is not needed to qualify assault (which in France is called 'violence volontaires'), but only a psychological one, or something that shocked emotionally someone is enough. So yeah... it's maximum 3 years and 45k€ in fine for each of the 3 perpetrators.
Oh, and by the way... if you think that punching a man in the face just because he entered your home without authorization and took a Coke is enough to justify legitimate defense your totally wrong. And you should go live in Florida with Mr. Zimmerman. No it's not. The legitimate defense of property (because the guy wasn't menacing you physically, just abusing your property require some details like : Asking the guy to drop the can and get the fuck out of your house before attacking him physically. And that the retaliation is proportionate. The punch, if soft, would pass this test. The gun certainly not, not for a Coke. And if you broke is nose and jaw, probably not.
Please everyone, do not take what anyone saying his french as an expert opinion on French society and French law (sadly, this also includes me).
Yeah, I know you're speaking of customs. But customs never should be used as an excuse for illegal behavior. Its like saying, yeah there was a lot of child abuse in the seventies, but it was the custom back then (I'm not comparing child abuse complacency and over-reaction to photography, I'm making a point about the structure of your argument).
And, plus, your lecture of the French customs is radically different from mine. I do not recognize myself and my compatriots in what your describing. Never saw someone react like your saying of photography. So maybe... you should remember that you're not Levi-Strauss, you just saying what you think about french... It's a commonplace your spreading like "French people are cocky and smell" or "Americans are stupid, you know that they don't believe in evolution". What you're describing is at most a fringe behavior. Neither you nor I are sufficiently aware of the inner complexity of French society (or American, of Papuan) to make so bold judgments. You say it's normal. I say it's not. Who's right ? I'm as French as you are, and no less expert than you (by no less I mean => Not at all). It's you say, I say. No solution for it.
Then you say that it's not about the letter of the law, but how it's enforced. Ahh, then we are coming to a matter that I know a little better than anthropology, see, because I actually had to deal with the police, I've spent time in prison (happily not as an inmate), I've studied law and you know... it's applications. Because, even if a lot of people think we keep our heads in the letter of the law, we actually spend a lot of time trying to understand what's actually the practice of it. And heck, I even had to go report some small felonies that against my very person, and not other people.* And what you're reporting as the "attitude" of the police, is pretty much what almost every layman think of them. Because most of the population despise the police, and think they're useless etc. etc. But you know what, It's not accurate. Yes there is some truth to it. Yes the police won't do all that the law ask them to do. Yes they do a lot of abuses (holy shit, a "PV d'arrestation" is some of the funnier readings you can find around, it's what I read when I need to take a break). And yes, you can come up with a lot of stories of people who had terrible experiences with them (but yeah you know what, no one who had good experiences with the police brags about it), and cases where the police did nothing about a serious case etc. etc. The French police tv series like PJ, Navarro, etc. are full of those. But, well, go to a tribunal, and look at the roll of cases you'll see that the second or third chief of accusation is "violences volontaires ayant entrainé une ITT de moins de 8 jours" (behind small drug related affairs and small theft). But you're right almost half the time it's not because of the 222-13 of the Penal Code. But under Art. R.625-1 of the same Code (section reglémentaire). It's a misdemeanor, fifth class. 3000€ of fine. It's not much... but you should not forget that the 21 special cases described in the 222-13 that transform the misdemeanor in a felony are really broad. And in the situation described, it is almost certain that the Special case n°8 is qualified (if more than one person participated in the assault, but there is a lot of special case so broad as : if the person was drunk or under effect of some drug, if the person acted upon premeditation, because of the race or sexuality, if the victim is an infirm, pregnant, old, under 15 etc). The Public Ministry knows how to make sure you can be arrested under the 222-13.
But, then anyway, even if you fall outside of the the 21 special cases, you can still have a financial penalty.
And by the way, even if ITT has the word Travail in it (work) it has nothing to do with your work capacity (yeah I know, it's an horrible name, legal people are trying to change it to Total Temporary Incapacity)(heck, how would we measure it for babies?). It measures how your day-to-day life was affected. If your disturbed in your normal routine (be it crying all the day for mommy to clean your mess if your a baby) for a week, then you have an ITT of 7 days. But if your emotionally distressed for a week... it's the same. Even if you can still go to work. Anyway, as I said, is a standard measure used by doctors to communicate with the Justice. Break a jaw, and you've got 15 days. A nose ? Between 6 and 20 days. Bruises ? 3 days. Difficulties to sleep after the fight because of stress and nightmare ? between 2 and 10 days (depending on you capacity to lie to the doctor). Got two of those ? Sum it.
So yeah in a bar fight where you only end up with some bruises, no one is going to the jail. Only a 1000€ fine, and 500€ in damages most of the time. But a fight of 2 picking up on somebody ? Felony. And it's what we have there.
But why are you talking about this ? I thought you were all about how the laws are enforced and not the letter. Well, and you know what, based on what I've seen (Créteil/Bobigny) (and it's maybe anecdotal), those kind of cases clutter up the Tribunal de Police. Seriously. And to a lesser extent, the Tribunal correctionnel. And in a lot of those cases of "small" assaults, there was some kind of non-violent provocation. Of course if you punch someone in the face and get punched back, the case is not going to a tribunal, but if you say : Fuck you to some one and get a big punch in the face, you should go to the tribunal, your probably winning easily, not much, but still, somewhere a policeman will hear you and send your case to the Public Ministry, who will be pissed off, with this, but at least make a Rappel a la Loi if it's a misdemeanor.
So in this case, where there wasn't even a provocation in my understanding (but for you, it seems that all French people get mad at people taking photos), there is no reason not to follow up and pursue those 3 guys at MacDonalds. And from my experience, had he been French or at least European, the police would have (maybe they are and we do not know) (Well... if the story is true... obviously).
I've actually met a person in jail who had punched someone in the face, after being called son of a bitch, but the victim fell with his head against a chair and passed out for several hours. The perpetrator was in recidivism situation so he ended up with 6 month in prison.
In plain English : Please stop saying what things ARE. And start saying what you feel/think things ARE. Principally when you're speaking as if you where an expert, and mainly conveying "conventional wisdom" which most of the time is not totally accurate, to be kind.
PS : You should read the annotated version of the law, you know the 'Code Penal' Red Book by Dalloz, not just legifrance. Because legifrance does not have the jurisprudence, and analysis of articles and interconnections in the law.
> And yes, you can come up with a lot of stories of people who had terrible experiences with them (but yeah you know what, no one who had good experiences with the police brags about it)
That is exactly the reason why I always make a point of "bragging" about having a positive experience with the police. Which has been about 2 or 3 times (fire, mugging, and a local robbery I happened to witness). Glad to have them. Even though afaik they never caught those responsible for the last two, it's how they dealt with the victims that makes it count.
> Can either of you explain why the French police does not get involved?
Steve Mann says it was a factor of luck: "I also contacted the Embassy, Consulate, Police, etc., without much luck".
But IMO it could also be that he didn't have a clue what he was doing. What was he expecting to accomplish with the embassy or the consulate??
You're not going to have much "luck" with an embassy unless you're being arrested or personally held at the police station.
And you're not going to have much "luck" with a consulate unless you need assistance with formal documents regarding international relations such as passports, visas or permits for international trade.
And the police. Correct me if I'm wrong but if I'd be in New York City, say in a posh area near Wall Street, and I get into a scene in a McDonalds where somebody physically assaults me. I go to the NY police and try to explain, either in French or in broken English with a very thick French accent, how much "luck" do you think I would have?
I would go to the police for one thing and one thing only, which is to file a report so I can make an insurance claim. Because that's the only person who speaks your language and gets paid for helping you and has a 24/7 worldwide hotline: your travel insurance agent! Not to mention they have a lot of experience with exactly these kinds of troubles.
Especially if it's about damage to his important medical aid, which surely the same anonymous doctor that wrote the letter that supposedly explains he requires it for medical reasons, told him he might want to consider insuring separately before travelling abroad.
The same exact thing happens in Italy and Spain that I know. I believe the breeding ground is similar.
Also the employee-client relationship is radically different to what people in the US, Canada or UK are used to. Generally people are polite, but in case of any sort of conflict employees are protected and the client is assumed to be wrong and told to fuck off. As opposed to "the client always being right". There must be a middle ground somewhere.
> the employee-client relationship is radically different to what people in the US, Canada or UK are used to
The closest to France I've ever come was reading "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French" ( http://www.amazon.com/Sixty-Million-Frenchmen-Cant-Wrong/dp/... ) and it made this point: in France, a store is considered an extension of the proprietor's home, and a customers is like a guest who has decided to drop in. He must first find the proprietor and introduce himself, and he must be on his best behavior.
...but it is entirely congruent with the point being made here.
Does this mean those places also ban people from using smartphones or normal cameras on the premises? There is no indications that Mann was actively taking pictures of strangers. And it would makes sense for a tourist to take pictures of his family at a restaurant. How are tourists normally treated when they try to take pictures of their vacation?
As I said above, you can take pictures of monuments, outdoors, and of people you know, indoors, where it makes sense (a restaurant, people at your table).
But if you try to take pictures of strangers -- anywhere -- you will generate a very aggressive reaction.
These rules are not written down so they're hard for strangers to understand; it's very possible for a tourist to feel photography is totally "free" in France when visiting tourist locations, and then find herself in the middle of a fight because she took her camera out of her bag at the wrong time in the wrong place (never in the subway for example!)
The funny thing with these kinds of "rules" / customs is that you internalize them; I can't even imagine myself taking pictures in the subway...
I was in France recently (Paris) and I took pictures all over the place with a very visible film camera - including on the train.
Of course I didn't go shooting strangers directly in their face. I think I'd you do that most anywhere people will get upset because what business do you have taking a close-up picture of a stranger without their permission? That's an intrusion just about anywhere.
At least in Paris, I found the city to be crowded with tourist snapping photos of everything. I didn't see anybody giving the slightest care. I had always imagined France to be a photo-friendly place considering the reverence for film and art and being the birthplace of photography. Perhaps I didn't see enough but, at least, it's hard for me to imagine people getting violent over photographs just based on my personal experience. Because with the amount of tourist taking pictures there would be blood running on the streets.
I'm a US person, and on a recent trip in the US South took photos inside a (public) bathroom on more than one occasion, when I saw something entertaining. Not photos of people, of course, but there were other people in the bathroom on both occasions, and no one seemed shocked or worried.
I'm confused about how this aversion to cameras can possibly hold when nearly everyone is carrying one or more cameras at all times. Does everyone in Europe avoid using their smartphone except in the privacy of their own home? As cameras shrink and are built into pretty much everything, is this culture changing, or are products simply going to be built without cameras for the European market?
If you actually read the post, you would see that the device would normally purge its buffer after it finished augmenting / vision processing those frames. Only because it was forcefully shut off was the data retained.
That's an exaggeration. I'm Belgian and recently went to France and took pictures of us enjoying our dishes. I didn't notice the personnel having an issue with that. So it is not a general rule.
But the spirit of bambax' and others' messages is true: in Europe, customer is not king and should behave in a way that pleases the shopkeepers or restaurant owners. This is more true the closer you are to the capital or the city's hot spot.
And more generally, one has to develop a sense of what is right in a particular place, not assuming that the same customs apply as in your home country. Americans don't have a good record at that, I'm afraid. As someone pointed out, you're bound to inadvertently offend people, but rushing into a place with a camera is a good way to start learning from your mistakes.
That being said, the violence displayed by this particular personnel is completely over the top and should not be tolerated, not by customers and not by law.
Depends, as always, on where you go; we avoid Paris like the plague (for assorted reasons, rudeness of owners is one of them), but in villages and small cities (south of france, belgium, netherlands, germany) I feel very much like a king. Especially if you speak the language.
>They felt entitled to prevent the taking of pictures in the restaurant and felt they were being played with false official documentation.
I naturally assumed that if Mann was going to offer the documentation to defend his wearing of the special glasses, to someone in France, then he would have been prepared with a notarized official French translation (heck, he's from Canada...).
If he seriously tried to give English-only documentation -- and that was really his plan to convince people in France that his glasses were legit -- that seriously changes my opinion of the events.
But as far as the translation goes, you can get forms for the country you're going to. That's how it was for Turkey, anyway. I don't know about France.
The form is multi-lingual (English/French/Turkish, in my case). The doctor fills in the forms and as long as he pays attention to the proper medical Latin words (and stamps it!) it should be fine. At least for border officials.
Still, from the lack of details in the blog post--he only refers to it as "a letter from my doctor"--whereas he painstakingly mentions every irrelevant detail in the story, I'm guessing that letter wasn't very complete, official, or even partially translated.
And while you are right that he shouldn't have needed it, trying to calm down an angry and aggressive French person by showing them a letter written in English is not very likely to improve the situation, and is indeed likely to get torn up in the process.
Which may not be right, but it's also not very smart.
Without further information I find this very hard to believe.
Laundering money through a fast food restaurant with a supply chain outside your control is a terrible idea. Franchises are required to purchase food centrally.
Q How much cash are you banking this week?
A 1,000,000 EUR
Q So you have sold 500,000 Big Macs.
Q Can I see your invoices for 500,000 buns please?
The profit margin is not high enough for it to be worth ordering extra stock and throwing it out. The business would effectively be paying about 70% tax. That's not digestable, even to launder cash.
More plausible reasons: Running a McDonalds franchise and significantly and systematically under-reporting revenue using unauthorised suppliers. But to involve low-level staff would seem unlikely.
This isn't exactly covert surveillance. Some bored member of staff just didn't like the look of this American weirdo with a video camera for an eye, a piece of paper that he waves around and an attitude that he is entitled to buffer everything he sees anywhere in the world and then publicly blame an entire multinational for a minor, local incident. (Not my perception, but I think it likely that it was theirs.)
Whether it's money laundering or underreporting revenues, the implication is that something is awry at this McDonalds. The author is probably doing McDonald's Corp. a service by contacting them. They should address it, immediately.
Laundering is more often 15 percent. It might go up or down based on the local market, but ex-USA has the highest price I've heard of. Once the money was in France, I'd predict more like 5-10 percent, since the hardest step (initial; moving bulk cash out in the USA thanks to effective AML controls these days) is a lot easier in Europe (fly, boat to North Africa, or drive over relative open or at least "friendly" land borders in the East and Southeast.)
Usually for businesses you use nail salons, tanning, etc which have high labor and service components to price, vs. materials.
Actually, there was a well known Mcdonald's franchisee who had stores in the dozens who was later found out to have laundered millions through it. I don't have the case handy, but he was in what is generally known as the American South. It's hard to say what Mcdonald's region he was in, because they mix up their regions about every couple of years, and he ran stores in multiple states.
So if we swap around a few of the particulars -- say, make the guy with the camera black, relocate the scene to the deep South, and then make the three perpetrators good old boys -- a fairly plausible hypothesis would rush to mind, even if it is outside the experience of the typical white American at the typical McDonalds. Mafia fronts certainly exist in the world, but they are probably greatly outnumbered by petty people who, given authority over someone they dislike (+), would abuse it if it were consequence-free.
+ It isn't even necessary to assume that the language barrier or anti-Americanism had anything to do with it. I mean, even in the deep South, a good old boy might try to rip a prosthesis off a black guy's head just because he doesn't like "weird Treky shit."
You could also get a plausible explanation if you make the three employees drug-addled miscreants and the man with the glasses a vulnerable woman carrying and displaying large amounts of cash and the setting a back alley in Dubai.
This story is strange precisely because it is not a scenario where an explanation springs to mind. People are known to be petty and cruel to the point of assault, but people who are employees of a company like McDonald's in a city like Paris are not.
I've experienced aggressive behaviour from a lot of white Australians. Should I make a judgement of the entire population based on those anecdotal experiences?
Aggression is everywhere, it has very little to do with your cultural heritage unless you're a bloody Spartan.
If you want don't want to be quiet about your racial prejudices, go find a forum for it. There should be plenty of mindless goons out there willing to discuss it with you. Try the youtube comments section.
Lots of British people consider themselves British first, European second. Or Welsh people consider themselves Welsh first, British second. People from Catalonia, may not consider themselves Spanish. Someone born in Ireland to Irish parents, but lived all their life in England might consider themselves Irish, not English.
Europe. It's a melting pot, always has been. There are lots of flexible definitions of nationality.
Its not useful to include the British to imbue some meaning to the conversation.
I single out British because although they claim to a governance described as unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy they have some of the most decidedly backward understandings on race (esp race-based-class), ethnic origins (Highlanders vs rest), religious denominations (Protestant-Catholic strife) & the concept of nationhood in all of the western world.
For such a modern society their outlook on these matters is striking and confused.
For a nation that made its business to civilize more than half the world at one time, she shows some forbiddingly contradicting understandings on these matters.
> their outlook on these matters is striking and confused
Specifically are you referring to the outlook of politicians, the media, or some other entity? I know you started with 'the British' but surely you're not making sweeping generalisations about the 60 million people who live in the UK. That would be a wee bit racist don't you think?
huh. I thought that France didn't have birthright citizenship like the US has. I thought they had a system more like what some of the more radical right wing parties in the US want, where your parent's status has something to do with it, you know, to prevent 'anchor babies.' Hm. According to the wikipedia, it's complicated, and I strongly suspect I'm missing some things. It looks to me like they have a 'right of blood' system until you reach the age of majority, then something a little more like a 'right of soil' system after that. I don't know about everyone, but I started working rather before I reached the age of majority. I mean, I wouldn't have starved, but my education would have been severely dampened if i was not able to get legal work until I was 18.
>It's quite simple actually : you're french if you're born on french soil or if one of your parents was french.
according to the wikipedia (which, of course, is not always correct) that is not an or but an and (at least, until the age of majority.) Even assuming that the wikipedia is correct in this case, there is a big difference between automatically gaining citizenship on your 18th birthday, and having a 'path to citizenship' and I have no idea where France is on that continuum.
Well, it has changed a lot, but you've got it. The Code civil articles 19 to 19-4 states that you are not French by birthright. If you were born in France, you become French at the age of 18 (automatically, no question asked) if you have lived at least 5 years (no need to continuity) in France since you're 11 (21-7 Code civil). And you can renounce to your french nationality in the 12 months after the automatic acquisition (until your 19 or the moment at which you join the military). For now, there is some shit about "path to citizenship" in the French law... but it's for adults asking the French nationality.
But, you can ask for the French nationality before, as early as the age of 13, if you lived there the 5 preceding years.
The difference is the automaticity, at 18 it's automatic, before that it's on request.
And under 18, everyone has more or less the same rights, not withstanding the nationality.
In America, many of what I would call the far right are advocating a similar system whereby you aren't granted citizenship at birth if your parents are not citizens, but gain it later on in order to fight "anchor babies" - the idea being that right now, if you are "undocumented" and you have a kid on US soil, the kid is an American right away, and sure, if you are a citizen, your mom can stay and take care of you, and as part of that, your mom gains a reasonable path to citizenship. (US immigration policy seems to be centred around uniting families.)
My reading of the French law makes it look like it would solve this "problem" as the kid isn't french, so you can deport the kid and their parents. Out of curiosity, am I reading that right? that if two undocumented immigrants have a kid and the authorities deport the newborn and the parents and manage keep them out of the country until the kid is 18, the kid is not french at all, even though she was born on french soil?
You are actually right, the European take on immigration is awfully right winged when compared to American... It's due to the way these nations built themselves. US is a country of immigration, it literally constructed itself upon it. While Europe is a place of emigration, immigrants always were looked upon as strangers lurking around. But France also being a latin country, kept something of the Right of the Soil, mixed with the Right of the Blood from northern and eastern European people.
So it's quite bastard... problematic.
Your reading is quite unfortunately not totally correct. A child born or not in France is in theory undeportable, even if their parents are from Mars or undocumented (which seems to be the same to some people...). Actually, under 18 it's impossible to be undocumented... because there is no document to authorize a child to live in France, they all have naturally this right. No visa, nothing.
EXCEPT (there always a fucking horrible exception), if you came into France without requesting a Visa (that is not needed... but you must request it... go figure...) and entered France coming from another state of the European Union (thanks EU for your horrible immigration law). Then the kid can be sent back to the EU country he came from... which is free to deport the kid if the law of this country allow it. (Well except if he came into France without parents... then he is not deportable again).
But then the worse is to come. If the parents are undocumenteds... well, their kid is not deportable... but they are. It's been a long time France dealt with the "anchor babies"... and in the most hypocrite way. So the parents have a choice : Go with their children, or abandon their children... I kid you not. And I let you imagine what most of parents end up deciding... And no, the answer is not what most fox news talk show hosts would think, since they think that these parents only have those children to have documents.
It's sad... but we have problems with the far right since much longer than you... the damage they've done to our law is staggering.
So the final answer is yes. A kid of undocumenteds born in France, can be deported (""""at his parents choice""""), and then he will not be able to respect the 5 years requirements, and not be French at all.
I hope the actual administration is going to change something about that... but well.. I know the won't.
> the more people wonder whether French of Moroccan
> extraction really are French or Moroccan, the less
> French they are
I'm not saying that it's right to try and exclude them. It's just as stupid as the people in American that want to shutdown immigration to 'dirty foreigners' (forgetting that their ancestors were 'dirty foreigners'). Someone that was originally from Morocco shouldn't be consider 'less French' than someone whose ancestors have been in France for generations, but you can't force this to happen by pretending that people have no past (i.e. country of origin).
Maybe the term 'French-Moroccan' has bad cultural connotations in France that you're trying to get rid of by burying the term, but the term itself, or the facts surrounding it are not inherently bad. If someone is "Chinese-American" or "Japanese-Canadian" or "Mexican-American", the term doesn't make them any less American/Canadian.
> Regarding the riots, that's also not relevant to the
> discussion but because you ask, those riots where the
> results of 40 years of bad policies, social rejection
> and latent racism.
I only bring up the riots with respect to where I got the information that Paris has a large French-Moroccan population.
The "country of origin" is very debatable. I consider myself Uruguayan because I was born here, but my great-grandparents were German. However, someone in Tuscany was asked, and he said "my family has only been here for four centuries". Should someone like Zidane be considered French, or "French of Algerian extraction"?
By the tuscanian's perspective, there are no Americans, only "American of Irish extraction" and so on, while over here we all consider ourselves Uruguayans.
Something you don't understand is that those terms ("Chinese-American") are an US cultural thing.
Many of my fellow countrymen (I'm from Uruguay) are extremely shocked when they go to the U.S. ... we've learned about at most 3 races, and you people have 16 !!! One of my teachers likes an anecdote where, when filling a form at San Diego University, he had to ask the clerk what "race" he was - the clerk decided he was "Hispanic", and then there was a sub-category "White Hispanic" or "Black Hispanic". However, he's descendant from Spaniards and probably the exact same racial composition as racists from California that despise "hispanics" (there was a genocide here in Uruguay and we don't have native blood, we're all descendants of spaniards, italians and other european countries, plus some descendants of slaves).
> It's just as stupid as the people in American that
> want to shutdown immigration to 'dirty foreigners'
> (forgetting that their ancestors were 'dirty foreigners').
That is a gross mis-characterization of the American attitude on immigration. Americans don't want to "shut down" immigration. We Americans take pride in our diversity of heritage and our openess to those who want to come to our country and be an American. Our objection is to people who come here illegaly. We object to those who come here and thumb their nose at the law, draw benefits from our government (and therefore depriving legal citizens of those benefits) and overwhelm our system.
The reason I or anyone else would have, to bring up their ancestry is because of the apparent disconnect between the essential Frenchness one expects and the consistently abrasive conduct of some of these implanted peoples.
Take Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad for example:
Isolated incident? Perhaps. Not part of a larger trend? Maybe.
After all the cake and watermelon, we know that it doesn't add up.
We all want to pretend that it ain't what it really is.
Just like we find ourselves aghast at Marine Le Pen picking up enough seats to front the third largest party in all of France in well under a decade.
For insults, please refer to the other comment at the same level (which I upvoted and support).
I'll go even further and state that people like you are responsible for the situation. I live abroad and can tell you that latent racism kills all the respect I could otherwise have for Thai people. I'm not silly so I'll move back to France in the coming months (as a direct result of the above). Unfortunately for them, French of foreign extraction don't have the opportunity I have. I'd forgive them if they burnt the bulk of Paris: they are human beings and are being bullied by a society as a whole.
I'd take it to mean the size of one's vocabulary in practice, not just the words s/he knows. There's obviously still no necessary implication that a swearer's vocab usage is worse than that of a non-swearer.
Strict logic aside, though, I've anecdotally observed that folks who swear publicly among people they don't know tend to swear easily and often, and given the inherent flexibility of most swear words, I think it's fair to say increased usage usually takes a toll on eloquence and creativity in diction. The relationship isn't necessary, but it's intuitive and observably common.
Interesting ideas, but I'm not convinced by your last point.
Amongst the people I know who swear with reasonable frequency, I don't see any correlation with lack of eloquence. Indeed, I can think without trying very hard think of published authors, professional screenwriters and famous Shakespearean actors who would fit into the "uses profanity reasonably casually" description.
Whatever "Essential Frenchness" is, it most certainly is not centered around the milieu of the "beur".
We agree that visitors don't come to France to be greeted by the likes of Galliano but they don't come looking for the likes of Salafists like Mohammed Merah either.
Get your act together before its too late.
You can only sweep these things under the rug for so long.
Spent 2 weeks in France. The first week was spent partaking in the various options of French cuisine. With that first week being torturous, the second week was spent eating at McDonalds. At least the McD's there sells beer. :)
What I find elusive is this polite society's fevered need to stomp down any finger-pointing in the direction of certain sections of society.
If one were to take a look at their irrational phobia of discussion concerning these sensitive topics it would appear that this brand of furiousness at the very mention of something disagreeable is nothing but an outward veneer to fend off further pointed & valid accusations. It's weak weaponry. It shows you're on tenuous ground. It almost always indicates that you're defending the indefensible. That you're arguments are at best propped up by popular sentiments and not by objective observations. That anything found objectionable by the educated segments of a society is necessarily odious despite the facts.
'Valid accusations'? You gave an example of one person being obnoxious and used it to condemn all others of the same origin. It is profoundly unscientific and illogical to build an argument the way you have.
Essentially you are admitting that you are racist and tired of being dismissed as such. You mention that our points are baseless and ignore tangible facts (which you have by the way failed to provide) and I'd like to bring to your attention that this is basically what racists are commonly accused of.
I would like you to understand that when in doubt and facing two choices one should always prefer what favours human beings over any sort of ideology or other minor consideration; no matter the price (I mean it this way).
But I find your way of reversing things funny and will dismiss you as being a troll and wish you good luck on your road. It's certainly a difficult one.