Les idées à l'épreuve des faits : chronique sans préjugé d'un catholique français à l'heure du mondialisme et de la colonisation de notre pays.
18 Avril 2010, 08:20am
Publié par Simon Duplessis
Eric Zemmour dans le new-york times, Darth vador et Goldorak bientôt réunis au panthéon :
ÉRIC ZEMMOUR, slight, dark, a live wire, fell over his own words, they were tumbling out so fast. He was fidgeting at the back of a half-empty cafe one recent evening near the offices of Le
Figaro, the newspaper where he works, notwithstanding that detractors have lately tried to get him fired for his most recent inflammatory remarks about French blacks and Arabs on a television
show. Mr. Zemmour, roughly speaking, is the Bill O’Reilly of French letters. He was describing his latest book, “French Melancholy,”
which has shot up the best-seller list here.
“The end of French political power has brought the end of French,” Mr. Zemmour said. “Now even the French elite have given up. They don’t care anymore. They all speak English. And the working
class, I’m not talking just about immigrants, they don’t care about preserving the integrity of the language either.”
Mr. Zemmour is a notorious rabble-rouser. In his view France, because of immigration and other outside influences, has lost touch with its heroic ancient Roman roots, its national “gloire,” its
historic culture, at the heart of which is the French language. Plenty of people think he’s an extremist, but he’s not alone. The other day Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, sounded a bit like Mr. Zemmour, complaining
about the “snobisme” of French diplomats who “are happy to speak English,” rather than French, which is “under siege.”
“Defending our language, defending the values it represents — that is a battle for cultural diversity in the world,” Mr. Sarkozy argued. The occasion for his speech was the 40th anniversary of
the International Organization of the Francophonie, which celebrates French around the world. Mr. Sarkozy said the problem
is not English itself but “ready-to-wear culture, uniformity, monolingualism,” by which of course he meant English. The larger argument about a decline of traditional values has struck a chord
with conservative French voters perennially worried about the loss of French mojo.
The issue is somewhat akin to Americans complaining about the rise of Spanish in classrooms and elsewhere, but more acute here because of France’s special, proprietary, albeit no longer entirely
realistic relationship to French. French is now spoken mostly by people who aren’t French. More than 50 percent of them are African. French speakers are more likely to be Haitians and Canadians,
Algerians and Senegalese, immigrants from Africa and Southeast Asia and the Caribbean who have settled in France, bringing their native cultures with them.
Which raises the question: So what does French culture signify these days when there are some 200 million French speakers in the world but only 65 million are actually French? Culture in general
— and not just French culture — has become increasingly unfixed, unstable, fragmentary and elective. Globalization has hastened the desire of more people, both groups and individuals, to
differentiate themselves from one another to claim a distinct place in the world, and language has long been an obvious means to do so. In Canada the Quebecers tried outlawing signs and other
public expressions in anything but French. Basque separatists have been murdering Spaniards in the name of political, linguistic and cultural independence, just as Franco imprisoned anyone who
spoke Basque or Catalan. In Belgium the split between French and Dutch speakers has divided the country for ages.
And in France some years ago Jacques Toubon, a former culture minister, proposed curbing the use of English words like “weekend,” although nobody paid much attention. The fact is, French isn’t
declining. It’s thriving as never before if you ask Abdou Diouf, former president of Senegal, who is the secretary general of the francophone organization. Mr. Diouf’s organization has evolved
since 1970 from a postcolonial conglomerate of mostly African states preserving the linguistic vestiges of French imperialism into a global entity whose shibboleth is cultural diversity. With
dozens of member states and affiliates, the group reflects a polyglot reality in which French is today concentrated outside France, and to a large extent, flourishes despite it.
“The truth,” Mr. Diouf said the other morning, “is that the future of the French language is now in Africa.” There and elsewhere, from Belgium to Benin, Lebanon to St. Lucia, the Seychelles to
Switzerland, Togo to Tunisia, French is just one among several languages, sometimes, as in Cameroon, one among hundreds of them. This means that for writers from these places French is a choice,
not necessarily signifying fealty, political, cultural or otherwise, to France. Or as Mr. Diouf put it: “The more we have financial, military and economic globalization, the more we find common
cultural references and common values, which include diversity. And diversity, not uniformity, is the real result of globalization.”
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