vendredi 7 novembre 2014

Le French bashing

Bashing means harsh violent attack. This attack can be physical or verbal abuse. Physical as in assualt; gay-bashing and verbal as in insults and critics; French bashing.

When bashing is verbal, it used as a suffix. The noun that comes before it indicates the subject being attacked. Example : French Bashing [French = Noun=Subject]

Wikipedia refers to French bashing as anti-French sentiment, which was then described as the manifestation of Francophobia by Americans.

But not only the Americans bash the French. The English do too. Some French people believe that all anglophones bash them because they are jealous of them. The anglophone media should be blamed for this belief with the kind of titles they give when they talk about France.

Le French bashing for me is verbal or critical assault against the French people by Francophobes.
Francophobes = bashers
French people = victims
Photo credit : “French bashing” or “French” bashing
Some say hating the French is a traditional anglophone thing. Nigeria is anglophone, but we don't hate the French nor do we hate the francophones. I don't think Nigerians are francophobes.

Francophobes are described as people who do not like the French government, the French culture, and people of France, and always criticise the French and are hostile towards them.

According to Wikipédia, Britain and France have a long history of conflict, dating from before the Battle of Hastings, when William the Conqueror claimed the English throne in 1066 which led to the the 100 Year's War. There seem to be no love lost between the two countries till date.

The relationship between America and France went sore due to the opposition of French President Jacques Chirac to the 2003 Iraq War.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda and the declaration of a "War on Terror" by President George W. Bush, an invasion of Iraq was proposed. In May 2003, France along with Germany, Belgium, China, and Russia, opposed the proposed UN resolution that would have authorized a U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Almost 3,000 people died after al-Qaida terrorists flew aeroplanes into the World Trade Centre in 2001. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
During the United Nations Security Council deliberations, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominique de Villepin made it clear that France would not support, nor participate in the invasion.

The Americans felt betrayed that France, a country considered as an ally of America would not support them. Note that France is considered the first ally of the United States due to its 1778 treaty and military support in the American Revolutionary War.

One could say that this led to a high rise in anti-French sentiment in the United State. The Americans decided to boycott French goods in retaliation, forgetting that after 9/11, many French newspaper headlines were "We are all American."
Photo credit : Lynchage médiatique
The Americans even started a movement to rename French fries to Freedom fries but not only that, also to rename all the expressions in English which contain the word French, such as French bulldog, French toast, French door, French curve, French letter (condoms), French marigold, French beans amongst several others.

I find it sad anyway that the Americans could easily become hostile towards the French because of their opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. They have come too far to let such a thing destroy their relationship. Could they have forgotten quickly France's role in the American Revolutionary War? No, I doubt, because they have the Statue of Liberty to remind them.
Photo credit : Wikipedia
Note that the Statue of Liberty (la Liberté éclairant le monde) is a gift to the Americans from the French people commemorating the alliance of France and the United States during the American Revolution. The 46 meter statue was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, an Italian-French sculptor. It was dedicated on the 28th October 1886 and is located on Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbor, in Manhattan, New York City.

The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet.

Could it be that they feel they have paid their debt when they liberated France in World War II? Note also that after four years of German occupation, the US soldiers arrived in France to fight along side French soldiers for the liberation of France .
U.S soldiers wade ashore off the ramp of a U.S. Coast Guard landing craft, during the Allied landing operations at Normandy on June 6, 1944. (AP Photo) 

The Free French forces and the 2nd Armoured Division (2e Division Blindée), under General Leclerc, landed at Utah Beach in Normandy on 1 August 1944 together with other follow-on Free French forces.
U.S. soldiers wade through the surf as they land at Normandy in June 1944 (AP Photo/Peter Carroll)
The main part of French Expeditionary Corps in Italy which had been fighting there was withdrawn from the Italian front, and added to the French First Army under General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, and joined the US 6th Army and the US 7th Army to form the US 6th Army Group. That was the force that conducted operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of southern France on the 15th August 1944.

Paris had been ruled by Nazi Germany since the signing of the Second Compiègne Armistice on 22 June 1940, when the German Army occupied northern and western France. According to Wikipedia, the liberation began on the 19th August 1944 with the French Resistance against the occupying German army.
American and Free French troops of Pennsylvania's Twenty-eighth Infantry Division march along the Champs-Elysees, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background  on August 29, 1944. (AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll)
On the 24th August 1944, the French Forces of the Interior (Forces françaises de l'intérieur, FFI) received reinforcements from the Free French Army of Liberation and the U.S. Third Army under General Patton.

On the 25th August 1944, Dietrich von Choltitz, commander of the German garrison and military governor of Paris, surrendered (ignoring orders from Hitler that Paris should be held to the last and destroyed) to the Allies at the Hôtel Meurice, the newly established headquarters of General Leclerc.
Parisians celebrating the entry of Allied troops into Paris scatter for cover as a sniper fires from a building on the place De La Concorde. August 26, 1944. (U.S. Army) 
Marseilles was liberated on the 28th August, and Lyon on the 3rd September. The French liberation army covered Alsace-Lorraine while Canadian forces cleared the Channel coast, taking Antwerpen on 4 September 1944.
 African American troops of the 92nd Infantry Division after they threw back a German attack in the hills north of Viareggio, Italy in 1944. (AP Photo)
Before the liberation of northern France and the Benelux countries, the Germans took special care to thoroughly wreck all port facilities before they could be captured. Bordeaux was liberated in May 1945 by French forces under General Edgard de Larminat (Operation Venerable).

They were reports that the US soldiers who fought in World War II stole from the French and raped their women. Since the soldiers were considered heros, a lot of books refused to talk about it. It was said that the French complained that : "Our men disguiseed themselves under the Germans, but when the Americans came, we had to hide the women." How sad ! The French did pay a price for the presence of liberators on their land.

Bref, from all these stories we know a bit how the hatred in English and American Francophobes was born. These bashers do not verbally assault only the French government but the French people also.

Who are behind le French bashing ? According to an article I read : An Introduction to French Bashing,

The French bashers according to the French are credit rating agencies, British and American liberal (= libertarian or neo-conservative) economists, journalists and thinkers who do not accept the differences of French culture, who want to impose their values on France, who want France to open itself up to the globalized culture, to international competition and so on. Those who have no respect for the so called French model. Those who do not accept French republicanism as an alternative to Anglo-Saxon liberalism.
France has been labeled the country a place where investors are not welcome due to high taxes. She is continually bashed for her high tax, massive public debt, high unemployment rates, and failure in economic growth. Today, she has been crowned “the sick man of Europe”.
Photo credit : “French bashing” or “French” bashing
Some people say French bashing became worse after François Hollande was elected president in May 2012. The over zealous Head of State who was said to be an enemy of the rich sent the wealthy people in France running for fiscal cover abroad after he announced his plans to impose a 75 percent tax on salaries over €1 million.

French Film star Gérard Depardieu left France for Russia in 2013, after President Vladimir Putin offered him citizenship last year. Even the British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to "roll out the red carpet" to wealthy French who wanted to relocate to the UK to escape punitive tax policy in June 2012.

Although Hollande’s tax plan was later struck down by France's highest legal body, the Constitutional Council, he had achieved sending several celebrities and top business men on exile.

In October 2012 , The head of MEDEF, (Mouvement des entreprises de France), warned that Hollande's economic policies risked turning France into "the poor man of Europe".

In january 2013, Corinne Lepage, a French member of the European Parliament even had to beg the world's media to stop 'French bashing'. The former French presidential candidate  insisted that France is blessed by the gods with its culture, food and countryside. She also said that there were 'many worse places to live' than France. According to her, free education and the low cost of living compensate for higher taxes in France.

Although she agreed that France has problems with money, with business and with success, she says that it was no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater and treat the French like they are doomed to catastrophe.

Haters have decided to make France a world laughing stock and even the Anglophone media won't spare la pauvre France with headlines such as :

"The time-bomb at the heart of Europe" a 14-page special report on France which was on the front page of The Economist, published on November 17, 2012.
Photo credit : “French bashing” or “French” bashing
Other articles bashing France this year includes :

The Guardian and Businessweek calling France "The sick man of Europe" 

An article by Newsweek titled 'The fall of France'.

An article  published by The New Republic called "Let’s stop pretending that French is an important language".

Some say the hatred towards Fance isn't reserved only for the French government and the French people but also those who use French as an official language are not left out. I don't know about that... I only know that the French are being bashed for the decision of their leaders, for their culture, their food, some say French people are rude, others says they are arrogant. Some say they are a bunch cowards and weaklings, others say they are lazy and are always on strike. They say French people smoke too much, drink too much wine, they like sex too much, they don't make faithful partners, they smell because they don't have their baths, their women don't shave their armpits, etc. They say France cannot do anything good, except stinking cheese... They know they are nothing but myths yet they continue to fuel these wrong French stereotypes.
Photo credit : French Bashing Is soooooo 2012
The French have also been violently assaulted for being homophobe. Beefers attack the French everytime they come out to march to defend the "traditional family values". They were verbally assaulted because of their movement "Manif pour Tous", a group who fought against same-sex marriage and the adoption of same-sex marriage in France last year and against medically assisted procreation techniques for lesbian couples and surrogacy this year.

As a Nigerian, I know what it's like to be a victim of bashers. Nigerians are often considered to be criminals, drug traffickers, 419ners, etc.. and when you read comments under posts which concerns a crime committed by a Nigerian, you'll be surprised at so much hate towards us. That's why I would never be submit myself to cyber bulling of anyone.

We were also violently bashed by the world media and in 2011 when our Senate voted to criminalise same-sex marriages with penalties of up to 14 years jail for participants and 10 years jail for anyone who witnesses the union. President Goodluck Jonathan was not spared either when he signed the bill this January. He was called all sorts of names but he wasn't the only one who was attacked, the nation as a whole and all the people in it. Except for the homosexuals themselves.

On the 3rd November, French  Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, who visited L'Oréal et Clichy-la-Garenne (Hauts-de-Seine) asked that people start saying positive things about France and stop with le French bashing. He said he prefers le French celebrating.

Some say the bashing is not all that serious and that the French are sensitive. Lol! I think bullying should be accepted no matter the form in which it comes, physical, verbal or cyber. We should say no to bashing !

Some French people believe the Anglophones bash them out of jealousy. This makes me laugh also... I think that there are so many saddist out there in the world and today some people will hate you for no reason at all.

Here are a few French bashing images I selected online :
Photo credit :

Source photo : tranchesdunet

Source photo :
Source photo : demotivatingposters

Crédits photo :

Source photo : funnyjunk

Crédits photo :

Source photo :

Source photo : TelepathicTeletubby

Crédits photo :

Le "french bashing", une tradition pour The Economist

Sources :

Anti-French sentiment in the United States

Statue of Liberty

World War II: The Allied Invasion of Europe

'Bandits in Uniform': The Dark Side of GIs in Liberated France

An Introduction to French Bashing

The French have 'lost their happiness’, says Depardieu

Thousands demonstrate in France to defend "traditional family values"

Nigerian Anti Gay Bill is One of the Most Draconian in the World

“French bashing” or “French” bashing

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