Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hate the man. Love the manner.

In the banlieu:

The name of Nicolas Sarkozy is mud in high-immigration French suburbs hit by the riots of 2005, but behind the angry rhetoric often lies a nuanced view of the right-wing candidate's ideas on work, welfare, discrimination and integration.

In the Val Fourre housing complex of Mantes la Jolie, about 55 kilometres (35 miles) west of Paris, locals blame the former interior minister for his tough views on policing and immigration, and warn of a new outbreak of violence if he is elected France's new president on May 6.

...others in the estate made clear that -- even if they may not vote for Sarkozy -- they share many of his ideas.

"What is the root of France's problems today? The answer is work," said Arif Bilgic, a 29-year-old greengrocer, echoing one of Sarkozy's rallying-cries. "If he has said some stupid things, it is because he has to appeal to the far-right for the election -- but that is just campaigning."

"When I was in London I had three jobs at once -- two jobs waiting tables and one as a delivery man. It was that easy to find work," said Tariq, a 30-year-old social worker. "Me, I'm a liberal and I always have been. I am for the 60-hour week."

According to Bernard Kossoko, Radio Droit de Cite's manager: "We all expect too much from the state. We need a system where people can't keep turning down job offers and claiming benefit. They've got to be put under an obligation -- and I don't care if it is a right-wing thing to say."

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