Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A friend in need

Isn't it great when you meet someone who naturally gives you what you just haven't been able to give yourself for a while. I have a friend. This friend listens to me and my perpetual fight with myself. Me with 4 years of communication and 3 of psychology who is supposed to know what to do when I feel like I am up against the wall, well I forget. She on the other hand just opens the invisible unwritten book with my Name on the cover, and reads from page one. She gives me the wisdom I know is already in me. What she says rings so true. It's a fantastic boost. She gives me a good boost. What more can I say. So for you if you read it A this entry is for you.

On another note, I had another encounter with the Arab community here the other night. An American friend of mine and I had dinner with two sisters, one of whom I used to teach English to. When he came in the other sister jumped up and hugged him, proclaiming, J'adore les Americans, I adore the Americans. Remember now I am living in France, remember too that America is at war in the Arab world, and remember too, the prelevant attitude in the US to the French. The girl I used to teach is a Mathamatical genius, she came from a poor family. She was born in France and grew up in a village in Algeria. She is qualified as a draughtsperson from an Algerian college. Her sister told me yesterday about the finanical and cultural struggle she underwent to be educated. Her father wanted her to stay at home. She scrimped and saved and got very good results in her exams. She came to France with a dream, similiar to the dream many Europeans have when they go to the U.S. . Making it, living a good life, having a good job, maybe meeting someone and settling down. Imagine her dismay when the French government told her, her qualifications were worth nothing. If you want to work in France your qualification has to be french.
So Hadia started all over again. She had an exam last week and breezed it. She doesn't think of herself as beautiful, she is shy with people she doesn't know, she does have a somewhat naieve view of the world and what is going on. Both of them seem to take it for granted that to be Arab/ or Algerian/ or even Magrebian/ or even Berbour which is none of the above, results in you getting the shitty end of the stick. That's fate, that's life and that is the way it is.
I, with my western celtic culture, am fascinated by their looks, their story, their culture, the way the dance and sing. I believe that with the confidence of the white, dare I say it, an American confidence, either woman, (as they are women and not girls) could take this country by storm and be what they want. It seems France is doing a good if not better job of treating some of the worlds people worse than the American government could appear to hope for. For those of you from the US I do not want to offend you, I understand many of you have lost loved ones in the war. But I am not writing about the war. Neither am I judging it here, not intentionally anyway. I am driving at the point that so often in life when we feel it is working against us, we are actually filled with an abundance of talent and options that could change our situation and somehow we manage to stick ourselves in a rut and hide. It will be easier for me to make a living here than either of them. I am white male, european educated, only bilingual, (they have at least 3 languages each) and I believe I can. They on the other hand are Berbour women, Olive skinned, percieved by many to be Dirty Arabs what chance do they have of ever making it in todays world. What dissappointments will they carry in their souls for the rest of their lives. What can I do to help except encourage each time I can.
As a subnote, talking to an Irish friend today, who is a property sourcer, and agent for sailing boats, I learned from him that now it is illegal to sell your appartment to an Arab in the very area the two girls are living. How people get away with it here I don't know, but I imagine if they were black and in America there would be some sort of network that would support the girls, educate them to their rights and set them on the road. If I am wrong please don't let me die in ignorance. But I can't imagine people have to endure what the Arab community does here, anywhere else in the world. Now if my french was better maybe I could do something. But I have to do something for myself first. Perhaps it is always the way.


BlueMoon said...

This kind of prejudice still is alive and well in America too. For a black person in the southern states it isn't disguised...For a black person in the northern states it is much more subtle and sly. A black person can still purchase a home in the south but it wouldn't be easy (depending on which state you are in it gets worse) and in some of the southern states they still have segregated bathrooms and drinking fountains that are used.

Madame D said...

I know the prejudice is still alive and well in America, but I fucking hate it. That's about all I can say. There are good people and bad people, no matter what shade your skin is. I take people on the individual basis. And that's it.
Ooo, this topic really chaps my ass.

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