Monday, November 14, 2005

Les Violences, Partie III

I called my best friend in France a few days ago to have a chat. I didn't mention the riots to her at all, but she said she had watched several foreign newscasts and said the Americans were saying that "France is on fire". That, of course, is an exaggeration; it's true that the most severe rioting took place outside Paris where literally hundreds of cars were set aflame, but my friend's region of France was relatively unscathed.

My friend lives just outside of Tours in the Loire Valley. When I first found out that I would be studying there, everyone I talked to said that the language was "pure" in that region. Upon arrival in Tours, I understood their meaning: the language is pure because there are no immigrants there to mess it up.

Tours is not diverse in the least. I think I saw all of two black people and maybe 5 Arabs the entire six months I was there. That considered, it didn't surprise me to find out that most of the copycat violence that has been perpetrated in the area since the rioting first broke out involved young teenagers of indeterminate race who were "just doing it because it's funny" (translated from La Nouvelle République). In other words, the "race rioting" in Tours cannot really be labeled as such due to its lack of races to begin with. Teenagers around there are just joining in out of boredom, not outrage.

Maybe it has been a blessing in disguise that Tours is not more diverse. I, for one, would personally prefer the city to be more well-rounded demographically...but who am I?

("I'm Jean Valjean!" - Ok, I couldn't resist that one.)


BeckEye said...

I'm Jean Val- high note that I could never possibly hit!

Sangroncito said...

Melanie..I think you're due for a trip to France to check things out first hand!

Melanie said...

Yes, Michael, I think you're right. I was supposed to go this month, actually, but I have to save up my vacation time for my honeymoon this summer (yay, Tahiti!). The working life sure does suck.

But I'm planning to hop the pond again next November! I'll MAKE time for it!

la.dauphine said...

Who am I? I'm 24601!!!!

Love that :)

Sangroncito said...

Tahiti! You will be able to speak French there!

Melanie said...

Yes, I most certainly will!!

That was why we ended up picking it--he wanted to go someplace tropical, I wanted someplace French-speaking.

It's the best of both worlds :-)