Libmonster ID: UK-1494
Author(s) of the publication: A. MEMMI


Writer (Tunisia)

There is some distance between immigrants and their children born or raised in the West. Children do not have the same memory of their homeland that their parents have, they have a different understanding of the future, and in general they belong to different worlds.


For their children, there is no question of "going back" at all, because they didn't go anywhere. And even if they happen to go to their parents ' homeland for a vacation, they "don't find anything again" there, they "don't recognize"anything and no one. Rather, it is a journey in which they make some discoveries for themselves, sometimes depressing. Vacation (or vacation, or vacation) spent "abroad" is, rather, a practice borrowed by an immigrant from Europeans, the French. But with the difference that the immigrant will definitely go to "his" country, while his children would rather go to see Germany or Italy, where their sons sometimes "wash off" with their girlfriends on holidays.

The immigrant lives, as it were, by the necessity of double belonging, double subjection - both to his East and to the West, where he is located. He's always looking for harmony. And the son already approves it (of course, in different ways, depending on the mood and circumstances): "I'm French!" Or, if it protests: "I'm Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian." But this happens less often when he is provoked, or if he wants to challenge others.

Sometimes immigrants just don't understand them, even though these young people are the generation born of them. The immigrant had a goal, and it was achieved one way or another: he hoped to escape poverty, integrate as much as possible where he came, mix with others as much as possible, while maintaining his religion and some traditions, so as not to lose his identity at all... He even dreams (or has already bought) a car; his children go to school with others, and even if they are not as diligent and attentive in class as the French (of course, this upsets their parents!), they are still in school, and this is already the way to move forward. And his wife is already used to local life, knows what and where to buy cheaper... If an immigrant could, he would want to stay here unnoticed. And his children spit on all this, do not appreciate all these life benefits and acquisitions, question everything, make noise, make a row, always demand something and are quite aggressive...

And what can we say about the girls, the daughters of immigrants! Parents do not even understand why they need this Muslim headscarf, which, quite the contrary, only attracts the attention of men! And if the parents ask for the observance of traditions, then the daughters resolutely refuse them this! One way or another, they are trying to escape the power of their fathers, from parental care. They outrage their parents with their excessive makeup and short skirts, which are simply indecent for Muslim women... Moreover, they allow themselves to be friends with young men without asking their parents; but what can this lead to? Who knows what's going on in the minds of these modern youngsters who think that everything is allowed?! And the most unpleasant and even simply unacceptable, from the point of view of parents who observe religious institutions, is when their daughter "turns love" with a non-Muslim.

This mutual misunderstanding between generations gradually leads to antagonism, to open hostility. And the son is not afraid of the police, as his father was afraid and continues to be afraid, preserving the instinct of an immigrant. And the son can provoke her, can even throw a rock, knowing that he is "in a democratic country", and does not risk much. The son often becomes a real hooligan, even a criminal, a criminal. As a seller of drugs ("soft" like hashish, or" strong", real like cocaine or heroin), He sometimes practices racketeering, especially disgusting when it comes to extortion among classmates. And he is not alone: crime is not an exotic "specialty" here, it is common to all the destitute, the poor, and the unemployed... Although it is among the children of immigrants that it is most common...

The son of an immigrant is mostly a rebellious person. His rebellion - for his father, for himself, for his own kind. He doesn't know what to do with his indignation, but he certainly doesn't want to be like his father, whose earnings are pathetic compared to the needs of the family. Yes, and with the financial opportunities provided by the drug trade, for example. And if the father suddenly becomes unemployed, the son will somehow cope with the worries about how to feed the family, and the father will simply become an extra mouth...


Refusing to identify with his parents, believing that he is rejected and not accepted by the majority of society, the son of an immigrant chooses for himself the path of his own existence, left to himself. An example for him will be the opposition and marginals. Especially from those who are in the so-called subculture of America, mainly among African Americans. And this is also paradoxical: he will be for-

Ending. For the beginning, see: Asia and Africa today. 2016, N 7, 8.

page 72

They will find their way out of the hated America with the help of its own intermediaries from among its own opponents.

So the son of an immigrant living in France creates his own portrait, even a physical one.: this is a robot portrait that can be said to be instantly recognizable. In summer, a T-shirt, in winter, a cheap leather jacket bought at a flea market, wide-legged baggy pants that really make him look like some kind of huge, dangling, empty bag slumped in his lap. Something similar is worn today by Muslim men in Chad.

The son of an immigrant does not know that this fashion came to America from Africa (vad pants), because African Americans are now looking for inspiration there, believing that "whites" oppress "blacks". Once the slaves of white Americans, now African Americans are looking for "their roots" where once they were not oppressed... With the same vague arguments, immigrants also shave their heads, leaving the hair on top of their heads in the form of a cock's comb, seemingly imitating Latin Americans who were conquered by the Spaniards... The hairstyle of many braids reached France also from America, which borrowed it in Africa. But it is there-exclusively female hairstyle, and here in France, it is used by young Maghrebians; the same with the "persing" and with the tattoo, which literally covered and decorated all the immigrant youth.

Arab-Muslim men and sympathetic Europeans wear the "Palestinian headscarf" around their necks-black and white or white and red, striped, as in the Middle East. On his head is an American baseball cap. However, many people have the visor turned on the back of their heads-a sign that "we are not exactly Americans."..

There is something loose about the immigrants ' demeanor, a certain sailor's waddling gait, a certain brash movement of the whole body, like the wrestlers at a fair; they seem to be determined to show their significant physical presence, to emphasize it, to distinguish themselves from the crowd, to prove that they are the best people in the world. "the power to be afraid of them...

Perhaps this is why the immigrant's son never goes out alone - they always go in a group, like many other young men-this helps them avoid being alone in the crowd, strengthen their strength with the presence of their companions. So, you are no longer an "individual" of some sort, but a "clan", a member of this "clan", dubious, even dangerous. This is both a provocation of the "alien", and self-affirmation, a victory over others. This is a special kind of revenge of immigrants who are so revenge for the fact that in the hands of their fathers were only brooms and shovels of janitors. But now these guys in wide trousers, leather jackets and cock-combs on their heads can just look and walk calmly "move" all the passers-by on the sidewalk, which their fathers once swept, and make them walk along the side of the highway...

...They talk loudly, yell something in Arabic if they can. They will never give up a place to anyone, will not let anyone go ahead, even the elderly, old women. They will simply huddle against the walls of the houses... Old people, from their point of view, are all enemies that prevent them from triumphing in this life... They run red lights at crosswalks, causing everyone to slow down. In the subway, they jump over turnstiles, enter without tickets, and this is another additional pleasure-to show their dexterity. They paint the windows of cars with chalk and paint, leaving their own signs and signatures... They think that the laws are not written for them, and if they are written, then against them, and they should not be respected...

They have their own rituals and customs, which, in general, are manifestations of their protest and provocation. And, of course, aggression. Even their dances and music have this coloring. Hip-hop, rap, tag - all this introduced by America, they have their own symbolic meaning. Hip-hop, after all, is only half a dance, but also acrobatics, when the dancers spin on the floor with a bundle, standing on their heads. Who would dare move such a person from his place? And rap? This is the usual syncopated speech, almost without musical accompaniment, perhaps going back to some Griot, African roots, but it has become a substitute for aggression from verbal curses addressed to "rapists" from the ruling majority... Tag is another step forward on the path of their revenge on society: by painting their graffiti and other obscene things on the walls of houses, iron curtains of shops, and painting other people's cars in the same way, they believe that they are invading the world of the ruling majority, which is forced to pay attention to such messages from immigrant children...

It is also important for them to tear down signs with the names of streets or cover them up, urinate in elevators, cut the upholstery of seats on the subway or buses with a razor. Just a little more, and more car fires, usually twenty a night, as they've done before... And on New Year's Eve - up to three hundred across France...

There are no attempts yet*, but there is already a gradation of crime. Swearing at the French is not only evidence of the humiliation of "others", but also the moral decline of Muslims who managed to cross the threshold of the forbidden, mentioning the words "mother" or "sister" in the context of gross sexuality, thus discrediting both their own and their dignity. When the national anthem is played in the stadiums of France, it is not the Marseillaise that is being booed, but the nation as a whole, the whole society in which immigrants live. And if they go to a demonstration with slogans: "We are all Bin Laden! "or" We are all Saddam!", thus emphasizing their belonging to the Arab world, then these are, first of all, Arabs who are in conflict with the West and threaten it... It is also careless when they chant: "There are six million of us! In 20 years, there will be 10 million of us! Then we'll see who's who!"..

All this only confirms that if the feeling of marginality and exclusion generates more and more provocations and increasing crime, then we must look for some reasonable way out. Prisons are already full of young criminals, drug dealers, supermarket thieves, robbers who snatch bags from passers-by, rapists, instigators of terrible fights and scuffles, pimps...

* The book was written before the shooting of the editorial staff of a satirical magazine and a Jewish store in Paris in early 2015, and before the numerous terrorist attacks that took place there on November 13, 2015 .

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But this is only a small part of what really teems with society...

It is possible that Western governments do not want extreme and drastic measures... But is it any wonder that the children of immigrants are just a real "nursery" for those who recruit suicide bombers into their ranks? Feelings of anger and revenge are undoubtedly a breeding ground for terrorism.


And yet, in spite of everything, the most sensible thing to do when living in a foreign environment would be to integrate into the majority of society, and integrate as quickly as possible... But neither people nor history are that intelligent. Assimilation, for it to be successful, must be desirable for the minorities themselves. And so that the majority of the nation agrees with this. However, neither immigrants nor native residents of European countries are sure of this. Everyone doubts. The colonizer had a chance to belong to a powerful power that oppressed others. He was protected by the police and the army, who resorted to reprisals if necessary... Now the ex-colonizer does not understand his former opponent, who became his fellow citizens.

Everything was clear before. He demanded independence and achieved it. Now what does he want? And most importantly, why and why did he not stay in his independent country, moved to this ex-metropolis of his, which he hated so much, and whose power he wanted to get rid of at any cost? And why, proclaiming himself unhappy even now, does he not return home to his long-free country?

Yes, the long co-existence of colonizers and colonized people on the same land has created special ties between them - economic, cultural, linguistic, even sometimes family. After independence, there were economic difficulties that were the consequences of colonialism, as well as political difficulties that are characteristic of "young" nations. At least that's what the immigrant claims. Well, so be it, - the Frenchman agrees, but then why not assimilate, not become a full-fledged citizen of the Republic, but continue to insist on their "specialness", "alienness", "difference", etc., i.e. to remain a foreigner.

In the colonial era, when everyone lived on "their" side, the barrier was obvious. And if earlier people who lived on different sides of this barrier were "strangers", today living together on the same territory implies the closest relationships and acquaintances. However, the Frenchman is not sure that this is possible. I'm not even sure I particularly want to. After all, every "stranger", foreigner, immigrant is considered as a potential criminal. At best, he lives with a double attachment - to his country and his host country. And if there is any crisis in the relations between both countries, it is not known how the immigrant will react, which of them will betray. And while the doubts are still there, it's best to keep an eye out for him...

This is not the first time that Europe has opened its doors to foreigners, but only to assimilate them. But this should not only be wanted, but also able. This time, Europe is not sure either of its desire or of its capabilities... In the face of the "Muslim danger", a part of the nation feels disarmed. The French, as well as other Europeans, are now not so sure that they can "digest" Muslim immigrants, as they used to "digest" Polish miners, Italian bricklayers or Portuguese workers...

France must also continue to believe in the values of its culture, its greatness, and its superiority. And this today is all very doubtful... Once upon a time, schoolchildren (both in the mother country and in the colonies) were assured that their ancestors were Gauls. The republic was either amused or annoyed by this, but most people still thought so... Now this is not possible. Now the teaching of history and lectures on the language, culture and civilization of the country should be read taking into account the "collective personality" of immigrants. Hence the weakness of the ex-metropolitan cultural policy... This is not openly admitted, but it is obvious that the French believe that immigrants are not assimilable... This means that there is always the refusal of some and the resistance of others.

It's easier for European immigrants. They will simply change their last name in the French manner, while remaining Christians. Muslim immigrants will remain Muslims for life and will continue to call themselves Mohammad and Ali. And thus they will remain, both in appearance and in essence, different from others, separated from them by the barrier of their ethno-confessional affiliation. Islam is not only a religion, it is also a culture and civilization that permeates the immigrant society, neighbors with the French and influences politics.

The French don't all go to church, but France is one of the oldest Christian countries. Islam is still a young religion, which means it is more demanding. And if the French, even the faithful, have freed themselves from total subordination to the church, then the ideology of Muslims is different, and their religion is inseparable from their whole life. At the same time, there is their Prophet and their Islamic law. The Civil Code and religious dogma are united in one whole. And in the Republic, its secular laws contradict the laws of its religion. What about the unconditional religious affiliation of Muslim immigrants? Any deviation from Islamic dogma for them is treason, betrayal, and this creates a sense of deep guilt. And by maintaining a certain distance from religion in the process of assimilation, the immigrant feels that he is moving away from his fellow human beings, his world...


Where are we going? I say " we " in reference to all the inhabitants of the planet, because this applies to all of us: both former oppressors and former oppressed. And, of course, for the decolonized ones, we can say that this is a great victory: they have attracted the attention of the whole world.

Until now, relations between nations have been built mostly around endless battles between rival gangs, dressed in different uniforms, calling on different gods for help and justification for their looting. All the norms of morals and religions, appeals to rights and laws were just attempts to muffle the barbarism and savagery that was happening on earth..."-

page 74

The Ten commandments, the Lord's Judgment, human rights, and the statute of prisoners of war were only stages in this effort. But still in the XVIII century. there were sea pirates who stole people from ships and took them as hostages, and the French and English corsairs were no less cruel than others. In Africa and Asia today, all this continues to this day, and slavery has not yet disappeared there. Europe very recently abandoned colonies, which were just a collective form of slavery. The colonialists are known to have burned down entire cities that resisted them without hesitation, but the Second World War, the last of the largest, was no less brutal.

We suddenly discovered that from now on, everyone lives depending on each other. This is an unheard-of addiction. Previously, we needed loot, and people went to war. Navigation and caravans provided for a long time the exchange of some rare goods, spices or precious metals... But time has changed rapidly, there have been such communications, competition, that on a global scale, universal interdependence has simply developed. We have to control globalization, make sure that it does not harm the weaker ones, but no one wants to return the past.

Anti-globalism is a deception, an illusion. And Westerners were the first to notice that they will never be able to live in peace if the majority of the planet will vegetate in poverty and envy. And it is precisely because of universal progress that the West has come to flourish and live in abundance... Outbreaks of violence only served to emphasize the need for human solidarity and the interdependence of people on the planet: the tragedy of September 11, 2001 was an "electric shock": the" masters of the earth " discovered that they could not control their own security alone.

Gone are the days when oppressors could divide the world and live in it according to their own laws in their own interests. Will they now be able to live on their own for even one day? Their economic, political and other interests around the world, their dependence on the countries where they invested their capital, have become too great. And for their part, the former oppressed peoples must recognize that they will not be able to cope with their development without communication with the Western world. Otherwise, the Middle Ages will return if they abandon the science, technology, and medicine of the West. It's just a matter of how best to organize this interdependence. It is already irreversible. But how can we make the world more peaceful, more confident, and less dangerous?


For many decades now, people have been talking about the decline of the West, including America. It is not noticeable that the West feels like it is dying. After all, it is to the West that emigrants flow, and not vice versa. And economic prosperity is typical of the West, and not vice versa, except with rare exceptions. Even if the ups and downs are often side by side...

Today, Europe, as an elderly sovereign, feels a certain apathy in itself, which is not yet an indicator of a serious illness. But it creeps up, comes from far away. And despite its many amazing achievements, despite all its victories, Europe only destroyed itself (what the Napoleonic wars, the First and Second World Wars cost for its "health" - they simply drained the continent of blood...). It took America's help, the Marshall Plan, to save its economy...

The demographic catastrophe is simply haunting Europe, and it is increasingly threatening. Perhaps this is a sign of a natural "decline" ... Of course, there is a less mystical reason: women now work more, they have more rights, they are socially active, and they do not care much about the growth of the family and the birth rate. Because it is difficult to work and raise children at the same time, and society has not taken care to provide financially for non-working mothers. And many women would rather earn a living than give birth. The result is clear: we must forget about the growth of the birth rate... And the nation is aging. Hence the problems. Who will provide pensions for the elderly, the cost of medicines, to preserve their health, and who will help them with their basic concerns in old age? Young people today do not think about this, and they are not very willing to accept such services... All hope is for immigrants... Industry also needs immigrants, and there are not enough workers, auxiliary workers, and so on. But politicians behave ambiguously, they are afraid of trouble in the elections...

The problem of immigration is much simpler: rich and old countries simply need population growth. And the poor need to export part of their youth, not only because of unemployment, but also because of possible social unrest in this regard. How can this dual need of "rich" and "poor" countries be addressed?

Immigration could help solve the problem of some kind of civilizational mixing. Perhaps humanity has already entered a new era of universal mixing. And one might even think that the West has already accepted this idea, although it does not yet see the social, political and cultural consequences that can decisively change the face of European states... Perhaps "mestizoization" with immigrants would be more painless if the West had its own, stronger ideology or value system. But both Christianity and Marxism - the two main ideological systems that stirred the minds of Europeans-are now almost dead.

Christianity has become for the majority of believers only a kind of ritual ... although the popes still continue to call for the "evangelization" of the world... where in a huge number of countries Islam has already slowed down the progress of Christianity... As for Marxism, all its promises of economic prosperity and "liberation of minds" have shown only examples of impoverishment in many countries, totalitarian regimes, and concentration camps... And it is unlikely that Marxism today believes in its bright future.

The ex-proletarians no longer want or believe the communist promises... Today, former "revolutionaries" no longer want to be hungry, they want a decent life, an apartment, free medicine, and even a house in the village...

...Islamic integrists took advantage of the situation. They decided to fill the ideological vacuum. Europe no longer defends its spiritual values, or even actively fights for them. Europe today cannot offer a single effective solution

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your own problems. And in the face of Islam, which is still confident in itself and in its spiritual values, because of its relative youth, Europe is inferior in its ability to provide people with life-saving beacons. It is cunning, waiting for the oil wells to run out somewhere, that somewhere, sometime, there will be ways to replace the energy carriers it needs... But she is also not sure that all this can calm the claims of the third world and the fierce vindictiveness of Islamic extremists.

The chances of the de-colonized rest mainly on the weaknesses of the ex-colonizers. And it is still necessary that they somehow still play, trying to win their game...


...The third world still lives in appalling poverty, corruption, and despotism, resulting in cultural backwardness, humiliation, and bitterness that inevitably leads to violence... However, there are many attractive things in the former dependent countries: huge wealth hidden in the bowels of vast territories, a huge population that allows itself to fill its deficit in the West, well, and a diplomatic and military presence on the world stage, which is now not controlled by anyone.

Demographics - uncontrolled, and therefore allowing pressure on the West, brings a lot of difficulties, more and more increasing in the underdeveloped countries themselves. International bodies that could formulate a true universal, international law can do nothing where they absolutely do not listen to their voice, do not take into account international interests, are mired in internal conflicts, form their own dubious alliances and military groups.

Poverty still continues to overwhelm many countries. And those who once followed the path of economic liberalism have become even poorer... The third world was unarmed in the face of newfound freedom, which is usually manipulated by those who have seized wealth and power... And is it any wonder that even in those states where they tried to implement the communist model of development and where new structures competed with traditional ones supported by local feudal lords, the latter won?

We should not be surprised that the de-colonized did not follow the European, Western path, did not follow its models. For them, Europe, in spite of everything, remained primarily a Christian country. And Marxism offered something like a new religion... Although dogmatic and exclusive, it also inspired some mythical hopes...

But then they realized that if you choose between religions, why not turn to your own, the original one?.. The Muslim Brotherhood has only one slogan: "Everything is in the Koran!" But not everything could have been foreseen and predicted in the text compiled several centuries ago, even if commentaries were written on it... (The same applies to the Gospel and the Torah.)

What does it mean to obey only the Law of God? After all, not all clergymen are experts in modern problems... But human laws are fragile and changeable, we are told, and the divine mind is unchangeable. This leads to an economic catastrophe if a return to the values of the past, to traditionalism, is more important than finding the ways of modern development...

A return to the" original Islam " is a withdrawal from the outside world, a totalitarian immersion in one's own, hostile to the rest of humanity... He wants to free the whole world from "heresy", because "everything" is already said in the Koran. Everything else only deserves violence and punishment...


But can we, in spite of everything, hope to live a better life together? But at what cost?

.. Of course, it's not just about the poverty of some countries and the wealth of others. National claims play an equally important role... And not only that the West is accused of excessive consumption... It also causes anger and envy. And we need some kind of universal regulation of problems... Nothing can replace the determination of the peoples themselves to take their fate into their own hands... International aid is hidden begging, and it will never make poverty disappear. Only cultivates irresponsibility...

...If all people on earth were reasonable, they would see that the main thing is to find what brings people together, and not divides them... In this regard, we must put an end to the religious "confusion" that confuses religion with culture, mixes Islam with cultural traditions...

...Everyone should be convinced that only universal human solidarity is all-powerful. And we need to strive for this. Solidarity is not a philosophical or ethical concept - it is a practical necessity, without which we will live in eternal confusion... But to get closer to this utopia, the West must recognize that the Arabs are already part of its world. And it is necessary not to form Arab-Muslim or non-Muslim blocs and oppose each other, but to create coalitions of free-thinking people against dogmatism and fanaticism...

Of course, there is probably naivety in all these hopes of mine: it is impossible to immediately extinguish either the bitterness and hatred of some, or the greed of enriching others... Man, like any carnivorous animal, jealously protects his piece of meat. But de-colonized people need to remember that they cannot always remember their past oppression, especially if they live in a foreign country instead of in their own country. And others need to know that they will not be able to restrain the unrest of the humiliated and hungry forever... Maybe History will settle everything, and you just need to hope for Time, wait? And then everything will go for the better? But if you can still make a joint effort and influence your present, your common destiny, then you should try to change the world yourself so that everyone has their own worthy place in it. It would be unforgivable if we didn't take this chance.

Paris, 2003-2004

Translated from French by S. V. PROZHOGINAPh. D.

Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences


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