lundi 5 décembre 2005
As many people have emailed me and asked if everything was okay here due to the riots, I guess I should address their concerns. Yes, everything is fine. Marseille saw hardly any burning at all. Most of the cities troubled by it were up in the North.
From the article "Marseille's recipe for composure" sent to me by Genevieve.
This scruffy port has most of the ingredients associated with the recent rioting and car burning in French cities: high unemployment, a huge immigrant community, considerable poverty. Yet Marseille emerged relatively unscathed compared with cities like Paris, Toulouse, and Lyon.'Everyone in France speculated that Marseille would be the first to burn. You need to live here to understand why it did not.' Residents insist that Marseille is different from other large urban centers in France. They have centuries of experience in managing immigration, they say - 2,600 years in total, if you count back to the city's founding by Greek traders. Marseille, the second largest city in France, is French the way New York is American: The city is defined by the waves of immigrants who settled here, chief among them Italians, Armenians, and Muslims and Jews from Algeria, Tunesia and Morocco....
It is impossible not to notice the diversity of this city. In one glance across the sidewalk here you can spot West Africans selling handicrafts, crusty French seamen emerging from the port, and French-Arab youths in track suits strutting into a fast-food joint.
Personally, I'm not sure how un-racist Marseille is, I think it depends on where you come from. I, as a blond-haired blue-eyed American, feel that most likely I get treated differently than an African woman wearing a head scarf. But in general I think people are pretty relaxed and willing to help, even if they can't understand what I am asking for half the time in grocery store.
Fraise! Fraise! Small, round, red, fruit?
Sorry, I don't understand.

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