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VOA标准英语2009年-France Opens National Identity Debate

时间:2010-01-16 05:37来源:互联网 提供网友:李霄云   字体: [ ]
    (单词翻译:双击或拖选)

France's center-right government has launched a national debate about what it means to be French. The discussion on national identity is being described as a way for citizens to take stock of who they are and of France's place in the world. Critics argue it casts suspicion on immigrants and on French minorities.

Many outsiders sum up "Frenchness" through a series of cliches - berets, baguettes, good cheese and wine.  But immigration has changed the face of  France. Some French Muslim women wear headscarves. The traditional North African dish, couscous, is a favorite here. Arab words like Toubib - or doctor - pepper the French language.

So what does it mean to be French today? President Nicolas Sarkozy has tapped another French staple1 - the love of debate - to launch a three-month, national conversation on the subject. There's even an Internet site where Eric Besson, France's minister for immigration, integration2 and national identity, invites French to air their views.

In a videotaped message on the Web site, Besson says the debate aims to examine French values - which include equality, fraternity, secularism3 and gender4 equality - and to sketch5 France's common future. Suggested topics for discussion include whether France should have integration contracts for immigrants applying for citizenship6 and whether students should be required to sing the French national anthem7.

But the debate about being French has sparked its own debate. Critics, including opposition8 politicians and rights groups, say it is tinged9 with the kind of nationalist sentiment spearheaded by France's far-right National Front party. They argue it casts unfair suspicion on immigrants, particularly those of Muslim origin.  The debate comes amid controversy10 over banning minarets11 in neighboring Switzerland and as the French government considers whether to ban Muslim women from wearing a face-covering veil in public.

Even opposition politicians who support the debate - like French Socialist12 deputy Gaetan Gorce - have reservations.

He says French people are anxious about the future of their country, so it's not absurd to discuss how to deal  with the subject. "I think we have to define more precisely13 who we are, what we want, what kind of influence we can exert now in Europe or in the world," he said.

But Gorce believes the debate should far longer and more in-depth than what the government has in mind. He also says it is politically charged, since it comes ahead of March regional elections.

Still, the controversy has not stopped French from attending debates taking place  in government buildings across the country. About 150 young people of all ethnic14 origins packed a small room at the French Immigration Ministry15 on Wednesday night, for a debate hosted by Minister Besson.

One young man described being denied jobs at upscale French hotels, ostensibly because of his North African background. He said the only job he could find was as a janitor16 in a low-income Paris suburb.

Another woman, of African origin, talked about the need for gender equality in France and the education problems faced by young immigrants.

For his part, Besson told the audience the debate was not just about immigration, but also about the place of French citizens at home and in the world.

But Besson said immigration is also a key element of the debate and French should not be afraid to discuss it. That sentiment is echoed by President Sarkozy, who says the government wants to promote tolerance17 and openness to immigrants - but that they must also respect France's values and heritage.

One young jurist, who gave only her first name - Nadia - said she was glad she had attended Wednesday's debate. Nadia said she immigrated18 to France from her native Benin as an infant.

Nadia said most immigrants try hard to fit into their new country. She said she worked hard to learn French and she embraces French values. But she said she still faces hostility19. If she brushes past somebody in a bus, she is told to go back to her country. But, Nadia said, France is her country.

Polls show French opinion is divided over the identity debate. Some consider it an election ploy20. But other surveys show the majority of French believe it is a useful conversation


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 staple fGkze     
n.主要产物,常用品,主要要素,原料,订书钉,钩环;adj.主要的,重要的;vt.分类
参考例句:
  • Tea is the staple crop here.本地产品以茶叶为大宗。
  • Potatoes are the staple of their diet.土豆是他们的主要食品。
2 integration G5Pxk     
n.一体化,联合,结合
参考例句:
  • We are working to bring about closer political integration in the EU.我们正在努力实现欧盟內部更加紧密的政治一体化。
  • This was the greatest event in the annals of European integration.这是欧洲统一史上最重大的事件。
3 secularism ad542df7a7131885e24a4dae18d8b8ae     
n.现世主义;世俗主义;宗教与教育分离论;政教分离论
参考例句:
  • Unless are devoted to God, secularism shall not leave us. 除非我们奉献于神,否则凡俗之心便不会离开我们。 来自互联网
  • They are no longer a huge threat to secularism. 他们已不再是民主的巨大威胁。 来自互联网
4 gender slSyD     
n.(生理上的)性,(名词、代词等的)性
参考例句:
  • French differs from English in having gender for all nouns.法语不同于英语,所有的名词都有性。
  • Women are sometimes denied opportunities solely because of their gender.妇女有时仅仅因为性别而无法获得种种机会。
5 sketch UEyyG     
n.草图;梗概;素描;v.素描;概述
参考例句:
  • My sister often goes into the country to sketch. 我姐姐常到乡间去写生。
  • I will send you a slight sketch of the house.我将给你寄去房屋的草图。
6 citizenship AV3yA     
n.市民权,公民权,国民的义务(身份)
参考例句:
  • He was born in Sweden,but he doesn't have Swedish citizenship.他在瑞典出生,但没有瑞典公民身分。
  • Ten years later,she chose to take Australian citizenship.十年后,她选择了澳大利亚国籍。
7 anthem vMRyj     
n.圣歌,赞美诗,颂歌
参考例句:
  • All those present were standing solemnly when the national anthem was played.奏国歌时全场肃立。
  • As he stood on the winner's rostrum,he sang the words of the national anthem.他站在冠军领奖台上,唱起了国歌。
8 opposition eIUxU     
n.反对,敌对
参考例句:
  • The party leader is facing opposition in his own backyard.该党领袖在自己的党內遇到了反对。
  • The police tried to break down the prisoner's opposition.警察设法制住了那个囚犯的反抗。
9 tinged f86e33b7d6b6ca3dd39eda835027fc59     
v.(使)发丁丁声( ting的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • memories tinged with sadness 略带悲伤的往事
  • white petals tinged with blue 略带蓝色的白花瓣
10 controversy 6Z9y0     
n.争论,辩论,争吵
参考例句:
  • That is a fact beyond controversy.那是一个无可争论的事实。
  • We ran the risk of becoming the butt of every controversy.我们要冒使自己在所有的纷争中都成为众矢之的的风险。
11 minarets 72eec5308203b1376230e9e55dc09180     
n.(清真寺旁由报告祈祷时刻的人使用的)光塔( minaret的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Remind you of a mosque, red baked bricks, the minarets. 红砖和尖塔都会使你联想到伊斯兰教的礼拜寺。 来自互联网
  • These purchases usually went along with embellishments such as minarets. 这些购置通常也伴随着注入尖塔等的装饰。 来自互联网
12 socialist jwcws     
n.社会主义者;adj.社会主义的
参考例句:
  • China is a socialist country,and a developing country as well.中国是一个社会主义国家,也是一个发展中国家。
  • His father was an ardent socialist.他父亲是一个热情的社会主义者。
13 precisely zlWzUb     
adv.恰好,正好,精确地,细致地
参考例句:
  • It's precisely that sort of slick sales-talk that I mistrust.我不相信的正是那种油腔滑调的推销宣传。
  • The man adjusted very precisely.那个人调得很准。
14 ethnic jiAz3     
adj.人种的,种族的,异教徒的
参考例句:
  • This music would sound more ethnic if you played it in steel drums.如果你用钢鼓演奏,这首乐曲将更具民族特色。
  • The plan is likely only to aggravate ethnic frictions.这一方案很有可能只会加剧种族冲突。
15 ministry kD5x2     
n.(政府的)部;牧师
参考例句:
  • They sent a deputation to the ministry to complain.他们派了一个代表团到部里投诉。
  • We probed the Air Ministry statements.我们调查了空军部的记录。
16 janitor iaFz7     
n.看门人,管门人
参考例句:
  • The janitor wiped on the windows with his rags.看门人用褴褛的衣服擦着窗户。
  • The janitor swept the floors and locked up the building every night.那个看门人每天晚上负责打扫大楼的地板和锁门。
17 tolerance Lnswz     
n.宽容;容忍,忍受;耐药力;公差
参考例句:
  • Tolerance is one of his strengths.宽容是他的一个优点。
  • Human beings have limited tolerance of noise.人类对噪音的忍耐力有限。
18 immigrated a70310c0c8ae40c26c39d8d0d0f7bb0d     
v.移入( immigrate的过去式和过去分词 );移民
参考例句:
  • He immigrated from Ulster in 1848. 他1848年从阿尔斯特移民到这里。 来自辞典例句
  • Many Pakistanis have immigrated to Britain. 许多巴基斯坦人移居到了英国。 来自辞典例句
19 hostility hdyzQ     
n.敌对,敌意;抵制[pl.]交战,战争
参考例句:
  • There is open hostility between the two leaders.两位领导人表现出公开的敌意。
  • His hostility to your plan is well known.他对你的计划所持的敌意是众所周知的。
20 ploy FuQyE     
n.花招,手段
参考例句:
  • I think this is just a government ploy to deceive the public.我认为这只是政府欺骗公众的手段。
  • Christmas should be a time of excitement and wonder,not a cynical marketing ploy.圣诞节应该是兴奋和美妙的时刻,而不该是一种肆无忌惮的营销策略。
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