“Let’s go and defeat at the polls those who put a target on our backs today”

“Let’s go and defeat at the polls those who put a target on our backs today”
“Let’s go and defeat at the polls those who put a target on our backs today”

JI am writing to you today because, like many of you, I am experiencing with pain and anguish the serious and uncertain electoral period that we are going through. I am addressing all French people who will never be French enough for the National Rally (RN): naturalized people, dual nationals – whether they have chosen to be or are forced to do so by the nationality rules of their birth – , and all those who, born and living in France for decades, sons and daughters of immigrants, French overseas, in reality never have the right first name, the right religion, the right skin color for ‘far right. Today, more than ever, we have a target on our backs.

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She is the daughter of immigrants who is speaking to you, born Moroccan in a village in the Rif, came to France at the age of 4 with her mother and family to join her father, a construction worker. I know what I owe to the Republic, to its public school, to its books which have broadened my horizons, to its associative and political fabric in which I am involved. This country is mine, it’s ours.

I never carried my identity over my shoulder, because I wanted to be a free woman and not let anyone confine me to my origins; and also, like many of us, blending in, being judged by my actions and not by where my family comes from.

Fights for equality

When I was a minister, I realized that it was not so easy, and that however far we pushed our “integration”, it only aroused the anger of the populist right, who targeted much more than our colleagues, and always differently. I knew the weak and narrow minds were on the lookout for the slightest pretext to caricature us as unsuitable, dangerous, or threatening.

My trajectory is just one testimony among others to the destinies of immigrants in France. I am aware of the difficulties that society has placed in our path, of the illusions of meritocracy when it remains distorted by social elitism, of discrimination and racism which are not residual. For us, the fights for equality are always harder, longer, more painful. But, in a Republic which claims equality and fraternity, they were until now possible, they are carried out with the reinforcement of the law, the vigilance of associations and unions, the support of citizens. This is all that is threatened tomorrow.

Everything had been in the making for a long time. How many times, in recent years, have we gritted our teeth in the face of the “great debates on national identity” which turn into great xenophobic vents? How many times have we had to endure the permanent exploitation of the slightest news item to stigmatize minorities as a whole rather than holding their authors responsible and seriously addressing their causes? As if delinquency, fanaticism or violence against women seriously had a skin color.

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