La question noire : une essai sur l’émergence d’une conscience noire au 21e siècle

By Shane Cassidy

Discussion sur les groupes minoritaires de la France conduit inévitablement à des remarques sur la maghrébins et musulmans. Cela dit, il existe un autre groupe qui est souvent négligé. Les Noirs en France. La population noire a lutté pendant longtemps pour obtenir une reconnaissance dans la société française et au cours des 10 dernières années, ils ont lentement commencé à réussir. En France, un principe central du républicanisme, c’est que la seule identité légitime dans la sphère publique est la citoyenneté. Pour cette raison, aucun origines ethniques sont officiellement reconnues dans la République française comme tous les citoyens sont reconnus comme étant les mêmes. Mais la même que quoi exactement?

Les noirs ont eu une longue histoire mouvementée en France. Les travailleurs immigrés qui viennent en France apportent avec eux une culture spécifique. Ils ont leurs coutumes, leurs traditions, leur religion, leur langue, leur musique, leur cuisine, leur façon de s’habiller. Mais maintenant il ya des deuxième et troisième générations qui émergent et qui se considèrent comme tout à fait français. Leur présence dans le sport et les aires culturelles et, dans une moindre mesure dans les arts, est incontestable. Cependant, dans le sphère de la politique et la représentation publique, ils restent très a la périphérie. Il est inégale et injuste que les noirs français vivent dans une démocratie ouverte devrait être restreints dans leur représentations. En plus, beaucoup des noirs ont du mal a s’intégrer dans la société française. Par ailleurs, les partis politiques française ont exploité la situation vulnérable de cet peuple dans la société pour promouvoir leurs idéaux du républicanisme et parvenir a une position de pouvoir.

A la suite de cela, et aussi la discrimination que ces noirs ont connue, un certain nombre d’organisations de base ont été crées pour aider les immigrants a améliorer leurs vies et a améliorer le processus d’intégration. En 2005 le Conseil Représentative des Associations Noirs en France ( CRAN) a été lancé pour améliorer la situation. Leur tache a été de mettre en évidence le sort de cet question noir et aussi d’atteindre un meilleur niveau de compréhension sur les noirs français et d’éviter le racisme. Si la France est vraiment un pays de liberté, égalité, fraternité, alors pourquoi y t-il tant d’organisations qui existent pour lutter contre le racisme et discrimination ?

Je veux explorer comment la question noire a réussi à devenir une question importante au cours des 10 dernières années et quels facteurs ont contribué d’alimenter cette question. Je veux examiner les effets que Le CRAN ont eu sur la société française et de déterminer ou, s’il est indiqué, est-ce qu’ils ont réussi a changer la mentalité ou de consensus concernant les noirs en France. Enfin, je veux voir dans quelle mesure, au pays des Droits de l’Homme, certains naissent moins libres et égaux que d’autres.

1 : Les Noirs en France

Les Noirs en France

Il est important de noter que les Noirs dans la société française peuvent être largement divisées en 2 groupes principaux, ceux de régions françaises d’outre-mer appelées DOM-TOM, qui étaient d’anciennes colonies de la France. Le second groupe est formé de ceux d’Afrique sub-saharienne qui ont émigré des anciennes colonies françaises comme le Sénégal et la Côte d’Ivoire. En outre, il y a ceux qui étaient d’anciens soldats, enrôlés pour combattre pour la France durant les deux guerres mondiales.C’est vraiment une lapalissade de dire que c’est difficile de trouver un point commun entre le fils musulman d’un immigré Africaine et un Guadeloupéen qui est catholique. En revanche, il existe un point commun entre eux et c’est le fait d’être noir. Il est clair que le profilage ethnique est une réalité en France et en 2009, la Justice Initiative de la Open Society  a produit une étude qui a montré que les noirs étaient 6 fois plus susceptibles d’être interpellé que les Blancs [1]. De plus, 31% des Noirs répondants ont déclaré avoir été arrêté entre deux et quatre fois par mois[2].  Cela crée un cadre pour les organisations de travailler au nom des droits des noirs tout en reconnaissant également qu’il existe des différences entre eux.

Le contexte historique

Pour mieux comprendre le développement socioculturel en France et les difficultés que les noirs rencontrent, il est important de comprendre certains événements historiques qui ont finalement conduit à cette émergence d’une conscience noire dans la France contemporaine. En 1789, l’introduction du slogan «Liberté, Égalité et Fraternité et les idées de républicanisme et de l’universalisme a favorisé et maintenu la conviction que tous les hommes sont égaux. Malgré que cette déclaration avait des valeurs nobles et admirables par contre, en même temps dans une des colonies françaises, San Domingue, c’était un cas distinct. La France refusait d’implémenter la Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et a continué de suivre la Code Noir qui imposait des conditions cruelles et sévère sur les noirs. Par conséquent en 1804, les esclaves révoltés a réussi de gagner leur indépendance et de créer leur propres pays, Haïti. Sous la direction de Toussaint Louverture, c’était la première et seule fois que les esclaves révoltés ont réussi à créer leur propre pays et d’abolir l’escla[3]. En plus, dans l’histoire de la France ca été la première fois où la France a dû accepter que les Noirs étaient plus que des esclaves et cet événement a établi un précédent et en 1848 la France a finalement aboli l’esclavage[4].

A partir de 1870 jusqu’au milieu du XXe siècle, après la défaite de la guerre franco-prussienne, la 3ème République française a commencé de consolider sa pouvoir qu’elle a établi dans ses colonies dans l’Afrique-Occidentale française (AOF). Dans ces pays africains, la France a appliqué l’idée d’assimilation et c’était fondamental d’accepter que la culture, la langue et les coutumes françaises étaient meilleurs que ceux des Africains dans ses colonies. La 3ème République essayait dans les écoles, l’armée et les lieu de travail de renforcer les «valeurs» français et ses mesures ont allé jusqu’à les colonies françaises aussi. Vers 1889, la 3ème République a introduit le Code de la Nationalité française qui a favorisé les politiques d’assimilation. Il a placé la citoyenneté de la France au-dessus de toutes les autres loyautés régionales et c’était la première loi sur la nationalité française qui a imposé le double « jus soli » : c’est-à-dire celui qui est né en France et de parents nés en France est Français[5]. Les pratiques de la 3e République ont beaucoup contribué a la vision contemporaine des Noirs en France parce que cette idée d’assimilation et les idées de l’adoption de pratiques françaises ont diminué toutes les autres cultures à une position secondaire.

Sous le gouvernement Vichy, les Noirs ont été considères comme une « race guerrière » et pendant les deux guerres mondiales les Noirs ont été recrutés pour combattre pour la France. Bien connus comme les Tirailleurs Sénégalais, ils ont représentaient 15% des effectifs total français lors du premier conflit mondiale dont 200 000 soldats venue d’AOF[6]. Même si ils ont combattaient et mourraient pour la France, une image de personnes simples créée par le pouvoir d’éviter le progression des Noirs à émergée, notamment le tirailler sénégalais sur les célèbres boites de cacao jaunes avec le slogan « y a bon Banania »[7].

Figure 1: Le slogan publicitaire “y a bon Banania” lancée en 1915

Pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale les Tirailleurs Sénégalais se sont encore bataille contre les Nazies en métropole. En dépit du fait qu’ils ont fait une grande partie de la libération de la France, ils ont été traité affreusement mal par le gouvernement français qui a refusé de payer les Tirailleurs Sénégalais la même retraite que les soldats françaises. Dans une cas en particulier, les Tirailleurs Sénégalais ont regroupé pour réclamer le paiement et l’affaire a culminé dans une massacre de 24 Tirailleurs Sénégalais[8]. En plus que cela, General de Gaulle a participé dans la blanchiment de la libération de Paris en enlevant la plupart des soldats noirs pour la libération de Paris[9].

En 1958 la Ve République a créée une nouvelle constitution. Le premier article de la constitution clairement énoncé que  «La France est une République indivisible, laïque, démocratique et sociale. Elle assure l’Égalité devant la loi de tous les citoyens sans distinction d’origine, de religion»[10]. Bien que les intentions de l’article soient admirables, cette article va à l’encontre du but parce qu’au lieu de créer un pays où tous les citoyens sont sur un pied d’égalité, l’article permet par inadvertance à la discrimination de prospérer.

Pendant la période de l’après-guerre à 1990, le nombre des noirs dans le pays a augmenté mais bien que la proportion n’ait pas grandi, les immigrés et leurs enfants françaises ont été nettement plus visibles. Comme l’économie s’est affaiblie après les trente glorieuses, les partis politiques comme le Front National ont été créés et un message plus à droite et xénophobe a été communiqué par son dirigeant Jean-Marie Le Pen qui parlait d’un problème d’immigration. Le problème pour beaucoup de noirs en France était que ni eux ni leurs parents ni étaient des immigrés. Beaucoup étaient venus des DOM-TOM, ils étaient français et leurs parents sont français aussi. Donc,  ils ont été considérés comme visiblement différent de ce qui était perçu comme «français». Être noir c’était être étranger, immigré, et pas français. Par conséquent, plusieurs groupes ont été fondée pour la promotion des droits des Noirs.

L’Émergence des groupes contre le racisme anti-noir

La traitement des Noirs par la France dans sa histoire présente une image d’une pouvoir coloniale. Étant donné c’est utile de se rendre compte que les Noirs Français sont Français aussi. Dans les années 1920 et 30, Aimé Césaire et Léon Damas, avec d’autres, ont crées le mouvement de la Négritude[11]. D’une part, ce mouvement a travaillé à la promotion de la culture et de l’identité noire, mais d’autre part ce mouvement a été limité à un groupe d’intellectuels et d’écrivains qui décrivaient ​​leurs expériences plutôt que d’un mouvement pour le représentation des noirs. Dans les années 1980 et 1990, le chômage entre les Noirs dans les banlieues a beaucoup augmenté. Ils se sont senti délaissés et leurs conditions de la vie a beaucoup diminué[12]. Une sentiment d’isolation a développée et les Noirs résidant dans les banlieues ont été plus exposés au chômage que les autres français. Par conséquent les organisations telles que SOS Racisme et Le Mouvement de l’immigration et des Banlieues ont lutté contre l’inégalité la discrimination des noirs.

Bien que les organisations ont commencé de lutter, le succès de groupes juifs à convaincre le gouvernement français en 1995 à admettre sa responsabilité dans l’adoption de la législation anti-juive en 1940 et la déportation des juifs pour être ensuite exterminés était très important pour les Noirs[13]. En outre, dans une moindre mesure, en 2000, des groupes représentatifs arméniens avaient réussi à obtenir du parlement français une reconnaissance de l’assassinat en masse des Arméniens par la Turquie entre 1915-1917 comme génocide[14]. Ces actions ont encouragé les groupes noirs à lutter pour plus de reconnaissance.  Alors en 1998, la commémoration du 150e anniversaire de l’abolition de l’esclavage était une indication que la France était prête, bien qu’à contrecœur, à faire face à son passé colonial. Ainsi, en 2001, Christiane Taubira, une politicienne noire de la Guyane française fait adopter une loi qui reconnaissait le rôle de la France dans le commerce des esclaves. Par conséquent, cinq ans plus tard, Le Président française Jacques Chirac a choisi le 10 mai 2006 comme la date. En reconnaissant l’esclavage comme un « crime contre l’humanité », l’idée d’une identité noire commençait à développer.

Le début du 21ème siècle a également vu l’émergence d’organisations représentant les intérêts des noirs. L’un de celles-ci est Collectif DOM qui a été créé en 2003 par Patrick Karam, dans le but de défendre les droits de ceux des Antilles Françaises, de Guyane, de Mayotte et de la Réunion. Ils ont attiré l’attention du public quand ils ont fait un procès à l’historien Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau pour avoir suggéré dans un de ses livres que la traite négrière n’était pas un génocide dans la mesure où les maîtres d’esclaves n’avaient jamais eu l’intention de tuer les esclaves[15]. Toutefois dans le deuxième chapitre je me concentrerai sur Le CRAN, une organisation contre la discrimination anti-noirs.

2 : L’Émergence d’une voix noire au 21e siècle

Les émeutes de 2005

En 2005, la France a connu des émeutes énormes, principalement dans les banlieues les plus pauvres où une forte minorité de Noirs résident. Ces émeutes, qui ont causé environ 200 millions d’euros de dégâts, ont provoqué un débat sur ​​la relation de France et les Noirs et leurs banlieues où ils vivent[16]. Il était clair qu’il y avait une grande déconnexion entre la vie politique et la réalité de ces zones urbaines les plus pauvres et la France a fourni une illustration intéressante de son traitement des Noirs après les émeutes. L’Assemblée nationale a essayé de rendre les rappeurs français responsables des émeutes. Ceux qui s’opposent au collecte des statistiques de la diversité n’avaient pas un problème de parler sur les Noirs ou les Arabes pendant les émeutes. Pendant et après les émeutes de 2005, des images de jeunes hommes noirs dans les émeutes ont été présentées dans les rapports de télévision et dans les journaux. Le ministre de l’Intérieur, Nicolas Sarkozy avec Gérard Larcher de l’UMP, entre autres, ont parlé de la polygamie dans les familles noires en raison des émeutes[17]. Alain Finkielkraut, l’écrivain français, à la suite des émeutes a parlé de son dégoût de la façon dont l’équipe de football française était devenue «Black, Black, Black» [18]. Bien que les Noirs n’aient pas été présentés d’une manière équitable, ils ont été maltraités dans les médias nationaux. Alors, comment est-il possible de parler du respect pour la société quand les Noirs se sentent complètement isolés de la société française. Donc, il était évident qu’il y avait une version particulière et trompeuse sur les Noirs qui prenait forme en France et que les Noirs ont besoin d’être équitablement représentés.

Le CRAN

Initialement connu comme Cercle d’Action pour la Promotion de la Diversité (CAPDIV), il a changé son nom en le Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noirs (CRAN), qui a été fondée en 2005. L’émergence du CRAN n’était pas un événement isolé. En réalité, c’est la continuation de groupes noirs qui ont mis en forme l’identité noire en France[19]. Cependant, la signification de la création du CRAN, car il agit au nom de 120 associations, c’est ce qu’il a réussi à forcer la société française à reconnaître l’authenticité de leur message noir[20]. Le CRAN veut briser le tabou du mot « noir » parce que c’était un mot stigmatisé. C’était important pour le CRAN d’utiliser le mot «noir»  car il agissaient directement au nom des Noirs en France. «Black», «minorité visible», «issu de la diversité» tous ces mots étaient acceptables à dire, mais le mot «noir» était tabou. Mais les Noirs sont victimes de discrimination parce qu’ils sont noirs. Donc, il était fondamental que le CRAN reflété cette réalité. Cela a été le premier succès du CRAN. En légitimant le mot, il faut accepter qu’il y a des Noirs français aussi.

Les statistiques de la diversité

Le deuxième tabou pour le CRAN, c’est le tabou du nombre. Apparemment, les Noirs n’ont pas le droit de se compter en France. Le rassemblement des statistiques de la diversité est  une question qui provoque des divisions profondes et une langue très émotive quand il est débattu. SOS Racisme, un groupe dédié à la lutte contre le racisme, est fortement contre les statistiques de la diversité a déclaré que ceux qui soutiennent les statistiques « soutiennent que ce sera le retour aux politiques de Vichy en France »[21]. Fadela Amara, l’ancienne présidente de Ni Putes Ni Soumises, a également évoqué le souvenir du gouvernement de Vichy en disant : «Plus personne ne doit porter l’étoile jaune»[22]. L’une des seules institutions nationales à collecter des statistiques sur la diversité est la ‘Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur’[23]. Donc, cela signifie qu’il n’y a presque aucune institution qui rassemble des statistiques et les institutions qui les rassemblent le font pour les enquêtes sur le comportement criminel.

L’un des objectifs principaux du CRAN est la promotion du collecte des statistiques de la diversité. Selon le CRAN, pour lutter contre le racisme et la discrimination indirecte dont les Noirs sont régulièrement victimes, il est import de mieux connaitre le discrimination pour la combattre. Sans les informations utiles il n’existe aucun moyen pour exposer le niveau de discrimination qui existe en France. Selon une enquête menée en 2003 par TNS-Sofres, 71% des répondants croyaient que les personnes d’origine en africaine sont victimes de discrimination[24].Or, il y avait quelques problèmes avec cette enquête. Tout d’abord, tous les Noirs ne sont pas d’origines d’Afrique. Alors, la référence aux «Africains» était inappropriée. Deuxièmement, les Noirs ont été empêchés d’avoir leur propre voix. On n’a pas demandé aux Noirs spécifiquement s’ils avaient déjà connu le racisme personnelle. Ainsi, en Janvier 2007 Le CRAN a publié la première étude sur les statistiques de la diversité publiées en France. Il s’agit d’une avancée majeure et le sondage a constaté que 61% des personnes interrogées avaient été victimes de discrimination au cours des 12 mois précédents[25]. En plus de cela, l’enquête a révélé qu’il y a environ 1 850 000 personnes âgées de plus de 18 ans qui s’identifient comme «noir». Le succès de cette sondage a également révélé que la croyance que le rassemblement des statistiques ethniques est illégal n’est pas fondée. La loi Informatique et libertés de 1978 est souvent citée comme la preuve qu’il est illégal de rassembler des statistiques. La loi interdit le rassemblement des donnés sur les origines ethniques. Cependant cette loi est aussi accompagnée par une série de dispositions où il est légalement autorisée de rassembler des statistiques. Ces dispositions stipulent que le répondant doit donner son autorisation pour être interrogé et le sondage doit être anonyme[26].

La sphère politique

Pour améliorer la situation des Noirs, le CRAN publie des études avant chaque élection présidentielle et continue d’appeler pour un débat au sujet de la diversité dans la vie politique d’abord afin de mettre en évidence la discrimination et le racisme que les Noirs rencontrent en France et aussi pour montrer que les Noirs sont toujours sous-représentés dans la politique[27]. Il est devenu de plus en plus difficile pour les politiciens d’éviter les questions concernant les statistiques et leurs projets pour améliorer les conditions pour les Noirs. Le CRAN a encouragé et soutenu les tentatives du Président François Hollande pour supprimer le mot « race » de la Constitution Française car le CRAN estiment que la différence raciale n’existe pas.  En 2002, Christiane Taubira est devenue la première femme noire candidate aux élections présidentielles 2002 et bien qu’elle n’ait pas réussi, elle a reçu 2,32 % des voix[28]. En revanche, la même année Jean-Marie Le Pen a réussi de recueillir 16,8 % des voix et cela a montré les différences d’opinion qui existaient en France. Depuis 2002, la France a connu une augmentation du nombre de politiciens noirs. Il y a eu notamment Rama Yade au gouvernent de Nicolas Sarkozy et pour la première fois il y a trois ministres noirs dans le gouvernement actuel de François Hollande ; Christiane Taubira, Victorin Lurel et George Pau-Langevin.

Figure 2: Christiane Taubira, Victorin Lurel et George Pau-Langevin

De plus, le 18 novembre 2012, il a été annoncé que Harlem Désir avait été choisi pour diriger le parti socialiste en France. Il est devenu le premier homme noir à diriger un parti politique français[29]. Toutefois, le CRAN veut voir des résultats concrète parce qu’un ou deux politiciens noirs ne changeront rien. Sans introduire de législation, le gouvernement français risque de participer à une politique de tokenism.[30] Pendant cette période en 2007, à la suite de la publication de l’enquête du CRAN, pour la première fois  une provision a été proposée par la Commission des Lois de l’Assemblée Nationale pour introduire le rassemblement de données sur les origines diverses. Initialement, elle a été acceptée par l’Assemblée Nationale mais enfin elle a été rejetée en novembre 2007 par le Conseil Constitutionnel car c’était considéré comme contraire à l’Article 8 de la Loi Informatique et libertés de 1978.

Les Médias

Figure 3: La couverture du Nouvel Observateur

Au cours des 10 dernières années, les Noirs dans les médias ont commencé à obtenir de plus en plus une visibilité. Déjà établis dans le monde du sport et de la musique, maintenant il est possible de voir les Noirs présenter des émissions de télévision. En 2004, Audrey Pulvar est devenue la première femme noire présentatrice des informations à la télévision française  France 3[31]. Bien que la chaîne n’était pas la chaîne la plus regardée en France, c’était un moment historique. Après les émeutes en France il était plus pertinent que jamais que les Noirs soient mieux représentés. Par conséquent , en 2006, Harry Roselmack a également créé l’histoire en devenant le premier homme noir à présenter les nouvelles sur ​​TF1, une chaîne très regardée[32].  En 2006 également, Le Nouvel Observateur a publié une édition avec le titre « Nous les Noirs de France »[33]. C’était un précédent et pour la première fois, on a directement examiné la question des Noirs français et montré qu’ils sont noirs et français.

Le CRAN considère que les Noirs sont sous-représentées à la télévision française et il soutient les initiatives qui augmentent la conscience des Noirs dans les médias et en 2012, le CRAN a été l’un des plus grands supporters de Miss Black France, une alternative à Miss France, pour souligner le manque de femmes noires dans le concours Miss France. Depuis sa création, Le CRAN a fait campagne pour que la télévision reflète mieux la diversité de la société française mais malgré le succès d’Audrey Pulvar et de Harry Roselmack, c’étaient deux cas très exceptionnels; et les Noirs restaient pratiquement invisibles à la télévision française. En conséquence, en 2009, le Conseil Supérieur d’Audiovisuel (CSA) a publié sa première étude de la diversité à la télévision[34]. Pour éviter d’utiliser certains mots comme «noire» ou «blanche», le CSA a demandé aux répondants si les gens à la télévision ont été «perçu comme blanc» ou «perçu comme non blanc ». Les résultats de l’étude ont montré que la grande majorité des personnes représentées dans les publicités, émissions de télévision, le sport, la musique étaient tous «perçu comme blanc ». Chaque année depuis 2009, la CSA a publié leurs résultats et l’enquête de 2012 a révélé que la représentation des personnes «considérées comme non blanc» avait augmenté de 3%[35]. C’est un processus lent, mais il est en cours et ces jours-ci il est plus facile qu’avant de voir des Noirs à la télévision comme Arnaud Ngatcha et Karine le Marchand. En plus, à partir du 12 décembre 2012, Numéro 23, une nouvelle chaîne qui a l’ambition de représenter toutes les diversités commencera à émettre. En 2012, Omar Sy est devenu le premier acteur noir à gagner le César du meilleur acteur mais c’était une arme à double tranchant[36].  En gagnant le prix c’était certes une occasion très historique mais en même temps il a gagné le prix pour son interprétation d’un stéréotype des banlieues. On peut accepter l’argument que le film reflète la société et il y a des Noirs qui viennent des banlieues; par contre cela nous montre que les Noirs sont toujours perçus comme des jeunes hommes avec un frère qui vend des drogues. Pour mieux comprendre les Noirs français, il faut voir et accepter que les Noirs ne sont pas seulement les trafiquants de drogue et les pauvres. La communauté noire est riche et diverse et les médias doivent refléter cette réalité à la télévision et au cinéma. Cependant, comme nous le verrons dans le troisième chapitre, les progrès ont été très lents dans la vie politique française, au détriment des Noirs

3 : L’illusion de l’efficacité

Un pas en avant, deux pas en arrière

Dans ses efforts pour lutter contre le racisme, la France a adopté des lois qui tendent à éliminer le racisme et elle a aussi créé en 2004 la HALDE, une organisation indépendante engagée à la lutte contre la discrimination[37]. En plus de cela, en tant que membre de l’Union européenne la France a accepté la directive 2000/43/CE qui traite de la lutte contre le racisme en milieu de travail[38]. À la surface, la France fait face à la question et les exemples du chapitre précédent sont des exemples de progrès qui ont été réalisés. Comme c’est souvent le cas, cependant, la réalité de la situation est plus nuancé.  La criminalisation de la discrimination ne peut pas prévenir la discrimination  à l’embauche.

Un plafond de verre existe pour les Noirs qui sont victimes de discrimination et le marché du travail est très difficile[39]. Des études ont montré que la présence d’un nom marqué quant à l’origine peut être un obstacle à l’obtention d’un emploi[40]. Les employeurs hésitent à recruter des employés noirs et ils se débarrassent de toute responsabilité en utilisant des excuses faciles. On a dit à un candidat « Je veux bien vous prendre mais c’est au niveau de ma clientèle. Ma clientèle ne veut pas voir des noirs »[41]. En même temps le gouvernement se débarrasse de toute responsabilité en se référant aux lois anti-discrimination. En plus, même obtenir un poste ne garanti pas qu’on sera libre de racisme; un candidat a été informé par un patron «Que fais-tu là? Je ne veux pas de toi ici, je ferai tout pour me débarrasser de toi »[42]. Comment est-il possible alors de prouver que les lois anti-discrimination sont efficaces si il n’y a guère d’employés noirs pour les tester ? Il est inutile d’avoir des lois contre la discrimination si les Noirs ne peuvent même pas obtenir un emploi et la faiblesse gouvernementale facilite la discrimination.

Ces lois n’arrivent pas à la racine du problème de la discrimination, en particulier quand les initiales « BBR », bleu blanc rouge, sont utilisées comme une référence à la préférence des employeurs pour les travailleurs français de souche. En 2011, L’Oréal et Adecco, l’agence de l’emploi la plus grande du monde, ont été reconnus coupables de chercher à embaucher des vendeurs qui n’étaient que «BBR»[43].

En 2006, pour éviter cette situation, la loi  pour l’égalité des chances a introduit une mesure qui oblige les entreprises de plus de 50 salariés à procéder à l’anonymisation des CV[44].  Le problème avec cette mesure ce que ce n’est qu’une mesure provisoire et il faut que la Conseil d’Etat l’autoriser mais jusqu’à présent, la mesure n’a pas été légalement adopté. Néanmoins AXA, l’entreprise d’assurance la plus grande en Europe, a choisi de mettre en place la pratique de CV anonymes en 2005 malgré le fait qu’aussi récemment que 2011 Yazid Sabeg, le commissaire à la diversité et à l’égalité des chances, a dénoncé l’idée de CV anonymes obligatoires[45] .

Ce problème a acquis un poids économique majeur aussi et ce n’est pas seulement liés au monde du travail car beaucoup de Noirs habite dans les banlieues pauvres et par conséquent en 2011 Kamel Hamza, le président de l’ANELD (association nationale des élus locaux pour la diversité) a annoncé qu’ils ont reçu 50 millions d’euro du gouvernement du Qatar pour aider les entrepreneurs dans les banlieues. Clairement, la réticence de la France à aider ces régions pauvres a créé une situation où l’investissement extérieur a dû prendre la place de celui du gouvernement français. En conséquence, le Président François Hollande a dû accepter aussi de fournir 50 millions d’euros pour les régions les plus pauvres[46].

Le CRAN et l’avenir

Figure 4: Un jeune homme noir arrêté par la police

En 2007, la France a introduit des quotas d’expulsion des immigrés illégaux selon lesquels la police peut arrêter ceux qui sont perçus comme des immigrés. Théoriquement, tout le monde est potentiellement un immigré mais ce sont surtout les Noirs et les Maghrébins qui ont senti tout le poids de cette politique. Afin d’éviter le délit de faciès, le CRAN soutenaient l’idée de le récépissé du contrôle d’identité qui a été promis par Président François Hollande pendant les élections présidentielles[47]. De cette façon, un record de tous les arrêts excessifs peut être conservé et utilisé si nécessaire pour mettre en évidence un comportement discriminatoire[48]. En 2012 cependant, Manuel Valls, en parlant sur l’honnêteté morale des policiers a abandonné l’idée donc le CRAN doit retrouver une nouvelle approche[49].

De plus, le CRAN est en train de travailler sur la question des réparations en ce qui concerne l’esclavage[50].  Bien que beaucoup de travail ait été fait pour mettre en évidence la situation des Noirs pendant l’époque du esclavage, il reste toujours beaucoup à faire. Le CRAN maintient que les réparations doivent être payés pour que la France puisse vraiment se réconcilier avec son passé colonial.

Cette question demande une attention politique et Christiane Taubira a beaucoup accompli sur cette question, mais il est maintenant nécessaire que les autres politiciens prennent les rênes. Et c’est là où la France est exposée par son diversité déséquilibré. Malgré tous le progrès, seulement 3 des 577 membres de l’Assemblée nationale sont noirs. En fait, dans les élections de 2012 pas un seul membre noir a été élu par la droite[51]. Sans représentation adéquate le CRAN aura du mal à avoir un impact et donc l’augmentation des représentants politique doit continuer d’être une priorité.

Conclusion

Comme nous avons vu, le traitement historique de la France noire associé à des troubles économiques et civils a permis à une nouvelle conscience noire d’émerger en France autour de l’an 2000. La France noire est une élément intégrante et complexe de la France où ils ont joué un rôle très importante et actif dans l’histoire du pays.

Il est clair que certains progrès ont été réalisés mais ce n’est que la partie visible de l’iceberg. En réalité, il existe toujours un faille importante dans la société française. Le danger est que si les Noirs sont plus visibles dans les médias et la politique, le pays risque de se laisser aller à un sentiment de sécurité trompeur. Le cas de Barack Obama est un exemple parfait : un homme noir élu président des États-Unis suggère que les Etats-Unis ont réussi à surmonter leur problème avec le racisme, mais les statistiques montrent qu’il existe toujours d’énormes problèmes raciaux aux États-Unis[52].

Aujourd’hui la société française est plus consciente de sa communauté noire qu’auparavant. Grâce à des organisations comme le CRAN, on constate une plus grande prise de conscience de la lutte des Noirs car ils ont fait campagne sans relâche pour leurs propres droits. Bien que des progrès ait été réalisés, il y a encore un long chemin à parcourir. Il semble donc évident que les propositions comme les statistiques sur la diversité devraient être encouragées pour lutter contre la dure réalité sociale des Noirs. Au lieu de rejeter automatiquement ces idées, il faudrait laisser la place à un débat ouvert et franc sur la meilleure façon de traiter la question noire. Ce n’est pas simplement une affaire du racisme de l’extrême droite étant donné que certains dirigeants de gauche ont officiellement exprimé leur opposition contre les statistiques sur la diversité[53]. Il s’agit d’un problème plus profond, où la confiance de la France en sa constitution républicaine la laisse effectivement aveugle aux problèmes auxquels les Noirs sont confrontés. L’idéal républicain rejette l’idée de communautarisme, mais en refusant la proposition des statistiques il est très possible qu’un communautarisme sera créé. En plus, si la France continue de collecter des statistiques seulement sur la criminalité cela va créer une image déformé des Noirs en France.

Benedict Anderson avance que l’identité nationale est une communauté imaginée, créée par des gens[54]. On ne peut pas mesurer l’identité nationale et ce n’est pas un objet tangible, mais elle existe encore dans l’esprit de la population.  La France a donc la possibilité de rééquilibrer sa société en une société qui sera basée sur la reconnaissance mutuelle et où elle pourra surmonter les vieilles suspicions de communautarisme pour créer une société plus inclusive. La profonde méfiance en ce qui concerne les statistiques créer un sentiment d’isolement définitive d’isoler définitivement parmi les Noirs. Si la France ne veut plus subir de nouvelles émeutes il est donc crucial d’éviter les gestes purement symboliques comme les lois anti-discrimination et de traiter les problèmes au fond. Sinon, il y a un risque réel que le communautarisme tant redouté  de viendra une réalité.

Reference


[2] http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/french_20090630_0.pdf p.35

[3] Aimé Césaire, Toussaint Louverture : la Révolution française et la problème colonial, Paris, Présence africain, 1962, p. 261

[4] Frédéric Regent, La France et ses esclaves : de la colonisation aux abolitions, 120-1848, Paris, Grasset, 2007, p. 315

[6] Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard et Laurent Gervereau, Images et Colonies, Iconographie et propagandes coloniale sur l’Afrique Française de 1880 à1962, ParisBDIC édition, p 74

[7] Pap Ndiaye, La Condition Noire, Paris, Gallimard, 2009 p.156

[8] Pap Ndiaye, p.184

[9] Myron J Echenberg, Les Tirailleurs sénégalais en Afrique occidentale française, 1857-1960, Paris, CREPOS, 2009, p. 173

[10] http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/connaissance/constitution.asp

[11] http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/histoire/aime-cesaire/negritude.asp

[12] http://www.bip40.org/autour-du-bip40/emploi/immigration-emploi-et-chomage

[13] Suzanne Citron, L’histoire de France autrement, Paris, Ouvrières, 1992, p. 195

[14] Stéphane Dufoix, La politique des mémoires en France, Paris, Ed. de l’Eclat, 2006, p.85

[15] Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau, Les traites négrières: Essai d’histoire globale, Paris, Gallimard, 2004

[16] http://lci.tf1.fr/economie/2005-12/emeutes-assureurs-confirment-200-millions-euros-degats-4877680.html

[19] Abdoulaye Gueye, Rompre le silence: l’émergence d’une voix noire collective en France, du Bois Review: recherche en sciences sociales sur la race 7, n ° 1 (2010):  p.82

[20] http://lecran.org/?cat=234

[21] http://www.sos-racisme.org/content/campagne-contre-la-statistique-ethnique

[22] http://www.liberation.fr/societe/0101555717-fadela-amara-opposee-aux-statistiques-ethniques

[23] http://www.police-nationale.interieur.gouv.fr/Organisation/Direction-Centrale-du-Renseignement-Interieur

[25] http://www.le-cran.fr/document-cran-associations-noires-de-france/1-la-premiere-enquete-statistique-sur-les-noirs-de-france—une–realisation-le-cran-tns-sofres.pdf

[26] http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006068624&dateTexte=20080609

[27] http://lecran.org/?p=2973

[28] http://dev.ulb.ac.be/cevipol/en/elections_france_presidentielles_2002.html

[29] http://www.lepoint.fr/politique/harlem-desir-nouveau-premier-secretaire-du-ps-18-10-2012-1518547_20.php

[30] Le terme anglais est utilisé par Pap Ndiaye, p.354

[31] http://www.liberation.fr/medias/0101163984-du-cran-a-l-ecran

[32] http://www.lemonde.fr/actualite-medias/article/2006/11/10/la-representation-des-minorites-progresse-dans-l-audiovisuel-francais-indique-le-csa_833278_3236.html

[33] http://www.grioo.com/info6640.html

[34] http://www.csa.fr/Etudes-et-publications/Les-observatoires/L-observatoire-de-la-diversite/Les-resultats-de-la-premiere-vague-du-barometre-de-la-diversite-a-la-television-Septembre-2009

[35] http://www.csa.be/system/documents_files/1712/original/Barom%C3%A8tre%202012.pdf?1332936426

[36] http://www.lemonde.fr/cinema/article/2012/02/25/des-cesars-2012-domines-par-the-artist_1648296_3476.html

[38] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?language=FR&reference=A6-2007-0278&type=REPORT

[39] François Durpraire, France blanche, colère noire, Paris, Jacob, 2006, p.92

[40] http://www.lexpress.fr/emploi-carriere/le-racisme-au-travail_494143.html

[41] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIDygPXsJ9w (6.03sec) Documentaire Le plafond de verre dirigé par Yamina Benguigui

[42] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_BZMquSvjo (3.46sec ), reportage télévisé par Euronews , 25/05/12

[44] http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000268539

[45] http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2009/11/03/relance-du-cv-anonyme-outil-de-lutte-contre-la-discrimination-a-l-embauche_1261942_3224.html

[47] http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2012/06/01/le-gouvernement-travaille-au-recepisse-pour-controle-d-identite_822904

[48] http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2009/12/10/01011-20091210FILWWW00563-controles-au-facies-proposition-du-cran.php

[49] http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2012/06/01/01016-20120601ARTFIG00604-controles-d-identite-la-grogne-policiere-s-amplifie.php

[50] http://www.le-cran.fr/reparations-cran-associations-noires-de-france_indexe_depeches_0_0_0.html

[51] http://www.francetv.fr/2012/la-diversite-fait-son-entree-a-lassemblee-151253

[53] http://www.liberation.fr/evenement/010194900-pas-d-ethnique-dans-les-statistiques

[54] Nous nous appuyons ici sur Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, pp. 48-49

Bibliographie

Sources Primaires

Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London, Verso, 1996

Bancel, Nicolas, Blanchard, Pascal et Gervereau, Laurent, Images et Colonies, Iconographie et propagandes coloniale sur l’Afrique Française de 1880 à 1962, ParisBDIC édition, 1993

Blanchard, Pascal, La France Noire. Trois siècles de présences des Afriques, des Caraïbes, de l’océan Indien et d’Océanie, Paris, la Découverte, 2011

Césaire, Aimé, Toussaint Louverture : la Révolution Française et le problème colonial, Paris, Présence africaine, 1962

Citron, Suzanne, L’histoire de France autrement, Paris, Ouvrières, 1992

Dufoix, Stéphane, La politique des mémoires en France, Paris, Ed. de l’Eclat, 2006

Echenberg, Myron J, Les Tirailleurs sénégalais en Afrique occidentale française, 1857-1960, Paris, CREPOS, 2009

Lozès, Patrick, Les Noirs sont-ils des Français à part entière ?, Paris, éditions Larousse, 2009

Lozès, Patrick, Nous, les Noirs de France, Paris, éditions Danger public, 2007

Ndiaye, Pap,  La Condition Noire : Essai sur une minorité française, Paris, Gallimard, 2009

Regent, Frédéric, La France et ses esclaves : de la colonisation aux abolitions, 1620-1848, Paris, Grasset, 2007

Sources secondaires

  • Articles

Blum, Alain, Guérin-Pace, ‘From Measuring Integration to Fighting Discrimination : The Illusion of « Ethnic Statistics »’, French Politics, Culture & Society, Volume 26, 2008, pp. 32–44

Gueye, Abdoulaye, ‘Rompre le silence: l’émergence d’une voix noire collective en France’, du Bois Review: recherche en sciences sociales sur la race, Volume no. 1, 2010,  pp.82-83

Simon, Patrick, ‘The Choice of Ignorance: The Debate on Ethnic and Racial Statistics in France’, French Politics, Culture & Society, Volume 26, 2008, pp. 7-31

Tin, Louis-Georges, ‘Who is Afraid of Blacks in France ? The Black Question: The Name Taboo, the Number Taboo’, French Politics, Culture & Society, Volume 26, 2008, pp. 32–44

  • Sites sur la Toile

http://www.academia.edu/662757/Ethnic_statistics_and_social_classifications_in_France_how_the_black_communitywas_born

http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr

http://www.bip40.org

http://www.csa.be

http://www.csa.fr

http://collectifdom.com

http://dev.ulb.ac.be

http://www.france24.com

http://www.frenchamerican.org

http://www.grioo.com

http://www.guardian.co.uk

http://halde.defenseurdesdroits.fr

http://lci.tf1.fr

http://www.lecran.org

http://www.le-cran.fr

http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr

http://www.lemonde.fr

http://www.lepoint.fr

http://www.liberation.fr

http://medias.lemonde.fr/mmpub/edt/doc/20100309/1316418_e409_rapportlozes.pdf

http://www.observatoiredesdiscriminations.fr

www.opensocietyfoundations.org

http://www.police-nationale.interieur.gouv.fr

http://www.rfi.fr

http://www.sos-racisme.org

http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com

http://www.youtube.com

  • Presse

Le Figaro, 21/11/2005, ‘Les risques de a discrimination’

Le Figaro, 11/12/2012, ‘Mariage gay: Thuram compare aux Noirs’ 

Le Monde, 09/12/2005, ‘Discriminations : pourquoi les Noirs de France se rassemblent-ils ?

Le Monde, 10/11/2006, ‘La représentation des minorités progresse dans l’audiovisuel français, indique le CSA’

Le Monde, 13/10/2011, ‘Non aux statistiques ethniques, oui à la mesure des diversités’

Le Monde, 25/02/2012, ‘Omar Sy, César!’

Le Nouvel Observateur, 24/04/12, ‘Finkielkraut, les “noirs” et les “arabes”’

Le Nouvel Observateur, 27/09/2012, ‘Le concept de racisme anti-blanc nie la réalité de la situation”

Le Point, 18/10/2012, ‘Harlem Désir nouveau premier secrétaire du PS’

Libération, 26/11/2005, ‘En attendant la télé en couleur’

Libération, 27/11/2005, ‘Bleu Blancs Noirs’

Libération, 22/10/2008, ‘Du cran à l’écran’

Libération, 16/03/2009, ‘Fadela Amara opposée aux statistiques ethniques’

Libération, 20/07/2011, ‘Statistiques ethniques: «Il faut arrêter d’être hypocrite»’

Libération, 04/02/2012, ‘Noirs : des historiens mettent fin au black-out’

The Economist, 26/03/2009, ‘To count or not to count’

The Guardian, 24/02/2007, ‘French presidential candidates divided over race census’

The Guardian, 26/03/2011, ‘France’s minorities under fire’

  • Documentaires

Benguigui, Yamina, La Plafond de Verre, 2004

Noirs de France, France 5, 2012

Noirs de France ?, Toutes les France, 2011

  • Photos

Figure 1 : http://www.france-images.com/affiches-anciennes/449-y-a-bon-banania-1930.html

Figure 2 : http://www.bet.com/news/global/photos/world-lens/2012/06/world-lens-week-in-review-june-5.html#!060412-global-world-lens-france-cabinet-Christiane-Taubira-Victorin-Lurel-George-Pau-Langevin

Figure 3 : http://www.afribd.com/article.php?no=10489

Figure 4 : http://www.lunion.presse.fr/article/faits-divers/pour-lutter-contre-les-abus-de-verifications-didentite-un-controle-un-recu

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Spanish society through literature and film

By Shane Cassidy

Image

It is important when considering the works of the 3 artists that they are placed in socio-cultural context. 20th Century Spain witnessed a massive turn in its fortunes, beginning with the development in the early 1930’s of the left-leaning, progressive Republican government who wished to engage the people with the arts through their missiones pedagógicas[1]. The Spanish civil war of 1936-39 marked a break in the development of the arts and during the Franco regime, Spain practised a massive, sweeping censorship which inevitably limited artistic expression. Luis García Berlanga, Federico García Lorca and Ana María Matute all lived through tumultuous periods in Spains history where they came under the scrutiny of censorship under General Franco’s regime which would challenge their attempts at accurate, honest portrayals of the societies they lived in. What is prevalent not only in García Lorca’s play but the films of Berlanga and the short stories of Matute is that they all carry strong critiques of their society and have contributed massively to Spanish 20th century arts.

“Berlanga no es un comunista; es mucho peor, es un mal español”[2]

– General Franco

Of all the 3 works, cinema was the most heavily censored at the time and the above quote represents the regimes attitudes towards any art which was critical of Spanish society, or to put it more accurately, whatever art which most depicted a real picture of Spanish society. Satire is heavily dominant in both in the 1952 film ‘Bienvenido Mr. Marshall’ and ‘El Verdugo’ which was made in 1963. In ‘Bienvenido Mr. Marshall’, the scenes of Don Manolo and the Mayor making this grand speech of promises of prosperity are highly effective in satirising General Franco. The film is littered with allusions to the loss of political power, most noticeably in the same scene where the Mayor and Don Manolo are on the balcony, they constantly struggle with each other for the right to speak and as Justin Crumbaugh says they are “conflicted over the way in which to direct the very image of popular sameness”[3]. It is interesting to note that it is Manolo, a man who can be interpreted as the one representing commercial interests and life succeeds over the Mayor who represents political life and office.

What is prevalent in Berlangas work is his commentary of Spain as it experienced changes in its society. The struggle between modernism and traditionalism, the intrusion of a modern world into Franco’s carefully orchestrated one. During the making of ‘Bienvenido Mr Marshall’, the Spanish government was softening its stance on isolationism[4]. This can be seen in his portrayal of a society open to welcoming the Americans in return for financial assistance. Eleven years later in ‘El Verdugo’, a satirical film about a young man, José Luis, who takes the job as a State executioner with the hope that he will never have to actually perform an execution, once again comments on the changes in Spains position is evident with the inclusion of the tourists and the visit to the tourist area of Spain. This film was made at a time when Spain was experiencing what is known as “el miraglo Espanola” with the tourist boom[5]. His intentions were to paint a picture of a backward society which needed to evolve and progress.

Berlanga depicts, if not a sexually repressed society, then it is most certainly a sexually adverse one. In ‘El Verdugo’, the scene where José Luis and Carmen are dancing after their picnic illustrates perfectly the closed-minded view Spanish society took of public displays of affection when an older couple who are sitting on the grass beside them get up, turn off their radio which is playing the music and leave. As they pass the young couple they say “si querían bailar, que se traigan la música”. This scene is employed to show the backwardness of Spanish society and a clash between the old-fashioned views and the new is depicted. Similarly this can be seen in Lorcas play, ‘La casa de Bernarda Alba’, especially with the exchanges between Poncía and Adela and the attitudes towards men. Poncía retains the old-fashioned view that men need to satisfy sexual urges whereas women have none of their own. She says “los hombres necesitan estas cosas” to which Adela, always challenging conventions, replies “Se les perdona todo”[6].

Federico García Lorca was a member of the surrealists ‘Generation of 1927’ in which defiance and rebellion through the arts was the norm and progressive thought and frank observation of Spanish society was encouraged[7]. This can be seen through his work ‘La casa de Bernarda Alba’. A play centred on the house of a woman who is autocratic in her behaviour, Bernarda Alba, and her 5 unmarried daughters who are not permitted to leave the house. The play begins under a cloud of death, with the family in mourning for Bernardas previous husband. What’s most notable about the play is the total lack of male presence throughout it. She runs the house with a vice-like grip and is utterly dominating in a role which Lorca has unconventionally transformed her into. As Alfred Rodriguez describes it, Lorca has turned an “anomalous mother-figure into a solidly fixed masculine role”[8]. An atmospheric and claustrophobic setting is created by the fact that the set never changes, nobody can leave the house and therefore we feel exactly how the daughters feel. The impression is created that within this autocratic, dictatorship of a household it is not possible to live freely and the outside of the house represents freedom and liberty from such provisions. The strength of Bernardas rule is witnessed in Act 2 when, significantly Poncia asks “Puedo hablar?”[9]. The fact that a simple action like speaking requires permission represents the fear that Bernarda generated and the control she wielded. It is also ironic that such an untraditional character maintain and clings to traditions throughout the play; from observing the mourning period to wishing to maintain ‘honour’ and ‘decency’ in the wake of Adelas suicide by insisting “Ella, la hija menor de Bernarda Alba, ha muerto virgen.”[10]

Lorcas intentions were to examine the cultural clash between modern and traditional and this is most acute in the fact that the youngest daughter Adela is the most progressive and resistant to Bernarda and her rule. This can be witnessed towards the hugely dramatic end to Act 2 when la hija de la Librada is to be punished for sexual transgression and on one hand Adela says “No, no, para matarla no!” but on the contrary Bernarda attests “Y que pague la que pisotea su decencia”[11]. The idea that la hija de la Librada had a child out of wedlock doesn’t shock Adela and she doesn’t believe any ‘honour’ has been lost but for Bernarda it is the ultimate act of dishonour due to her distorted honour code. The attitude of modern versus tradition also prevails in Berlangas work where his comment on a backward Spanish society is evident in his films. ‘Bienvenido Mr. Marshall’ allows the audience to see this in the Mayors dream sequence where his idea of the United States is a comic, archaic and stereotypical view of a typical Western film not at all in-tune with how the USA of the 1950’s would have been.

Throughout Ana María Matute works, in her collection of short stories Historias de la Artamila, a very common theme of the loss of innocence re-appears over and over again. At the breakout of the Civil War in 1936, Matute was sent to live in the countryside and this heavily impacted upon her works. Matute utilised the disarming technique of writing from a childs perspective and therefore censors would have been less suspicious of the messages Matutes stories carried. Nevertheless her collection of works served to remind readers of that very loss of purity, of innocence which not only Matute lost as a child herself at the outbreak of the Civil War but also Spain lost . As a country, Spain lost that aspiration and hope it had developed during the Republican government from 1931-36. Throughout her works, she highlights the hypocrisy of society and their adverse reactions to ‘outsiders’.

All three artists wanted to hold a mirror up to Spanish society in order to highlight the hypocrisy which was clearly present. The ostracisation and stigmatisation of individuals or groups of people by society and their ignorance and fear of the unknown were themes which all three directly addressed. In Matutes ‘El Perro Perdido’, the dog which enters the village is immediately viewed with suspicion and disdain. The villagers immediately stigmatise the dog without reason and he is taken to be killed only for the cries of young Damián to be listened to. Anotonia María, the healer in the village declares “ese perro es un espíritu malo”[12]. The fear of the unknown stretches to societys treatment of the outsider as Antonia María also says of the dog “Eche al perro de casa…esta embrujado”[13]. It requires a large struggle from Damián to save the dog and even then it is begrudgingly allowed to live.

Equally so, in Berlangas ‘El Verdugo’, the position of the executioner is one which carries a lot of stigma and not only do Amadeo and José Luis experience it but Amadeos daughter Carmen also suffers it purely through association. In the scene where they go for a picnic, she expresses to José Luis her desire to runaway to “Francía” to start afresh. The position of state executioner is not a position which is highly coveted and the one performing it is always given a wide berth. Berlanga cleverly depicts this at the beginning of the film when the undertakers bring in a coffin and the guard on duty simply raises his hat to pay his respects and returns to eating his soup undeterred. However a moment later Amadeo, the executioner, asks the guard about a lift and the guard quickly becomes agitated and uncomfortable and when Amadeo leaves the guard pushes away the bowl of soup clearly indicating he has lost his appetite. In the same scene, Jose Luis is talking about the executioner to the other undertaker and he describes him in the following manner “La verdad es que parece una persona normal”. It is clear that society has a distorted idea of how an executioner should appear and through what José Luis says it is evident that the executioner is not a position with a great deal of respect or understanding.

Loss is a theme which permeates right throughout the artists works. La casa de Bernarda Alba opens with the loss of Bernardas husband and it serves as a metaphor for the rest of the film. Loss hangs over the family; it forbids them from leaving the house as they are in a period of mourning. The characters of Pepe Romano, although never seen, and Poncia add to the frustration of the women as they provide a hint of the liberty that outside brings them. The daughters, loss of freedom has also come at a cost of losing their sister Adela at the end of the play and Angustias has lost her fiancé.

In Berlangas ‘Bienvenido Mr. Marshall’, the villagers’ dreams of the Americans coming and making them all rich is ultimately not realised. Berlanga cleverly uses the characters of the Don Manolo, Don Cosme and the Mayor to highlight the impending fate of the townspeople as they all have dream sequences which all end fatally for them. Matute also uses the characters in her stories to highlight the sense of loss and unfairness. In her story ‘Pecado de Omision’, a recently orphaned boy called Lope goes to live with his rich uncle Emeterio in another village. Although family was very important at the time, Lope is treated badly and not welcomed. He is sent to the mountains to be a shepherd and his uncle says “hay que ganarse el carrusco”[14]. The character of Don Lorenzo is effectively used in the story to show the loss of potential when he attempts to explain to Emeterio that he is clever and that he could achieve something, “es que el chico vale…es listo. Muy listo.”[15]. The contrast between Lope and Manuel Enriquéz also harshly contrasts the fortunes of both boys. Lopes hands are rough and barely capable of holding a cigarette but Manuel Enriquéz has fine, slender hands which highlights the socio-economic gulf between the two boys. It is a tale of two hands and two worlds, what might have been for Lope but he was never given the opportunity.

Similarly, in Berlangas ‘El Verdugo’, the inclusion of the Germans in the story appears to play several functions. One is to highlight the development of Spain’s tourism industry, which was a double edged sword in itself as it helped to revive a floundering economy but also allowed liberal, left wing progressive attitudes to enter through tourism and therefore this was a lot harder for the Franco regime to control[16]. However the other purpose which these Germans play, it can be argued, is to serve as a constant reminder of the life Jose Luis could have had. In the picnic scene early in the film, Carmen expresses her wish to go to France, to which Jose Luis responds with “y porque no Allemana, así podríamos marchamos juntos”.  Later in the film he meets three blonde German girls who represent progressive, liberal Western women with their modern technology and uncovered hair. At the music show which Jose Luis and Carmen attend, it is his wife, symbolically, who again obstructs his passage to sit with or near the Germans. Finally, at the end of the film when Jose Luis comes aboard the boat and it is evident that he is a broken man, the party boat in the distance plays lively music and the German girls are getting on it to go for a party. It’s the tale of two boats but it could easily be the tale of two hands.

The intention of Berlanga is that José Luis is condemned by society as he is complicit in the government’s actions. Berlangas observation is of a man who allows himself to be led by others to ultimately dire consequences. José Luis first arrives in Mallorca to perform the execution he is met by members of La Guardia Civil and he is resistant and ultimately has to be coerced into going and the scene of him sitting on the back of the jeep gives the impression of a condemned man. Later when he is with his wife at the music show and again La Guardia Civil arrive in search of him, the impression as he gets into the boat and Caremen, his wife, shouts to him “ tranquilo, no te preocupes”, as if it will be their final meeting and once again he is led off. The most powerful scene aesthetically comes towards the end of the film when he is in the prison and he has to physically dragged through a long white room into the execution room to perform his duties while the man who is to be executed is far more composed. The white-washed walls of  the room in the prison are contrasted against the black clothes of the characters and the looming black door at the end of the room is reminiscent of both Lorca’s description of the room in his play; white walls contrasted against the black of the characters clothes. It is interesting to note that both José Luis and Adela wear white and green respectively and thus are made to stand out. They are both different.  Hugely symbolic is José Luis’ hat which he drops, thus signifying both his submission finally to the act and also when the guard returns to pick the hat up the hat itself and bring into the execution room. Clearly signifying that absolutely no part of Don Jose will be left behind, he is 100% complicit in the States actions and he is a condemned man.

All 3 artists sought to comment on Spanish society through their works and even with the obstacle of censorship their goal was to make the audience aware of the societies they lived and highlight the unfairness and inequality which was occurring. That it was done in such poetic, beautiful art only adds to its poignancy and the impact of their work on Spanish culture and the arts in general cannot be overstated. By using ‘small’ domestic issues to raise awareness of the larger scheme of things and the greater problems in society, all 3 were able to effectively portray their message without fear of losing their audience through their clever use of metaphor, satire and analogies.

Reference

[2]http://www.lasprovincias.es/v/20101121/culturas/comunista-mucho-peor-espanol-20101121.html

[3] CRUMBAUGH, Justin, Destination Dictatorship: the spectacle of Spain’s tourist boom and the reinvention of difference, SUNY Press, 2009 (p. 9)

[4] MAXWELL, K, Spiegel, S, The New Spain: From Isolation to influence, Council on Foreign Relations Press, New York, 1994, (p. 83)

[6]RAMSDEN, H, La casa de Bernarda Alba, Federico García Lorca, Manchester University Press, 1983 (p.47)

[7] Romance Notes 21(1980-81) : Bernarda Alba, Creation as Defiance, Alfred Rodriguez, (p. 279)

[8] Romance Notes 21(1980-81) : Bernarda Alba, Creation as Defiance, Alfred Rodriguez, (p.280)

[9] RAMSEN, H, La casa de Bernarda Alba, Ferica García Lorca, Manchester University Press, 1983 (p.56)

[10] RAMSEN, H, La casa de Bernarda Alba, Ferica García Lorca,Manchester University Press, 1983(p.91)

[11] RAMSEN, H, La casa de Bernarda Alba, Ferica García Lorca, Manchester University Press, 1983 (p.65)

[12]http://www..jesusfelipe.es/anamariamatute.htm#El%20perro%20perdido

[13]http://www..jesusfelipe.es/anamariamatute.htm#El%20perro%20perdido

[16] http://www.sensesofcinema.com/2003/great-directors/berlanga/

Bibliography

CRUMBAUGH, Justin, Destination Dictatorship: the spectacle of Spain’s tourist boom and the reinvention of difference, SUNY Press, 2009

GARCÍA LORCA, Federico, La casa de Bernarda Alba, ed by H. Ramsden (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996).

MAXWELL, K, SPIEGEL, S, The New Spain: From Isolation to influence, Council on Foreign Relations Press, New York, 1994,

Kinder, Marsha, Blood Cinema: The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993)

El Verdugo. Dir. BERLANGA, José Luis García, Interlagar Films, 1962

Social Movements vs Impunity in Argentina

By Larisa Sioneriu 

aa madres de plaza

In this essay I will discuss the contributions of the social movements in the fight against impunity in Argentina from an anthropological perspective. Bringing justice and reconciliation to a state that knew terror and violence in its most extreme forms is a hard yet compulsory task. For a country like Argentina , left with a vivid trauma after going through genocides, making peace with the past is indispensable in order to embrace the future. However, Argentina, like many other countries, delayed in succeeding to do so. But by delaying justice, it didn’t mean that people had forgotten what happened. The social movements that emerged from the Dirty War and its aftermath played a key role in standing up against the painful silence and imposed impunity. Therefore, I will focus on two of the organizations that managed to carry out a struggle against impunity in Argentina : Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo and the HIJOS.

Argentina’s Dirty War

The last military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983) was the most painful period of Argentina, as its politics of terror and fear had repercussions that became endemic in the lives of the Argentinians. Following the coup d’état from 1976, Argentina become target of an oppressive and violent government whose aim was to eliminate all the dissidents and the opposition. However, along with the ones who were politically targeted, many innocent people became victims as well. The military regime, also referred to as ‘The Dirty War’, is famous for its crimes against the citizens : kidnapping, tortures and mass-murders. The officially accepted number of the victims of the regimes is 30.000. The 30.000 desaparecidos left a stain on the country’s memory. The regime met its end after being defeated in the war for the Malvinas Islands. Thus, in 1983 , the regime was replaced by a democratic one led by President Raul Alfonsin.

The country was profoundly affected by the former regime and people asked for justice. Alfonsin created CONADEP, a organization whose goal was to investigate what happened to the desaparecidos during 1976-1983. (Soledad Catoggio 2010:9) The findings of CONADEP were included in the Nunca Mas report which generated the trials of a few of the victimizers of the military dictatorship. The developing of the process in bringing justice seemed promising as some of the leaders of the former regime were imprisoned. However, the President shortly passed to laws that brought impunity to the perpetrators : The Full Stop Law and the Law of Due Obedience. The passing of these two laws left the victims and their families restless. The two laws were voided only years later, in 2001, when a judge sentenced two policemen for the disappearance of a Chilean-Argentinean couple. Following Kirchner’s presidency, Argentina re-opened itself to the search of truth and the quest for justice.

If Argentina’s government failed in many ways and very often to fight against the impunity and to manage to bring justice and reconcile its citizens with the atrocities of the past, the social movements created especially by the families of the desaparecidos prevailed. To mention a few of the organizations who fought against impunity through social movements : Familiares, Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo, Los Hermanos, Las Abuelas, Los E-x-Desaparecidos and the HIJOS.

Nuestros hijos nos parieron’

Hebe de Bonafini’s words, ‘Nuestros hijos nos parieron’ (Kaplan 2004:114), are at the heart of one of the most powerful and meaningful social movement in Argentina and not only : Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo. This non-governmental organization consists of mothers whose children were taken away during the bloody military dictatorship in Argentina. These mothers, whose hearts were ripped off by loss, pain and suffering, marched into a fight against impunity, loading their weapons with inexhaustible and unchallenged resistance. From their desperate wish for finding out what happened to their disappeared children, they gave birth to an organization that became one of the most known symbols of the fight against the genocides of the military dictatorship.

Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo are particular for many reasons. To begin with, they started their peaceful, yet powerful fight against the oppressive regime only a year after its installation. In other words, they fearlessly gave voice to their suffering , unanswered questions and resentments against a regime in power.

The madres met by coincidence in the Ministry of Interior , while they were looking for questions regarding their disappeared children. When they realized that they share the same pain and the same purpose, they decided to meet again. It was on the 30th of April 1977 when the madres had their first march in Plaza de Mayo. On that day, there were 14 mothers attending the march. Since they weren’t allowed to make a public protest, they walked counterclockwise in the Plaza and captured the attention of the few people who were present there. Ever since, the madres have been marching every Thursday at 3:30, managing to ‘transform private and personal grief into collective political action and heroically challenge(d) a military dictatorship.( Gandsman 2012:195).

These marches became more and more numerous and more and more impacting. From only 14 women the number increased to hundreds and inspired other social movements as well. Their most striking symbol was the white scarf they used to hear on their heads during the manifestations. The scarves had written on them the names of their disappeared children. Although not all of them were religious or they came from different religious backgrounds, they used to simulate Christian processions and recall the image of Virgin Mary by covering their heads. As Diane Tylor (1998:102) affirms, ‘The virginal role allowed the women to perform traditionally acceptable “feminine” qualities of self-sacrifice, suffering, irrationality, even as they took one of the most daring steps imaginable in their particular political arena: they affirmed their passivity and powerlessness.’  For there weekly march and their way of expressing themselves through such symbols , they were often referred to as ‘Las Locas’.

The mothers soon started to look for ways to make themselves heard around the country and realized how useful could media be. On the 5th of October , 1977, they took advantage of the Mother’s Day and managed to publish an ad in the popular newspaper ‘La Prensa’. It is believed that they succeeded to get the ad published because one of the mothers was close to some people running the newspaper. (Kaplan 2004:118) The ad consisted of a list of names and identification numbers of 237 mothers of those who had disappeared. They sought more help from the media afterwards and succeeded to make themselves heard internationally in 1978, during the World Cup that took place in Buenos Aires. They continued their weekly march during the World Cup and this brought the attention to international media who interviewed them and published their story internationally. Another way of creating awareness during that period was by writing their stories and the name of their desaparecidos on paper currency.(Kaplan 2004:121)

However, the authorities of that regime didn’t close their eyes in front of their street demonstrations and the activities of ‘Las Locas’. In December 1977, ten people involved in Las madres de Plaza de Mayo were kidnapped. Among them were two of the madres, Esther Ballestrino de Careaga and Maria Eugenia Ponce de Bianco. The women had never returned. Moreover, at the end of 1978, the Plaza de Mayo had been sealed and hence, the mothers had lost their ‘square of fight’. In spite of all these events, the madres were not stopped and they went on with their struggle. Moreover, they continued their street demonstrations even after 1983, when a the military dictatorship was defeated by the democratic elected president, Raul Alfonsin.

In 1986, Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo divided into two groups: La Linea Fundadora and La Asociacion Madres de Plaza de Mayo. The main reasons that led to their separation were the contradictory opinions on attending the hearings of CONADEP and the supporting of the exhumation of the bodies. (Kaplan 2004:145). Some of the mothers didn’t want to ‘identify’ bodies, but to ‘identify the assassins’. (Kaplan 2004:142) In spite of these contradictions between them and the division into two, the madres kept being active in their search of truth and justice. It was only during the Kirchner’s presidency (2003-2007) that the madres stopped their annual march (but not their weekly one). Under Kirchner’s presidency, las madres felt heard and understood for the first time. The culmination of their struggle and national recognition was when President Kirchner claimed: ‘We are the children of the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and for that reason, we insist on strengthening the system of protection of human rights and the judgment and condemnation of those who violate them’. (Gandsman, 2012:201)

For more than 30 years, the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, stood up and fought against the most fearful regime in Argentina and continued to fight against immunity until nowadays. ‘These ordinary housewives turned themselves into the crack troops of a movement that couches justice in terms of ethics and historical memory.’ (Kaplan 2004:104)

 

La lucha que nos pario’

‘La lucha que nos pario’ is a very common expression used among the HIJOS (Hijos por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio). The HIJOS are yet another distinctive non governmental organization that brought the fight against impunity on the streets of Buenos Aires. This organization is made of the sons and daughters of the desaparecidos in the military dictatorship.

The HIJOS was created after children of the victims of the former regime attending the commemorative meeting ‘Memory, Remembering and Compromise’ at the University of La Plata, in 1994. The commemorative meeting was organized by the friends of the abducted Carlos de la Riva and managed to gather many children of those who had disappeared during the period of 1976-1983. The gathering brought the children of the victim together and they experienced a sentiment of revelation and comfort since ‘they could share their experiences with others who understood the loss and determination they felt. They could express a variety of emotions and concerns without having to defend their feelings or explain that they wanted justice, not vengeance.’ (Kaplan 2004:155) As a result of this reunion, the ones who attended it decided to meet again the following year. This reunion led to the formation of HIJOS.

During the period in which the HIJOS emerged, Argentina was dealing with unhealed wounds. In spite of now being in an era of transition to democracy and having passed 10 years from the ending of the most painful military dictatorship, the country still didn’t overcome the terror of the former regime. Since justice had not been made, peace was ,for many, a utopia-like desire. The ‘Full stop’ law and the law of ‘Due Obedience’ issued by the President Raul Alfonsin, enabled the victimizers of the military regime to get away unpunished. Even though this law aimed to silence the victims and reconcile the past through forgetfulness, it most certainly didn’t bring peace and justice. Among the ones who wanted justice, HIJOS were one of the first in claiming it and the first to make it.

Making justice in their own way was the most prominent peculiarity of the HIJOS – the justice was made through the escraches. The verb escrachar comes from Lunfardo, an Argentinan dialect that emerged in the late 19th century among the criminals imprisoned in Buenos Aires. However, Lunfardo is now used in the day to day vocabulary in Argentina. Meaning ‘to reveal’ or ‘to unmask’, escrachar is a method of making public the identity of the perpetrators of the 30.000 desaparecidos. ‘Escraches were a communication strategy based on public exposure and humiliation, whose goal was to eliminate or limit the social spaces that repressors have gained.’ (Kaiser 2002:504) .

The escraches are not simply street demonstrations. They are a serious procedure that involves hard work and commitment. The HIJOS act as both detectives and judges. They spend a long time before the day of escrache by doing all the research on the crimes of the ones to be escrachados. Once they tracked down the repressors and gathered all the information about their involvement in terrorizing the country during the military regime, the HIJOS start organizing the day of the escrache. They go to the neighborhood of the genocida and invite the neighbors to the escrache. They talk to them and hand leaflets on which they wrote all the crimes committed by the genocida. They also put on signs with the address of the genocide and paint the walls of the neighborhood with different messages such as : ‘Si no hay justicia, hay escrache’. The day of the escrache is a celebration. They march around the neighbourhood with drums and posters, singing and announcing the neighbours: ‘Alerta, alerta, alerta a los vecinos /Al lado de su casa esta viviendo un asesino’. The neighbours and join them and they march together to the house of the one to be escrachado. Here, the HIJOS give a speech and mark the area with paintings, making sure that his identity is now revealed to the rest of the world. As a consequence, the genocida becomes a prisoner of his own house. Many of them moved away after being escrachados, because they were not able to live in that area the way they used to before. Others are even excluded from other social groups or even work – the case of the gynecologist Jose Luis Magnacco, who was dismissed from the clinic he worked in as a result of being escrachado. (Kaplan 2004:162).

(…) escraches are more than traditional challenge to impunity and political amnesia. Their way of bringing back the past into the public sphere compels society to face specific effects of the failure to administer justice and to define its policy toward the original human rights violations as well as within ongoing struggles for accountability.’ (Kaiser 2002:500)

 

Conclusion

 

To sum up, the local social movements in Argentina were at the core of challenging immunity. The aftermaths of such a bloody military dictatorship couldn’t have been other than a painful transition to democracy, in which the memories still tortured the victims and their families. The search for truth was fundamental for the reconciliation with the past , and the social movements played a great role on the stage of justice. We have seen how Las Madres and Los HIJOS succeeded in creating awareness about the past, giving voice to the victims, making justice on their own and  defeat impunity.

 

 Bibliography :

 

  • Kaiser, S. 2002: Escraches: demonstrations, communication and political memory in post-dictatorial Argentina. Media, Culture & Society, 24, 499-516.
  • Kaplan, T. 2004: Taking back the streets: women, youth, and direct democracy. Berkeley: University of California Press
  • Robben, A.C.G.M. 2010: Testimonies, Truths, and Transitions of Justice in Argentina and Chile. In: Hinton, A.L. (ed.): Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities in the Aftermath of Genocide and Mass Violence. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press (p. 179-205).
  • Robben, A.C.G.M. 2005: Political Violence and Trauma in Argentina. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Soledad Catoggio, Maria 2010: La ultima dictadura militar argentina (1976-1983): la ingeneria del terrorismo de Estado. Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence , pg 1-20
  • Taylor, Diana , Making a Spectacle : The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Journal of the association for Research on Mothering, 3:2 , 97-109

By Larisa Sioneriu

Turkey and European Union

By Shane Cassidy

Introduction

On the 3rd of October 2005, the European Union finally opened the door on Turkey to begin negotiations which could ultimately lead to the accession of Turkey into EU. This will have profound effects, not only on Turkey but also on the EU and the direction it will then take. These negotiations had been anticipated for a long time and it had been almost 16 years since Turkey formally applied to join the European Community.

What this means is that over the course of the next 10-15 years, Turkey will conduct and ultimately aim to complete the necessary negotiations to integrate themselves into the EU. The face of the EU will change dramatically after this and I feel that it is important to examine Turkey and its relationship with the EU a little more closely as it begins the final lap of its journey from association agreement partner to fully fledged member. I feel that it is important that we examine the complex relationship Turkey has with the EU and the possible problems and also advantages of accepting a country as vast as Turkey. Turkey is the only pluralist secular democracy in the Muslim world and has always attached great importance to developing its relations with other European countries. Historically, Turkish culture has had a profound impact over much of Eastern and Southern Europe.

Turkey began “westernising” its economic, political and social structures in the 19th century. Following the First World War and the proclamation of the Republic in 1923, it chose Western Europe as the model for its new secular structure under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk1.Turkey views the accession process as a method to modernise their country in the process. Turkey is a founding member of UN, a member of the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD and is also an associate member of the Western European Union. 

Militarily, Turkey has been aligned closely with Europe for quite some time now and plays a vital role in defence of the European continent. It seemed only appropriate then, that Turkey would seek to more closely link itself to Europe, economically. From this decision, the first EEC-Turkey Association Agreement was created. 

I am doing this dissertation because i believe it will provide me with a greater insight into the operations of the EU enlargement process in relation to Turkey.I am aiming to determine what the obstacles facing Turkey are and how they are affecting their bid to become a fully fledged member of the EU instead of its current status which is defined under the 1963 Association Agreement. Under these terms, Turkey is considered as an associate member but not a full member of the EU and therefore it does not enjoy its various benefits, be they economic, legal or political. I will begin by looking at the various important documents in relation to Turkey and the EU Enlargement process.

1. Various processes of EU Enlargement

1.1 The Treaty of the European Union.

This treaty was signed in Maastricht in the Netherlands and henceforth has become known as the Maastricht Treaty. According to the EU Treaty, the European Parliament and each member state of the EU have to agree to any enlargement. The treaty deals with geographical and general policy issues relevant to Turkey’s accession aspirations. Any country seeking EU memnership must conform to Article ‘O’.

Article ‘O’ of the Maastricht Treaty states:

Any European State may apply to become a Member of the Union. It shall address its application to the Council, which shall act unanimously after consulting the Commission and after receiving the assent of the European Parliament, which shall act by an absolute majority of its component members. The conditions of admission and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the Union is
founded which such admission entails shall be the subject of an agreement between the Member States and the applicant State. This agreement shall be submitted for ratification by all the contracting States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements[2].

Following the amendment of this Article, the Maastricht Treaty laid down the principles of application for EU membership with the following two articles:

Article 49:
Any European State which represents the principles set out in Article 6(1) may apply to become a member of the Union.

Article 6(1):

The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, principles which are common to Member States.

1.2. Copenhagen criteria

In order to join the European Union, a State needs to fulfill the economic and political conditions generally known as the Copenhagen criteria( after the Copenhagen summit in June 1993). It has 3 main points of focus and requirements:

  • Political – The applicant county must have achieved stability of its institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities,
  • Economic – It must have a functioning market economy, as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the EU.
  • Legislative – The applicant country must be able to adopt the corresponding European Law into its own national body of law so that they are brought up to date.[3]

1.3 The Acquis Communautaire

This refers to the total body of EU law accumulated up to this point. If Turkey wishes to become an EU member they will have to satisfy each of the 35 Status of Acquis Chapters which are conducted and supervised by the European Council. Criteria of the adoption of the acquis includes the ability to take on the obligations related to membership, including adherence to the aims of a political, economic and monetary union[4]. These chapters cover a very broad spectrum which includes, the Free Movement of Goods, the Free Movement of Services, Telecommunication and information technologies and Financial control. The negotiations are currently underway and it is crucial that Turkey satisfies all 35 Chapters.

1.4. Council of Europe
Turkey became a member of the Council of Europe on August 9th 1949. Considering it signed up just over 4 months after the Council of Europe’s inception, Turkey is still considered a founding member of the organization. Although seperate form the Council of the European Union or even the European Council for that matter, their goals are very much alligned and that is European integration. The Council, in its lifetime has spread the values of human rights, democracy and respect throughout its members and Turkey has been an integral member of the Council. Turkey is answerable to both the European Convention on Human Rights and the Europan Court on Human Rights.

2.The Eu-Turkey and Custom Union Agreements

1963 EU-Turkey Association Agreement

Also officially known as ‘ The Agreement Creating An Association Between The Republic of Turkey and the European Economic Community ‘, this agreement between Turkey and the then EEC was, strictly speaking, an instrument for enabling Turkey to ultimately join the European Economic Community. When Turkey first formally applied for membership in 1959, the EEC recommended a preliminary preparatory stage as an associate member and so negotiations on terms took place and were concluded on September 12, 1963 and this became known as the ‘Ankara Agreement’. The agreement came into force on December 1st, 1964 and provided for a number of things, including the free movement of workers, establishment and services. Also included was the aim to completely integrate EEC internal-market policies within Turkey. The aim of the Ankara Agreement was to politically and economically connect Turkey with the EEC much more closely and it envisioned three phases for Turkey’s eventual accession to the EU Common Market through the establishment of a customs union. This was of paramount importance to Turkey as it represented one step closer to the EU. Since the Ankara agreement was established, it has set in motion all agreements beween Turkey and the EU since then. Since the Ankara agreement was established, it has set in motion all agreements beween Turkey and the EU since then. The Additional Protocol was signed in brussels on 23rd November 1970, was approved in the Turkish Grand National Assembly in July 1971 and came into effect in January 1973. The establishment is massively significant and it is due to this agreement that Turkey is now in a position to seek and entitled to expect full EU membership, provided they satisfy all accession requirements.

There are cases when the European Court of Justice has been utilised in order to make a decision on the matter of whether or not a Turkish citizen has the right under the Association Agreement to be resident and/or remain in a Member State of the EU. Usually a decision is sought regarding the interpretation of the following pieces of legislation.

DECISION No 1/80 OF THE ASSOCIATION COUNCIL OF 19 SEPTEMBER 1980 ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ASSOCIATION

2.1. Article 6

2.1.1. Subject to Article 7 on free access to employment for members of his family, a Turkish worker duly registered as belonging to the labour force of a Member State:

  • shall be entitled in that Member State, after one year’s legal employment, to the renewal of his permit to work for the same employer, if a job is available;
  • shall be entitled in that Member State, after three years of legal employment and subject to the priority to be given to workers of Member States of the Community, to respond to another offer of employment, with an employer of his choice, made under normal conditions and registered with the employment services of that State, for the same occupation;
  • shall enjoy free access in that Member State to any paid employment of his choice, after four years of legal employment.

2.1.2. Annual holidays and absences for reasons of maternity or an accident at work or short periods of sickness shall be treated as periods of legal employment. Periods of involuntary unemployment duly certified by the relevant authorities and long absences on account of sickness shall not be treated as periods of legal employment, but shall not affect rights acquired as the result of the preceding period of employment.
2.1.3. The procedures for applying paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be those established under national rules.

2.2. Article 7
The members of the family of a Turkish worker duly registered as belonging to the labour force of a Member State, who have been authorized to join him:

  • shall be entitled-subject to the priority to be given to workers of Member States of the Community – to respond to any offer of employment after they have been legally resident for at least three years in that Member State;
  • shall enjoy free access to any paid employment of their choice provided they have been legally resident there for at least five years.

Children of Turkish workers who have completed a course of vocational training in the host country may respond to any offer of employment there, irrespective of the length of time they have been resident in that Member State, provided one of their parents has been legally employed in the Member State concerned for at least three years. [5]

2.3. Article 11

Nationals of the Member States duly registered as belonging to the labour force in Turkey, and members of their families who have been authorized to join them, shall enjoy in that country the rights and advantages referred to in Articles 6, 7, 9 and 10 if they meet the conditions laid down in those Articles. [1-www.diyih.gov.tr/uluslararasi_kuruluslar/ab/ortaklik_ant_doc/okk_1_80_eng.doc ]

2.4. Case C-434/93 Ahmet Bozkurt v. Staatsecretaris van Justitie, judgment of 6 June 1995, [1995] ECR I-1475
Ahmet Bozkurt, was a Turkish national living in the Netherlands and working as an international lorry driver for a Dutch firm. In between jobs, Bozkurt resided in the Netherlands. As Dutch legislation did not require Bozkurt to obtain a working or residence permit, he did not seek one. However, after an accident which rendered him unable to work, he sought a permanent residence permit. After initial rejectment form the Raad van State der Nederlanden, Bozkurt appealed under Article 6(1) of Decision 1/80 of the EEC-Turkey Association Council and the case was referred to the European court under Article 177 to determine whether decision 1/80 of the EEC-Turkey Association Council entitled Bozkurt to remain in the Netherlands in his unfit state. The Court ruled that Article 6 of Decision 1/80 did not entitle Bozkurt to remain in the Netherlands as that provision is only applicable to Turkish workers who are currently working in a Member State or are only temporarily incapacitated for work. In other words, the right of to remain in an EU member state after incapacitation is not conferred upon Turkish nationals [6].

2.5. Case C-1/97 Mehmet Birden v Stadtgemeinde Bremen, judgement of 26 November 1998, [1998]
The Verwaltungsgericht der Freien Hansestadt Bremen in Germany (Administrative Court of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen) referred to the Court for a preliminary ruling under Article 177 of the EC Treaty a question on the interpretation of Article 6(1) of Decision No 1/80 of the Association Council of 19 September 1980 on the development of the Association.[Nicola Rogers , 1999. A Practitioner’s Guide to the EC-Turkey Association Agreement (Paperback) , Brill, London.]
Article 6(1) of Decision No 1/80 of the EEC-Turkey Association Council must be interpreted as meaning that a Turkish national who has lawfully pursued a genuine and effective economic activity in a Member State under an unconditional work permit for an uninterrupted period of more than one year for the same employer, in return for which he received the usual remuneration, is a worker duly registered as belonging to the labour force of that Member State and in legal employment there within the meaning of that provision.
As long as a Turkish national has a job with the same employer, they are entitled to demand the renewal of their residence permit in whichever EU Member State they may be present in. In relation to this particular case the Court, in their interpretation of this case, ruled:
A Turkish national who has lawfully pursued a genuine and effective economic activity in a Member State under an unconditional work permit for an uninterrupted period of more than one year for the same employer, in return for which he received the usual remuneration, is a worker duly registered as belonging to the labour force of that Member State and in legal employment
there within the meaning of that provision. In so far as he has available a job with the same employer, a Turkish national in that situation is thus entitled to demand the renewal of his residence permit in the host Member State, even if, pursuant to the legislation of that Member State, the activity pursued by him was restricted to a limited group of persons, was intended to facilitate their integration into working life and was financed by public funds. ‘ [7]

2.6 Customs Union Agreement
This Customs Union agreement between Turkey and the EU was finally signed in 1995 and what this achieved was the eradicatication of customs restrictions on goods that travel between the Turkey and the EU. The Customs Union agreement provides for the free travel of goods between the two entities without any customs restrictions. Turkey adopted the Common Customs Tariff of the EC as provided for in Articles 17 and 18 of the Additional Protocol of the Association Agreement which laid down the timetables by which Turkey moved towards the CCT of the Community.

However, major areas such as agriculture are not covered and bilateral trade concessions still exist for these products. Although it was agreed in the Association Agreement that free movement of agricultural goods should have come into effect 22 years after the signing of the Additional Protocol in 1973, it was decided, in 1995, to not go ahead with it as both entities are pursuing very different agricultural policies.[8]. Agriculture is currently omitted from this agreement as it would contravene the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. Therefore the Customs Union agreement focuses mainly on manufactured and industrialized goods and it abolished in reciprocal and progressive fashion, all tariffs and duties on those goods.

Officially, it appears as though Turkey has as much free movement of goods as the EU countries but in practice it is much more difficult to operate. To illustrate, Finike, a city on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and approx 20km north of the Greek island Rhodes, in order to comply with EU standards and regulations, would have to transport their goods up through Turkey and through to Athens so that they could undergo a mandatory laboratory examination in order to determine whether they meet EU criteria and subsequently whether the goods could be imported into the EU. A trip which should be done in 45 mins suddenly takes considerably longer.

3. Obstacles within Turkey

Freedom of Expression


Keep the tongue in your mouth a prisoner
– Turkish proverb

3.1. Article 301

Article 301 of the Turkish Penal code is probably the most controversial of all the legal reforms undertaken by Recep Erdogans government and it effectively makes it a crime to insult “Turkishness”. The definition of “Turkishness” is broad and incorporates many different areas of Turkish identity, from the Government and its institutions to referring to the mass killing of Armenians as a ‘genocide’. Although these different categories are not legally defined, persons have been prosecuted for alleged insult of them. Article 301 has been in effect since the 1st of June 2005.
Article 301 states the following[9] :

  • 1. A person who publicly denigrates Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and three years.
  • 2. A person who publicly denigrates the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial institutions of the State, the military or security organizations shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years.
  • 3. In cases where denigration of Turkishness is committed by a Turkish citizen in another country the punishment shall be increased by one third.
  • 4. Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime.

This article is highly contentious and could prove to work against Turkey and their EU accession attempts.The European Commission, in its annual progress report released in September 2007, highlighted a series of shortcomings in the areas of freedom of expression and encouraged Turkey to address these issues to accelerate its EU membership bid. In the report the EU stated ‘ …the prosecution and conviction for the expression of non-violent opinions under certain provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code are a cause of serious concern'(2 Turkey progress Report, Commission of the European Communities, SEC (2007) 1436). One of the issues that the EU strongly emphasizes in this report was Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which has been used to prosecute many writers, intellectuals and journalists for allegedly insulting the Turkish identity and the country’s institutions. This is not the first time that the EU has criticized this article as it has been urging Turkey for a long time to either scrap or radically change 301, which it perceives as violating freedom of speech. Nevertheless, Turkey’s reluctance to deal with this notorious article puts its EU bid at risk as well as diminishing the trust in the country’s judicial system due to interpretations of this article according to non-judicial criteria which is clearly evident.
There are many famous Turkish writers who have been prosecuted by the Turkish judiciary on account of their comments being interpreted as unpatriotic. For example, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk , who was brought to trial on account of statements he made about the the mass killing of Armenians and Kurds around the time of World War 1. Throughout his trial, he protested his innocence and argued for the freedom of speech without reprimand from the Turkish police or State. The fear aroused from this article is that self-censorship will become the rule of thumb within broadcasting agencies, writers and journalists and Turkey must seek to combat this if they are serious about accession.

In 2006, the EU Enlargement officer, Oli Rehn, requested that Turkey ammend their laws in relation to those which restrict freedom of expression [10]. It has developed into somewhat of a problem for the Turkish centre-right government to deal with as they are stuck in a considerable quandry. They are receiving pressure from the European Commission to ammend the law and subsequently give more freedom of expression to Turks. At the same time however, the Turkish government faces a backlash from nationalists in the country as they would see this move as an act of submission of Turkish identity in order to satisfy the EU and the enlargement process. As, for the moment, support for joining the EU begins to dwindle, the AKP need to carefully address this issue. The signs for amendment are positive however. Late in 2007 the Turkish government announced they were looking at amending the article, although very little progress has since been made. This once again, typifies some of the opinions within Europe that alot of what Turkey is doing is very much just a façade so that they can appear to be fulfilling all of the EU’s requirements. Turkey, if it wants to be taken seriously must tackle these pressing issues with more transparency and urgency and must create an environment where they are free to do so without fear of reprimand from the Turkish judiciary based on a justification of a threat to secularism. Article 301 has proven to be self defeating in purpose as this penal code was introduced by the Turkish government as part of wider reform package with the aim of Turkey achieving the same standards as the EU but instead it has attracted a wide range of criticism from all corners of Europe and from within Turkey itself.

Concerns for Turkish freedom of expression manifest themselves within the broader media also. Discouraging people from performing military service is also considered a crime under Turkish law. Miklos Haraszti, in his review of the Turkish Penal codes for the OSCE, notes that it ‘becomes punishable for journalists to report or debate on the military service’.[11]

Article 318 states:

  • 1. Persons who give incentives or make suggestions or spread propaganda which will have the effect of discouraging people from performing military service shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months to two years.
  • 2. If the act is committed through the medium of the press and media, the penalty shall be increased by half. [12]

3.2. Cyprus Issue

The Cyprus issue is an issue that has plagued not only Turkey but also Greece and the EU for some time now. During the Cold War it was easier for the EU to issue vague promises on the matter so that Turkey and Greece would remain within the Western Union and support the struggle against the Soviets. After the collapse of the Soviet Empire in the early 90’s however, it became apparent that the US and EU differed on the problem. USA regards Turkey as a strategic partner on the issue of the Middle East, this was most evidently displayed when Turkey supported the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. To upset US-Turkish relations would be to do a disservice to US foreign policy. This manifested itself in October 2007 when US President George Bush requested that the US Congressional panel, which was debating whether or not to call the mass killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks around the same time of World War I as “genocide”, to resist from doing so. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, it has stated that the number of dead has been exaggerated and insists that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest. I have looked at this matter elsewhere in this paper under Article 301. [13]
In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus to counter what they considered to be a Greek takeover of the island. Since then, the island has been annexed, with the Northern portion known as the the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Only Turkey recognizes this state. Turkey has stationed 40,000 troops on the island and refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus until a solution is found by the UN Resolution 541 (1983), adopted by the UN Security Council, has officially declared the Turkish occupation as unlawful and has called for Turkey to withdraw its forces from Northern Cyprus [14]. Within the resolution, it is stated ‘The Security Council…deplores the declaration of the Turkish Cypriot authorities of the purported secession of part of the Republic of Cyprus…Considers the declaration refereed to above as legally invalid and calls for its withdrawal‘. The UN has attempted to solve this dispute and most recently the ‘Annan Plan for Cyprus’, named after the then UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, was supported by the UN, Turkey and the European Union. This was the most comprehensive UN effort at a peace plan for Cyprus. What this plan suggested was the creation of United Cyprus Republic. This new country was to be a loose union of two States, the Greek Cypriot State and the Turkish Cypriot State and they would be joined together by a minimal federal government apparatus. Amongst the proposals were plans for a Senate, Chamber of Deputies, Presidential Council and even a Constitution. This plan also proposed a limited right of return between Northern and Southern Cyprus and would also allow a military presence from both Greece and Turkey to be maintained but on a much smaller scale[15].
In the subsequent referenda in both communities, a split decision emerged. The Turkish Cypriots approved the plan with 64.91% vothing in favour of the Plan. The Greek Cypriots voted against the Plan, with 75.83% voting against the proposal [16].
From a military perspective, the Cyprus issue remains very clear. On the 25th January 2005, General Yasar Buyukkanit, commander of the land forces of the Turkish army stated unequivocally “Before a final and lasting agreement, not even a single soldier will go from here” [17]. Cyprus has also had a knock on effect with regards to the Customs Union signed by Turkey in 1995. In this agreement, Turkey promised and is also obliged to open up its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels and planes. Turkey refuses to do this however until Council Regulation (EC) No 389/2006 is met. This regulation provides for the opening up of direct trade with the Turkish Cypriots and also the provision of €259m in funds from the EU to assist the the Turkish Cyriots in upgrading all of their infrastructure.[18] .The aim of this Regulation is to establish an instrument of financial support to encourage the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community.Article 1.1 of this Resolution sets out one of the overall objectives as:

The Community shall provide assistance to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community with particular emphasis on the economic integration of the island, on improving contacts between the two communities and with the EU, and on preparation for the acquis communautaire.’ [19].

3.3 The Kurdish Minority

The Kurdish people are a large and distinct ethnic minority in Turkey. They represent 15 million people of the total 71 million Turkish nationals[20]. The treatment of Kurds by the Turkish government has been highly controversial and has received international condemnation from both governments and human rights agencies. Turkish forces have, in the past, destroyed Kurdish towns and persecuted Kurdish political parties and leaders as a reaction to acts of violence carried out by the main Kurdish armed separatist movement, the Kurdish Workers Party or as they are more commonly known, the PKK. The Kurdish people, due to their large population, are perceived to be a possible threat to Turkish national unity and as a result the Turkish government has attempted a forced assimilation of the Kurds into Turkish sociey and have introduced a wide range of schemes to suppress Kurdish culture and language. Some of these schemes include and official ban that was imposed on speaking or writing in Kurdish. On all State television and radio, broadcasting in Kurdish was also not permitted as it would have been seen as promoting the Kurdish language and therefore would have been a threat to national unity. The majority of Kurdish people in Turkey live in the extremely poor and underdeveloped region of South and South-Eastern Turkey or else they are scattered elsewhere in other poor, urban areas of Turkey. This is due to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people by the Turkish armed forces who feared a threat from the Kurdish paramilitaries[21]. This, in turn, created a barrier to understanding between the Kurdish community and the Turkish government and administration offices.

The PKK took up arms in 1984 as a response to constant suppression of the Kurds by the successive Turkish governments and its ultimate aim was an independent Kurdish State situated in what today is South Eastern Turkey. So the struggle for the area also known as Kurdistan began. Since the conflict began, 37,000 people have been killed and many more have lost their homes. The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by the United States, United Nations and the European Union. According to Human Rights Watch, in a letter to the then Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema, it stated ‘ all economic, political, military, social and cultural organizations, institutions, formations — and those who serve in them — have become targets. The entire country has become a battlefield ‘.
There was also criticism for Turkey and the role it had played in this conflict, ‘ Turkish government forces have, in the course of the conflict with the PKK, also committed serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including torture, extrajudicial killings, and indiscriminate fire‘. Amnesty International, along with other human rights organisations, have linked the Turkish armed forces with the disappearance of PKK members.

4. Opposition to Turkeys EU Accession and arguments against Turkish membership.

4. 1. Article 49

Article 49 of the Maastricht Treaty creates one of the more difficult obstacles for Turkey, insomuch that it states that ‘Any European State…..may apply to become a member of the Union‘. Therefore the question becomes; Is Turkey a European State?

Opposition to EU accession has repeatedly revolved around the geographical location of Turkey. Geographically, Turkeys claims of being European does not stand as a very good argument. Turkey is divided into 2 separate pieces of land, Thrace and Anatolia. Anatolia, which comprises 779.452 square km of the country (Thrace contains just 23,764 square km) is situated to the east of the Bosporus Straits and for the purposes of EU accession would not be enough to qualify Turkey [22]. It would appear that it is Thrace, to the east of the Bosporus, which has given weight to Turkeys call for negotiations with the EU, geographically speaking. I believe that if it were not for Thrace, it is very doubtful that Turkey would be in the position that it is in today with regards to accession and membership negotiations.

Turkey is a very vast country, blending eastern and western cultures such is its history and location. Depending on where in Turkey you are, it varies greatly. If you were to visit only İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir or the coast towns you would think that Turkey for all intents and purposes is an European country. If you visit only Sivas, Elazığ, Erzincan, Malatya, Kayseri you would think that Turkey is an Asian country. And if you visit Diyarbakır, Mardin, Şanlıurfa, Hakkari you would think that Turkey is a Middle Eastern country

One of the major arguments against Turkey is the fact that it is not geographically situated within the continent of Europe. On 20th December 2007, in an interview with Radio Vatican, German news agency DPA reported that French president Nicolas Sarkozy stated the ‘Turkey is not in Europe but in Asia Minor, and this is a geographical reality‘.[23]
Although it is worth noting, however, that there are no set borders in Europe as there are for Africa for example. Sarkozy’s comments must also be seen in the light of the fact that he wishes to set up a Mediterranean Union and this can be seen as an alternative to Turkey acceding into the EU.

It appears that political and cultural differences play a major role when it comes to deciding as to who is or is not a member. Cyprus, for example, is situated just north of Egypt and west of Israel and Lebanon, yet it was accepted into the EU and became a full member in 2004. Cyprus is, in fact considered part of Anatolias Continental shelf and according to the online CIA Factbook, Cyrpus’ location is stated as ‘Middle East’.

Location of Cyprus, an EU member.

If the European Union is to accept Turkey, it would mean the extension of the EU’s borders as far east as Syria, Iran and Iraq. In so doing, this would automatically involve the EU not only in Middle East but also Middle Eastern politics. This was never the aim of the EU, the aim of the EU was closer economic co-operation and EU harmonization.

4.2. EU Budget

A concern for many European countries is the fact that Turkey is a comparatively poorer country than many of the other European countries and the EU will therefore be inheriting a country badly in need of EU investment and consequently will drain EU resources. There naturally occurs therefore a certain reluctance to negotiate with Turkey regardless of its progression or advancement it has made. The Copenhagen Criteria stipulates that enlargement is not any longer dependent solely on the ability of the accession countries to meet the very strict and thorough requirements of the European Union, but also on the ability of the current members to be able to handle further expansion. Turkey’s accession requirements could be at a time when the EU cannot cope with any new members. Over a period of less than 4 years, beginning on January 1st 2004, the EU has expanded its membership to almost double its members. The consensus it would appear is that Europe, although not able to continue expanding at this rate is that the EU cannot refuse Turkey its right to attempt to join the EU as this could create larger problems down the road for Europe with respect to possible trade agreements. The EU Budget therefore offers Europe the chance to regain some stability and momentum. As they are set out in 7 year terms, it means that Turkey wouldn’t be able to join the EU until the end of 2013 at the very earliest. This is because the current budget is running from 2007-2013 and as everything has been accounted for it would simply not be feasible to accept Turkey before this date, coupled with the fact that the Status of Acquis chapters have not been fully implemented.

4.3. Balance of Power

Major opponents to Turkey’s EU bid are France, Germany and Austria. These countries believe that the EU should offer Turkey a ‘privileged partnership’ instead of full EU membership. Although they can say it outright, it would not be wholly unreasonable to suggest that Germany would oppose Turkish membership as it would mean that Germany would no longer be the most influential country based purely on population( provided Turkey’s proposed population growth trend continues). Germany’s influene and power in the representative European institutions would also be directly affected. Germany also shares a lot of history and strong economic links with Turkey and any negotiations which would lead to Germany publicly having to veto Turkey joining could conceivably lead to the corrosion of relations between the two countries. On top of this, Germany is the location of the largest concentration of Turkish immigrants, which constitute 2.4% of Germany’s 82 million population.

5. Arguments for Turkish Accession

There are sound geo-strategic, economic and political arguments to counterbalance doubts about Turkey’s eligibility to join the EU. Or, for that matter, to counterbalance concerns over its European identity. The fact that since 1923, Turkey has modeled itself of on its European counterparts and has, as much as it possibly can, attempted to become part of the European community displays its dedication and commitment to the European way of doing things that simply cannot be denied. Turkey has been striving for EU acceptance and their aim is simple, as former Prime Minister of Turkey, Naim Talu put it: ‘ The objective of the Turkish government is to develop political and  economic relations with the EEC, with a view to realizing the final objective of accession to the European Community as a full-fledged member ‘.

In a nut-shell, Turkey brings a young workforce, massive economic growth and a huge army to the European Union. On top of all this, the EU sees a westernized Turkey as the best possible obstacle to Islamic fundamentalism, particularly within Europe itself.

5.1 Economic Advantages

There are major advantages in accepting Turkey into the EU and this is due to the strategic and economic importance of the country just at the EU’s doorstep. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, Turkeys GDP rate from 2002-2007 grew at a rate of 7.4 % making Turkey one of the fastest growing economies in the World. The World Bank also forecasts that Turkeys GDP at market prices will continue to grow at a rate of 5.4% in 2008[24] . According to Bartlomiej Kaminski and Francis Ng, Turkey has benefited greatly from the Customs Union agreement that was signed back in 1995. Not only has it allowed Turkey to receive greater and greater EU investment into the country itself but it has also opened up the industrial market within the EU for Turkey to do business. A result of this Customs Union agreement is that Turkey is no longer as heavily reliant on agricultural produce and exports as it had previously been [25].

Accepting Turkey into the EU would strengthen the EU’s economy with the addition of an OECD founder and G20 member to the bloc. Istanbul, the financial capital of Turkey is also the strategic location which controls the Turkish Straits which, in turn, link the Black and Aegean Seas. In this way turkey could be an engine for growth for both itself and the EU. Turkeys vast oil reserves also make the prospect of accepting Turkey that little bit more inviting. Economic growth within turkey has been significantly higher than in any of the other European Union countries in recent years also[26].

Another benefit of accepting Turkey would be the emergence of a young, motivated workforce willing to travel to obtain employment. Although this is seen as a concern for many Europeans, it cannot be denied that the average age of the EU as a whole is increasing and a fresh injection of young Turkish immigrant workers would benefit both the European and domestic economies. If dealt with properly, it will be possible to reduce unemployment in the EU and any of the particular Member States. The idea that the EU would be swamped with Turkey doesn’t appear to be accurate and a rough estimate of 2-3 million Turks arriving into European Member States seems to be a much closer estimation [27]. This is roughly on par with the type of immigration witnessed when the Eastern European countries were accepted into the EU on the January 1st 2004.

5.2 Legal and Political Reform

In an effort to align itself more closely with the EU, Turkey has undergone a massive overhaul of its Constitution with a total of 34 Articles being amended. This was done to ensure that its political and legal institutions meet with the approval of the EU. Two of the articles which prohibit the dissemination of literature ‘in languages forbidden by law’, have been amended to give more rights to whom they had most directly affected, the Kurdish population.

5.2.1 Civil Code

On November 27 2001, the Turkish Grand National Assembly amended the 1926 Turkish Civil Code and it was adopted into law on the 1st of January 2002. This new Civil Code has been instrumental in giving women more rights and freedom of choice and right to property. This new Civil Code was the starting point of a whole range of other amendments and reforms and it introduced improvements with regards to the freedom of association and the right to assembly, as well as gender equality and child protection. Article 186 of the Civil Code now provides for more equality in the marriage and states that the husband is no longer automatically the head of the family. Also, Article 188 states that men and women are given equal status and they can both represent the family in legal matters. Article 416 states that with this Civil Code amendment, not only men but also women are obliged to assume the responsibility of guardianship when appointed as a guardian[28]. Since the Civil Code was amended there have been many reform packages that were introduced to ensure the implementation of the Civil Code but also to completely update Turkeys legislative system. Over the last few years, the Turkish government has passed some major reform packages including the ban on the death sentence, which was brought into force when Turkey signed protocol number 13 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
Article 2 (2) of the the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states, ‘ No one shall be condemned to the death penalty or executed ‘. As such, it was vitally important for Turkey to sign this piece of legislation to respect human life at all times and not just at ‘times of peace’ as had previously been their position.

In addition to that, a zero tolerance policy on torture in prisons has been implemented and they have also curtailed the influence of the military in everyday life . All of these reforms have been conducted with the aim of joining the EU. The obvious argument here is that Turkeys democratic institutions would be bolstered even further by joining the EU. Broadcasting and education in minority languages such as Kurdish were legally authorized in 2003 and this is seen as a significant step forward in recognizing the Kurdish population of Turkey and integrating them into Turkish society as opposed to their previous method of failure to recognize their existence.

Modern Turkey was established as a secular democracy in a country with a predominantly Muslim population. The significance of this should not be over looked considering Turkeys history and also its geographical location. A major diplomatic and political advantage of allowing Turkey to join the EU would be that a westernized Turkey is seen as a barrier to Islamic fundamentalism. The Turkish membership would be of immense symbolic significance as an attempt to close the gap between the Christian and the Muslim world and the message that it would give to Muslim world about the EU would be one of integration, tolerance and acceptance. It would show that the EU and a major Muslim country joining can work and that they are compatible.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that an argument leveled against Turkey quite often is that 99.8% of Turkey’s population are Muslim and a as a result they are too culturally different from a Judeo-Christian based Europe. It is worth remembering however that the EU always argues that it is not a religion based organisation and so on that basis alone any reference to religion should be rendered obsolete; but also Turkey is a secular democratic Republic which defends this fact strongly. Lastly, concerns over Muslim populations living in the EU need only look at present statistics to find that there are 15.9 million Muslims residing throughout the EU [29].

Conclusion

The fact that, since 1923, Turkey has modeled itself on its European counterparts and has, as much as it is possible, attempted to become part o the European community displays it’s dedication and commitment to the ‘European way’ of doing things which simply cannot be denied. Although turkey faces some stiff opposition from certain quarters in the EU, it is undeniable that at this stage they not only have everything to play for but they are also most certainly in control of their own destiny.

Turkey has progressed to the point of Accession negotiations and they must not become complacent as they strive for their ultimate foal of full EU membership. I have highlighted some ares of difficulty for Turkey and these must be addressed. Even in 2008, Turkey has not progressed very far with regards to the Statue of Acquis chapters and they have only themselves to blame for that. it is a slow process which involves amending and changing legislation and policy at a rate not necessarily best suited to a nation as vast and different as Turkey. Political pressure and restraints means almost certainly that no longer everyone is happy with the EU from within the country. Resentment of the EU due to the sometimes agonizingly slow accession process has manifested itself within Turkey and EU approval ratings are down. Disillusionment at the whole process is fast becoming a common sentiment within Turkey and further afield. The argument, of course, could be made that this is a concentrated effort by European politicians wary of allowing to Turkey to join.

Statements by French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, like: Turkey, which is not European, has no place within the EU are damaging and destructive to EU-Turkey relations. The Copenhagen European Council of 12-13 December 2002 already ruled that ‘if the European Council…decides that Turkey fulfills the Copenhagen political criteria, the EU will open negotiations without delay.’ So, taking this into consideration, it highlights the recklessness of President Sarkozy’s comments and displays possible ulterior motives for issuing the statement. I can only see the result of fostering resentment and undermining Turkey’s EU accession bid by making comments like this. Regardless of Sarkozy’s own personal opinion, the fact of the matter is that Turkey has fulfilled the Copenhagen political criteria and negotiations have commenced, though very slowly.

Even at this stage,of Turkey’s bid, I believe that they still have the hardest battle of all to face in the shape of satisfying all 35 chapters of the Acquis. Should they manage to succeed however, I feel that they cannot be delayed entry any longer as they will have been waiting for over half a century to join the EU. That is far and away the longest any prospective country has been made wait.

Turkey has made substantial progress in its political and legislative reform process but it must continue to broaden and consolidate its existing legislation and the implementation of it if it desires to one day become a member of the EU. I feel that Turkey has come so far and the EU has dangled the membership-carrot in front of them for so long now that it would be unthinkable that Turkey could be refused entry upon completion of the negotiations. If they succeed, it will be an extraordinary achievement for a country that was once known as the ‘sick man of Europe’.

Reference

1. http://www.turkishembassylondon.org/canon/aboutturkey_eu.htm

2.  http://www.eurotreaties.com/maastrichteu.pdf

3. http://europa.eu/scadplus/glossary/accession_criteria_copenhague_en.htm

4. http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/atwork/_documents/dgenlargementbrochure/sld005.htm

5. www.diyih.gov.tr/uluslararasi_kuruluslar/ab/ortaklik_ant_doc/okk_1_80_eng.doc

6. http://www.ejil.org/journal/Vol8/No3/sr1-05.html

7. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:61997J0001:EN:HTML

8. http://www.ecsanet.org/conferences/ecsaworld3/kabaalioglu.htm

9. http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=ENGEUR440352005

10. http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1197

11. http://www.osce.org/documents/rfm/2005/03/14223_en.pdf

12. http://www.antenna-tr.org/mevzuat_devam.asp?feox=21&lgg=en

13. Arikan, H (2006) Turkey and the Eu: An Akward Candidate for Eu Membership, 2nd ed, Ashgate Publishing

14. http://www.un.int/cyprus/scr541.htm

15. http://www.hri.org/docs/annan/

16. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sc8074.doc.htm]http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sc8074.doc.htm

17. http://www.hri.org/news/cyprus/tcpr/2005/05-01-25.tcpr.html#01

18. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=en&numdoc=306R0389

19. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:065:0005:0008:EN:PDF

20. www.ciafactbook.com

21. http://hrw.org/english/docs/2003/12/31/turkey7023.htm

22. http://www.turkish-houses.com/turkishhouses/category.asp?CatID=30

23. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3016610,00.html

24. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTGEP2008/Resources/GEP_APP_165-202.pdf

25. Kaminski,B, Ng,Francis, Turkey’s Evolving Trade Integration into Pan-European Markets

26. Lammers, Konrad, The EU and Turkey – Economic Effects of Turkey’s Full Membership

27. Lammers, Konrad, The EU and Turkey – Economic effects of Turkey’s full membership

28. http://www.ewla.org/wf_content/72.html

29. http://islameurope.blogspot.com/2007/05/number-of-muslims-in-europe.html

Bibliography

Arikan, H, Turkey and the EU: An Awkward Candidate for EU Membership?, 2nd ed., Ashgate Publishing, London, 2006

Canefe, N and Ugar, M, Turkey and European Integration: Accession Prospects and Issues, 1st ed., Routledge, UK, 2004

Carkoglu, A and Rublin,B, Turkey and the European Union: Domestic Politics, Economic Integration and International Dynamics, 1st ed., Routledge, UK, 2003

Kaminski,B, Ng,Francis, Turkey’s Evolving Trade Integration into Pan-European Markets

Lake, M, The EU & Turkey: A glittering Prize or a millstone? Federal Trust for Education and Research, 2006

Lammers, Konrad, The EU and Turkey – Economic Effectts of Turkey’s Full Membership, 2006

Turkey Progress Report, Commission of the European Communities, SEC, (2007), 1436

Peers,S and Ward, A, The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, 1st ed., Hart Publishing, Oxford and Portland Oregan, USA, 2004

Rogers, Nicola, A practitioners Guide to the EC-Turkey Association Agreement (Paperback), Brill, London, 1999

Weatherhill, S, Cases and Materials on EU Law, 7th ed., Oxford University Press Inc., New York, 2007

By Shane Cassidy

Gated communities in Brazil

By Larisa Sioneriu

The fear of violence has driven people to create different ways of protecting themselves from the evils of the world. As time passes, society seems to be more and more terrorized by this fear and people live in a constant state of heightened awareness. Gated communities are one of the ways in which people try to secure their safety. This essay is an introduction to the gated community phenomena that is taking place in Brazil. It is well known that Brazil is a country with a high rate of crime; hence, this palatable fear has taking grip of the people, making them overtly conscience of their safety. Gated communities in Brazil is a topic that interests not only the rich who can afford a safer place to live but across class strata’s and areas in society such as the vulnerable poor, middle and working class families and even the Government, the police, the media, the architects, the anthropologist or anyone who is looking secure some form of safety for themselves and their families. I will talk about the emergence of these communities in Brazil, how they function, the violence that leads people to create a ‘sub’community within an urban setting and its negative effects.

Methodology

 Along with the research from the scholars who have written about the topic I have also interviewed 7 Brazilian people. For privacy reasons I will not use their real name in this text, instead I will refer to them as Diego, Thiago, Bianca, Paolo, Gustavo, Mateus and Eduardo. I will introduce their opinions about topics such as violence and gated communities in Brazil where I think it’s appropriate and relevant. The interviews took place on the internet, through email; I sent them the questions and then they responded. Of those people I have interviewed some are friends and others I’ve contacted through mutual acquaintances. They all agreed to the use of their answers in this essay.

The Gated Communities

A gated community is a residential area where a few middle-class and upper-class families live. These gated communities are usually situated at the periphery of the big cities and can be found all around the world: New York, Los Angeles Cairo, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, London, Bombay, Dakar, Sao Paolo, Toronto, Mexico City, Sydney and many others. (Low 2001, Kuppinger 2004, Falzon 2004). ‘Gated communities respond to middle-class and upper-middle-class individual’s desire for community and intimacy and facilitate avoidance, separation and surveillance. They bring individual preferences, social forces, and the physical environment together in an architectural reality and cultural metaphor.’ (Low 2001:48) One of the common attributes they have is privacy. Their privacy is secured through different methods: professional CCTV, alarms, security guards, armed security guards, big gates and fences, gate codes and any non-resident of the area is asked to show an identification document.  This indicates that amongst other reasons for living in gated communities, a salient one is the personal security. Large cities are frequently known for the great number of violent acts that they host and this in turn becomes the most significant reason why people chose to live in a better secured place, such as a gated community.  The gated communities have become worldwide phenomena, as they have expanded significantly over the last decade all around the world. (Levy 2010:99)

‘Condominios fechados’ in Brazil

Gated communities in Brazil referred to as ‘condominios fechados’, are being expanded more than ever. The process of urbanization in Brazil, known for its speed, intensity, profundity and quick industrialization led to an imminent modification of the space i.e. the land area. (Arante 2009:2)  Caldeira (1996), who completed valuable research on the topic, shows us how the gated communities emerged in Brazil, particularly in Sao Paolo. According to her, almost a century ago Sao Paolo used to be a centralized city, and the only difference between the rich and the poor is that the former used to live in bigger and more luxurious houses while the second used to live in a small place, shared with many family members. However, the city still functioned on the principles that an urban congregation consists of, such as common use of public space. During the 1940s and the 1980s , Sao Paolo began the process of division; the middle and upper classes used to live in the centre of the city while the poor moved to the periphery. It’s only since the 1980s and 90s that the condominios fechados emerged as a result of the fear of the violence. In the last decades, the number of crimes grew considerably. In Salvador, the first condominios fechados horizontais appeared between the 1970s and the 1980s.  According to Arantes (2009:8), these first gated communities were built for the working class, usually people who worked for the same company moved into these residential areas (owned by the companies, in most cases). The residents of that period of time said that they preferred living in these new gated communities to get away from the city rush, to live in a more relaxed environment and be closer to the nature. Also, most of them were families with small children. It was in the 1990s when the purpose of living in these condominios fechados was the need of a safer place.

In Rio de Janeiro, as well as in the other large cities, the industrialization and the migration from the countryside to the city modified the geography of the city. The suburbs emerged in the 1920s-30s. The favelas were the first suburbs that were developed in Rio de Janeiro ( Hermam :4).  Starting in 1970s, the demand of lodging for middle and upper classes grew quickly and so people turned to the private companies. In this way, the first condominios fechados appeared in Rio de Janeiro. As Levy (2010:97) observes, the space is altered and frontiers are being burnt as a consequence of the globalization of the urban. However, in the past decades, the incidents of moving into a condominio fechado were the consequence of a sense of insecurity. As Rio de Janeiro developed quickly, so did the criminality; it became unsafe to use the public spaces and people started to regain their safety and freedom by moving into these isolated communities.

Living in a gated community forces the public men to reproduce in a private space. (Levy 2010:103) There is a feeling of false community given by these walled spaces. ‘Gates, instead of creating communities are attracting people who prefer privacy and retreat from society’ ( Low 1997: 68) The social segregation is one of the main issues of these gated communities. Living aside this topic for the moment, Caldeira (1996:59) observes how the common characteristics of the condominios fechados involve this concept of segregation. All of these condominios fechados have armed guards and security systems so that they decide admission or exclusion of non-residents; they are designed in a introvert fashion and not towards the roads, they are isolated by big gates or surrounded by empty spaces; and nonetheless, they are private properties for collective use. We also learn from Caldeira(1996) that the condominios fechados suggest a certain status.

 Residents are creating a social distance from the others and separate themselves both consciously and unconsciously from the rest of the inhabitants of the city. ‘Os condominios negam os principios de uma vida urbana democratica.’1 (Levy 2010:105) ‘Residential segregation created by prejudice and social economic disparities is reinforced by planning practices and policing, implemented by businessmen and banks’ (Low 2001:46). What is even more striking is that mainstream media are also encouraging this new life style. There are many commercials and advertising in Brazilian media who aim to attract people in the condominios fechados and they often use ‘security’ and ‘safety’ as tools to sell the product. Some examples of this are the following condominios that are advertised through the utopia of safety : Lago : tranquilidade e vida moderna (tranquility and modern life) ; Freguesia : para voce vicer Feliz da Vida (so that you live a happy life) ; Estancia Ville : voce pode, sua familia merece (you can, your family deserves it) ; Fasol da Ilha: sua vida tambem pode ser perfeita (your life aswell can be perfect) ; Casa Propria : um final feliz para essa novela  (…) com mais seguranca e qualidade de vida (a happy end for that story…with more safety and a better quality of life) ; Alphaville : viver tranquilo ( to live tranquilly). People feel an immense pressure from this both real and manufactured fear and an anxiety for their own safety that they move into these isolated places. Media rumours and true life experiences all contribute to the creation of a culture of fear in these Brazilian cities.

Most of the people I have interviewed have positive opinions about the condominios fechados, even though not all agreed with the idea that it protects you from violence. When asked if they think that living in a gated community is a good solution for the personal safety, most of them said yes. Diego, who used to live in a condominio fechado , agrees that there are more advantages : ‘Não sei se é  realmente uma solução para a segurança pessoal, mas com certeza é uma maneira de se manter mas tranquilo quando se chega à noite, e tem a sensação de que seus familiares e pertences estão a salvo de qualquer mal. Ser vigilado hoje em dia se turnou uma maneira de se sentir seguro, pois há câmeras, pessoas passando o tempo todo e vendo tudo que está acontecedo a sua volta, o que te libera desse ‘fardo’ de sempre estar atento ao entorno.’2  Another interviewee, Tiago , said that even though he didn’t live in a ‘condominio fechado’ he tried to secure his house as much as possible : ‘Some people try other solutions, for example, I used to live in a house with electric fence, electric gate, cameras and two big dogs.’ Bianca, a girl who lives is one of these condominios answered : ‘No, porque si a los atacadores les dieran las ganas de atacar un condominio fechado lo harán como ya lo hicieron miles de veces en Rio y São Paolo. (..) Pienso que los condominios fechados, si son seguros, pero ademas de la seguridad, ofrecen sercivios como transporte, gimnasio, canchas de deporte, piscina, etc’.3 

Even though not everybody agrees that gated communities are the safest option, they all agree that is one way of keeping safe. When asked to mark their fear of violence from 0 to 10 , the results came up like this: Bianca : 10 ; Thiago : 9 ; Diego : 7; Paolo : 3; Mateus : 7 . These are a clear indicator that fear exists among Brazilians at very high rates. But how much of this fear is real and how much is based on contrived ideas or views? Is Brazil’s case of violence based on rumour and media propaganda? Or is it simply the reality they live?

Violence in Brazil

According to the Human Rights Watch 2011 report ‘There are more than 40.000 intentional homicides in Brazil every year. In Rio de Janeiro hundreds of low-income communities are occupied and controlled by drung gangs, who routinely engasge in violent crime and extortion.’ Violence is a vivid culture among Brazilians. They hear about it, they see it and they experience it. Newspapers and TV are showing everyday cases of crimes and violence , but this doesn’t seem to be just media propaganda, it is the sad reality of Brazil’s life. There are outrageous cases of violence in Brazil. Sckolhammer (39) reminds us of how a few years ago, when the Policia Militar entered a favela in Rio de Janeiro, they found a strong violent resistance from the criminals of that area but among them there was also a 14 years old girl who ‘orgulhosamente’4 was pointing the weapon at the police. This case was shocking and it is not singular. In Brazil, violence takes over all citizens. For some, especially the ones from favelas it’s a way of living , and for others, it becomes an obsessive fear. Nobody is privileged not to be a target of violence, regardless the form it takes. In 2011, the judge Patricia Acioli was shot dead and Congressman Marcelo Freixo declared that he will leave Brazil for a period of time due to many death threats he is receiving. (HRW report).

The 7 people I interviewed live in different cities : Rio de Janeiro, Slvador de Bahia, Campina , Barretos, Sorrocaba and Teresina. All of them have been witnesses or victims of violent acts or have been robbed. They shared their stories and one can conclude that violence has strong roots in Brazilian society.

Mateus: ‘Robbers have entered my old house once (that was not a condominio fechado) and have tried several times.’

Gustavo: ‘Eu já foi assaltadoumos 2 vezes na vida.’5

Deigo : ‘Nunca foi abordado por niguem mais ja fui furtado variaz vezes, um dos meus maiores medos é estar por perto quando esses furtos occurem,, pois não sei qual será a minha reação nem a reação do deliquente.’6

Thiago: ‘I don’t remember seeing actual violence in my 19 years of living in Brazil but I was myself a victim on my first day in Europe, in bright light.’

Paolo: ‘Já preseciei um asssalto. E já fui roubado.’7

Eduardo: ‘When I was 12 years old I was playing football on the beach with my friends. I was dark outside and 2 guys on a motorbike passed by and started to insult us. Then my friends shout back at them and the guys took out their guns and shot at us. A bullet passed by my head and only touched it a little bit; nothing happened to me, I was just bleeding a little.’

Bianca: ‘yo ya fui víctima de 2 atracos en 4 meses, uno muy violento tres atracadores con una pistola en mi cara mientras caminaba en la calle un domingo a las 19h30 200 metros de mi casa en un barrio noble de Rio, Barra da Tijuca, y otro en el coche con mi familia, el atracador no enseño la arma, pero hizo como si estuviera con una en los pantalones y nosotros, con miedo, no quisimos mirar a ver si había de hecho una arma o no. (…)Yo soy muy triste de vivir en una ciudad tan linda, tan rica, con tanta oportunidad y no poder caminar tranquila en la calle, tener un miedo constante y sentirme segura solamente en un sitio cerrado y con seguridad. Ni dentro de los autobuses o coches tengo tranquilidad. Pueden llamarme de paranoica, pero es la realidad que vivo, no puedo tener un bueno móvil porque me van atracarme y llevarlo antes que haya acabado de pagar los plazos, o unas gafas guapas, prefiero no tener un coche porque pienso que llama más la atención de los atracadores, no puedo caminar con buena ropa si voy a la universidad porque donde está, en el centro del Rio a lado de la Central do Brasil, es un sitio donde no quieres llamar la atención de nadie. Solo estoy tranquila  y segura 100% en casa y me molesta el miedo que tengo.’8

These testimonies, along with all the media and official reports show that the culture of fear in Brazil is widely spread. Therefore, the condominios fechados seem to be one of the best solutions people can find to escape from the terror, at least whilst they are at home. Pastana (2005: 183) name this gated communities as ‘aquitetura do medo’9. These arquitecturas do medo transform the cities in big walls. The terrorized population chooses to live in fortified housing, decorated with professional alarm systems, cameras, and security men who are armed. People are afraid to use the public spaces and avoid going out at night times. Pastana(2005:185) observes that people chose to do activities indoors even in the weekends. They would rather watch a movie, order a pizza, talk on the phone and spend time on the Internet or play videogames instead of having a social active life in the public sphere of the cities.

Safety, false sentiment of safety and segregation

But how safe are these condominios fechados ?  In reportage of TV Aratu, we are told that according to the Secretaria de Segurança Pública there have been registered a number of 494 assaults in the gated communities in 2010 in Salvador de Bahia. Criminals seem to find ways to enter even these well secured residential areas. They enter the communities under false identities, claiming that they are workers, electricians and so on. Once they are in, they usually succeed in robbing the houses. Many crimes also occur around the gates of this residential areas, when people go home. The condominios fechados are in fact good targets for the thieves as they know that only wealthy people can afford to live in such areas. This is another reason for people to fail to feel secured even at homes. As a consequence, people update their security systems all the time, and if until recently the security man was not necessarily a professional guard, now people hire professional security men, armed and trained to deal with all kind of possible unwanted situations. In the programme Reporter Justiça there was a reportage called Normas de condominios , where people are told how to protect themselves better in the gated communities and we also find that there actually exists a faculty in Brazil that created a module that aims to teach people how to secure the gated communities and how become good managements of them. The condiminios fechados are a popular topic in Brazil’s media.

Another issue with the security of these residential areas is that even if the gated communities can restrain criminals to break in, people are still exposed to possible assaults when they leave their homes. As much as they try to avoid public spaces, they have to go to work or school and cannot build a whole gated world for themselves. The gated communities do not have a social diversity. The residents are living in a homogenised social group, with same socio-economic profile and the same phobia: violence.

Fernandez (2005:2) concludes that this segregation of citizens in a city leads to the destruction of the city. If people don’t participate actively in the social urban life, this can alter significantly the meaning of being a citizen. Pastana (2005:188) argues that : ‘seja como for, esses enclaves representam um espaço  que contradiz direitamente os ideas de heterogenidade, acessibilidade e igualdade que ajutaram a organizar tanto o espaço público moderno quanto as modernas democracias.’10  The question of a social segregation if very important in Brazil’s context. On one hand, we had the favelas, filled with very poor people, criminals and drug dealers, and on the other side we have the condominios fechados , occupied by middle and upper class. The public spaces are being avoided more and more often and so the question of a division of the Brazilian cities in the future is imminent. It is probably a simplistic view, but big cities in Brazil have created salient extremes and these are important factors of the segregation of the society.

People often disagree with this Brazilian urban paradox, and blame the ones who contribute to it. But there is no doubt that citizens are victims of the violence and they can’t seem to find any other option than moving in walled areas. There is a famous song called Minha Alma , song of the Brazilian band ‘O Rappa’, that sings about the situation of the condominios fechados, blame them for contributing to the segregation, but also raises a very important question : how can one , in search of the protection and freedom, isolate himself in a prison ?

As grandes do condominio/ São prá trazer proteção/ Mas também trazem a dúvida/ Se é vocé que tá nessa prisão.’11

When the victim becomes victimizer

The problem of segregation is not the only negative effect of the condominios fechados. Damaging the environment, creating discrimination, illegally occupation of public spaces in order to build new gated communities- hence violation of federal law , violation of human rights and the right of free movement and corruption are all negative consequences of the condominios fechados.

The illegal gated communities also referred to as falsos condominios fechados are not a problem of the current period of time. They have been constructed decades ago. Higashi (2011: 111) explains how the illegal occupation of public properties emerged in São Paolo. According to him, they have appeared in the 80s, when the city became overcrowded and there was no more space to host so many people. Therefore, new districts have been constructed , and some of them have been legalized. However, not all of them. Even though people blame the poor who have illegally occupied some public areas, the reality is that the condominios fechados are no exception. What makes the favelas different from the condominios fechados is that the last ones isolate the area and transform the public space into a private land. Dr Cristina Moles tells us in a documentary called Prejudice and Greed: Gated Communities- Brazil’, that the Constitution of Brazil prohibits the ownership of any public land. However, the condominios fechados , once they are built, they also set up security measurements against crimes. One of them is the installation of checkpoints and security guards who don’t allow any ‘suspect’ to walk in. Thus, these condominios fechados, apart from being built informal or illegally, also generate more violation of laws. People are not given permission to walk on a land that is public , thus, is for everybody’s use. Dr Cristina Moles also explains to us how this is possible. Once a developer buys an ‘empty land’ he asks the prefecture to provide with infrastructure and street lights. Consequently, he also asks for permission to put checkpoints at the main entrance, under the pretext of security. From then on, the residents take over the land and make their own rules. The State doesn’t intervene because it’s convenient to have less responsibility. And moreover, since corruption is still a great problem in Brazil’s society, the rich can usually make their way. As Lima (2009:6) says : ‘A ilegalidade não é privilegio das clases baixas, também os ricos a produzem’.12

In the documentary mentioned above, we find how people are being discriminated and forbidden to use the public beach. One of the victims, a fish men, tells how affected his life has been since the condominios from his area were built. Since he is a fishmen, he makes a living from fishing and so he is able to provide for him and his family. But the security guards of those condominios don’t allow him to pass through to get to the beach. The problem here is clear: the victims become victimizers and violate the law of free movement and human rights.

Environment is another victim of the condominios fechados. An illustration of this would be another example given in the documentary ‘Prejudice and Greed:Gated Communities-Brazil’. In one of the condominios, the president of the neighbourhood association of housing subdivision interdicts the garbage truck to enter the area. Therefore, the solution they found was creating a new collecting point, outside the condominio. As a consequence, the pollution of the garbage accumulated there from 65 families, damages the surrounding area.

All these violations are the result of the self-segregation that these condominios fechados produce. If at first the inhabitants of the condominios fechados were victims of the violent Brazilian society, one can observe how in some cases the roles are changing and they are the ones who generate social, economic and environmental issues. It is a vicious circle that only causes more alteration to the society of Brazil, and one can even argue that there is a civil war between the rich and the poor.

Conclusion

The culture of fear exist in all big cities and one of its consequences are the construction of the isolated residential areas , that are the gated communities. Middle and upper class people move to the periphery of the cities in search of a safer place. The gated communities are very well secured through different way. In the case of Brazil , the gated communities are more and more popular. Being a country with one of the highest rates of crimes, society is infected with the fear of violence. Thus, those who can afford, move in the condominios fechados and try to protect themselves as much as possible from the crimes. Since violence is a reality in the Brazilian society, we cannot say that the terror of fear is generated from imaginary situations or paranoia. However, we have seen that the condominios fechados are not as safe and nevertheless they are not a solution for the violence. Instead, it creates more violence through self-segregation, violation of laws, discrimination and damaging the environment. Big cities in Brazil have become, as Caldeira (1996) names them , ‘Cidade de Muros’.13

Reference

  1. The gated communities deny the principles of a democratic urban life
  1. I don’t know if it’s a solution for the personal safety but it is certainly a way of feeling safer when you come home at night, you have the sensation that your family are protected from any bad things. Vigilance became nowadays a way of feeling safe since there are CCTV , people watching all the time what is happening on their surroundings, which makes you liberate yourself from that worry of always being aware.
  1. No, because if the robbers want to they will find a way, just how they did it millions of times in Rio and Sao Paolo,(…) I think that the gated communities are safe , but apart from that they also provide services such as transport, gym, swimming pools.
  1. 4.Proudly
  1. I have already been attacked twice in my life
  1. I have never been approached by anyone but I have been robbed a few times. One of my biggest fears is to be around an attack, I don’t know how I’d react or how the criminals would react.
  1. I have already been a victim of an attack. I was robbed.
  1. I was victim of 2 attacks in 4 months, one of them very violent with 3 attackers having a gun pointed to my head, while I was walking on the street on a Sunday at 19:30 , 200 meters away from my house which is in a nice district of Rio, Barr da Tjuca. The other attack happened when I ws in the car with my family and even though the attackers didn’t show their weapon they were acting as if they had one, and we were so terrified that we didn’t even want to see if he had one or not.(…) I am very upset because I live in such a beautiful city, so rich and with so many opportunities and I am not even able to walk on the streets without having a constant fear and only feeling safe in a closed place with security systems. I don’t even feel safe in buses or cars. You can call me paranoid but is the reality I live in. I can’t have a nice mobile phone because they’ll attack me and take , or I can’t have some nice sun glasses, I prefer not to have a car because I think it will draw the attention of the attackers, I can’t wear good clothes if I go to college because my college s situated in the centre of Rio, next to the Central do Brasil, a place where you don’t want to draw the attention to anybody. I am only 100% safe if I am at home and it really bothers me being so afraid.
  1. Architectures of fear
  1. No matter how you put it, these gated communities represent a space that contradicts directly the ideas of heterogeneous-ness, accessibility and equality that help organizing both the public spaces and the modern democracies.
  1. The iron grating around the condominios serve to bring protection , but it also bring a question : is it not you who is in a prison?
  1. Illegalities are not only the privilege of the poor but also the rich are abusing of them.

13. City of Walls

 

Bibliography

  • Arantes, Rafael de Aguiar 2009 Qualidade de Vida ou Fortificações: o significado dos condomínios fechados em Salvador. Revista VeraCidade – Ano IV – Nº 4  pg 1-12
  • Bogus , Lucia Maria Machado ; Pasternak , Suzana 2004 A cidaded do extremos, XIV Encontro Nacional de Estudos Populacionais, pg 2-29
  • Caldeira, Teresa Pires do Rio

1996 Enclaves Fortificados : a Nova Segregação Urbana. Public Culture, 8(2), 1996: 303-328

  • Dornelles. João Ricardo 2006 O desafio da violência, a questão democráticae os direitos humanos no Brasil. Direito, Estado e Sociedade 9 (29) : 213 a 221
  • Fernandez, Fernando Lannes 2005  Os discursos sobre as favelas e os limites ao direito à cidade.  Published in Cidades (Presidente Prudente: Grupo de Estudos Urbanos, 2(3): 37-62
  • Falzon, Mark Anthony  2004 Paragons of Lifestyle:gated communities and the politics of space in Bombay. City & Society,16( 2) :145–167
  • Grant, Jill 2005 The Function of the Gates: The Social Construction of Security in Gated Developments. The Town Planning Review,  76 (3): 291-313
  • Hermann, Carla Guimarães ‘Breve discussão acerca do uso do espaço urbano: a dicotomização público x privado e a problemática da autosegregação nas metrópoles brasileiras através dos condomínios exclusivos e dos shopping centers.’ The text was elaborated in the “Desenvolvimento Urbano e Planejamento Urbano Crítico”, ministrated by Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geografia da UFRJ by Prof. Dr. Marcelo Lopes de Souza
  • Higashi , Marcio Santiago 2011 Occupação Irregular e Criminalidade na Região da Serra da Cantareira . Revista do Laboratório deEstudos da Violência da UNESP/Marília, Edition 8 , pg 107-15.
  • Kuppinger, Petra 2010 Os condomínios residenciais fechados e a reconceitualização do exercício da cidadania nos espaços urbanos. 7: 95-108
  • Levy, Dan Rodriguez 2010 Os condomínios residenciais fechados e a reconceitualização do exercício da cidadania nos espaços urbanos. 7: 95-108
  • Lima, Daniela Batista 2009 Do Medo a Violéncia á ‘Condominirização’ das Cidades Brasileiras. XIII Encontro da Asociação Nacional de Pos-Graduação e Pesquisa em Planejamento Urbano e Regional, Brasilia. Pp 1-21
  • Low, M. Setha 2001 The Edge and the Center: Gated Communities and the Discourse of Urban Fear. American Anthropologist, 103( 1): 45-58
  • Low, M. Setha 2010 Claiming Space for an Engaged Anthropology: Spatial Inequality and Social Exclusion. American Anthropologist, 113( 30): 389–407
  • Low, M. Setha 2009 Maintaining Whiteness : The Fear of Others and Niceness. Transforming Anthropology,  17( 2)  79–92
  • Pastana, Debora Regina 2005 Cultura do medo e democracia: um pradoxo brasileiro. Revista Medições Londrina, 10(2): 183-198
  • Schollhammer, Karl Erik 2007 “Breve mapeamento das relações entre violência e cultura no Brasil contemporâneo”.  Estudos de Literatura Brasileira Contemporânea, nº. 29. pp. 27-53.

Online Resources

•           Fronteira Urbana – Condomínios Horizontais

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBYFN7LU3eQ, Accessed on 14.01.2013

•     Human Right Watch, World Report 2011 : Brazil

http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2011/brazil , Accessed on 18.01.2013

•           Insegurança nos condomínios fechados

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xDNcrQ0pik , Accessed on 14.01.2013

•           Moradores de condomínios trocam porteiros por vigilantes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w56GCz7psGc    Accessed on 14.01.2013

•  Por que morar em condomínio fechado?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQEcX614YWo, Accessed on 14.01.2013

•           Prejudice and Greed: Gated Communities – Brazil.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXqP_iR3gkc , Accessed on 14.01.2013

•           Repórter Justiça – Normas de condomínio (14/04/12)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lExUWyrtcg0, Accessed on 14.01.2013

By Larisa Sioneriu