Saturday, February 13, 2010

The business of exporting Frenchness

"It is estimated France spends a whopping $1.4 billion each year promoting its culture and language abroad. The number has to be estimated because the effort comes through a jumble of programs cutting across various government ministries, officials say...

France has a quarter of a million students abroad, supported by its taxpayers, following the French national curriculum, most of whom are not citizens. That's just a small part of the country's cultural diplomacy."


  1. Surprisingly calm and composed despite the parasites .

  2. It should be a problem for any speaker. The hecklers were louts and they should have been ejected from the room.
    Your example is not a very good one since they did not prevent Said from speaking to the point where he had to leave the stage.

    Completely frivolous comment, but this video reminded me of how elegant and handsome Said was.

  3. About France:

    Paris is great, but the villages and small towns are my favorites.

  4. <span>Interesting web site mentioned on The Arabist
    Arabic Literature(In English)</span>

  5. for my experience, i couldn't say they fund these courses for 'marketing' their language (and therefore their culture), actually i could say that the courses fees are profitable enough to fund the cultural centers themselves.

  6. There is a difference between the powerful giving speeches in the face of those they oppress,  and the oppressed appealing to those in power.  To have someone speak,  as an example Oren recently at UC Irvine,  in full support of the genocide (or, form of genocide) taking place against the Palestinians,  is like having Nazi war criminals stand up in a University that has Jewish students.

    Whereas students have no business standing up and interrupting someone like Said who speaks for the oppressed displaying more oppression,  the Palestinian students and anyone else who recognizes what Israel is doing has the right to stand up and object to someone like Oren speaking.  What I compared it to was recognition of these types of characters who supported and participated in genocide in the past,  on Mondo's site -

    I think that the interruption of Oren is what one would call justified, it is a form of recognition of who he is and what he is standing for. I don’t think the interruption of the students was overdone, considering the genocidal atrocities committed against the Palestinian people – it is a form of recognizing a criminal accomplice in Oren. It would be like the recognition of other criminals in the past –


    They felt this in their gut, the students and other participants. They know of the crimes committed which Mr. Glatzer enumerated, they had to speak out, they had to shout and point their finger. We know this from our past, and know what we would feel. I might add, but these people who invited him honor him, they give him a place of prominence and platform…Never Again applies to everyone, it is universal.

  7. It's about competition for markets, n'est-ce pas? The French are fighting a losing battle against anglophone hegemony, and the swamping of all cultures with American kitsch.
    "Dealing with America you have two choices: you either accept the authority of the Pentagon and lose your freedom, or the authority of Hollywood and lose your culture." Jawaharlal Nehru.
    Britain has succumbed on both fronts. Disney rules.

  8. Sorry, I'm holding out for the The Great Leap Forward style communes! :)

  9. Besides, aren't all of the municipalities of France called communes?

  10. <span>"Dealing with America you have two choices: you either accept the authority of the Pentagon and lose your freedom, or the authority of Hollywood and lose your culture." Jawaharlal Nehru.</span>

    Unfortunately, the great Nehru was shocked to learn that his "brothers in socialism", the Chinese, really WOULD invade India and he asked the U.S. for militarty aid. Imagine, the great culture of India survived the Pentagon and Hollywood movies!
    Based on what I have seen in both Britain and France, their cultures survived, too.

  11. <span><span>And they're VERY expensive. Khaled is right. It's a profitable business. Besides my experience with the people at the AF in Sydney is that they're the least friendly around. Also a close friend, French herself,  had a job there where she would welcome the visitors and give information about the courses etc. After a while her boss told her that she was smiling too much and she needs to keep her distance. That didn't surprise me one bit.

  12. <span>Their (British and French) cultures survived because of the drastic measures of protection taken by the respective gov'ts  as well. French cinema survived thanks to such measures, too long to detail, when the Italian cinema could not resist the assault and disappeared all together.</span>