We have the same problem with our Marie as was told to sell our house and go back home and called a shit, went to the MP of the Charente and was told he was a silly man and why could I not speak French so no help there also.
Your maire sounds down-right rude but your MP does have a point…
Small village mayors seem often to be rather narrow minded people. But usually if incomers (of whatever nationality) make an effort to integrate a bit and get to know people then acceptance follows. Presumably if you can’t speak French you haven’t been here very long? We are the incomers so it up to us to make the effort to join in.
That is technically racist abuse.
Ségrégation (discrimination) seems not acceptable in France if it’s called out.
You might get him on “glottophobie” (mocking someone or giving them worse service because of their accent) as well.
If you could prove it (recording, witness) officialdom would theoretically have to feel obliged to look at it.
However if you take action on any of these things or call them out, whatever your rights, then practically things could get a lot worse for you. Someone I think it was Stella? talked here about “killing them with [charm and] kindness”. Even though it sticks in the craw, if things haven’t gone too far I would embark on a longterm campaign of this.
Also discreetly discussing with any French friends and asking their advice may get you quiet support. “Turning the other cheek” and “discretion is the better part of valour” seem to be how locals here work.
It may be it’s all too late and if the option is available to you, even consider moving!
Sorry for late reply
- When people demand ahsylum(excuse my French spelling) the government houses. If you pay money you will get a house. I heard people paid money happily for this. As these houses are big and cheap, they will recover their bribe money within few months time.
- I saw this myself , on marché spot, they give you receipt of 25 euros official but take 80 or 90 euros. If you come late or whatever your spot is fixed.
What makes me sad is, immigrants who run from bribes and injustices back home experienced same things here, though frequency isn’t that much but still it is.
What makes me even more sad is when Muslim people do hypocrisy, like meat they want is halal but when it comes to bribe they will give. When in islam giving or receiving bribe is totally forbidden.
Xenophobic, not racist.
Someone from a peaceful, developed country with a functioning education system and the means to buy books /learn online/both has no excuse not to speak the language of the country they have chosen to live in.
Not quite true, some people just do not have the aptitude to learn a new language, their brain really struggles to construct new cognitive frameworks necessary to learn a new language, there can be other reasons as well
Do you make allowances on that for the hard of hearing or very old people, Vero?
I do agree with you, it’s rude to make no effort to learn the language of any country you spend time in
Then why on earth would they choose to live somewhere they are cut off from social intercourse beyond the very very basics? Where they can’t have a meaningful conversation let alone read anything demanding or deal with an emergency? And I’m not convinced that’s true anyway.
I’d certainly make allowances for the very old or deaf or otherwise less up to it but again I’d really wonder why someone would choose thus to isolate him- or herself. I’d feel sorry for them but in a slightly eye-rolling way, if you see what I mean.
It seems a bit arrogant, oh yes we’ll come and live in France but we won’t participate in society or bother getting to know people.
I chose to live here after 40 years of coming here and have owned two houses here for 8 years, I used to be fluent in French but now I cannot speak French due to damaged neural pathways after two strokes, I mostly still understand French but do not have the ability to speak it anymore.
It took me two years to relearn English though things are still not perfect by any means, French is a step to far for me now.
I get by without any problems, I use Google translate if there are any problems, I have many friends here, I am part of the community here without any problems, we are not recluses and I choose and love living here and I would go for citizenship if I could get past the speaking French part but I can’t.
It grates with me when I see comments like this, there can be many reasons why people cannot successfully learn languages, mine is only one, I have chosen to stay here for the rest of my life limited though it may be and I am making a success of it for myself and my family, also I am quite capable of dealing with any situation I have or will find myself in, you easily find away.
So roll your eyes and feel pity at the likes of myself if you want as I am really not bothered
Rant over and back on topic
But you were deprived of previous ability to do something by accident, which isn’t the same thing at all. Nobody would be rolling their eyes at you, you aren’t the sort of person I was thinking of, French people who have strokes are in the same boat, it isn’t what I was getting at. Nevertheless, I’m sorry if I offended you.
But if you saw in a shop speaking English, using Google translate to make my order, not making any effort to use French, would you not slot me into all the catagories that you had in your original post and feel sorry for me while rolling your eyes
I am not offended (life’s to short to be bothered with that) as I said it just grates because as I said there can be reasons other than laziness for not speaking French.
I think, as @Griffin36 says you should be very careful of criticism of the individual without knowing the full facts of their situation.
In the general case, however, I would think it only reasonable to try to learn the language of any country that you want to settle in for more than a couple of months - it quite pains me that my French is not good enough for casual conversation though I do, sort of, have the excuse that I can only visit 5-6 weeks of the year so “immersion” is difficult to achieve.
I have improved since we bought the house and whatever level I have reached, if we do move more permanently, learning French properly will be a priority.
I doubt it - an anglophone friend of mine had a brain bleed recently and it will take a couple of years to get back to normal the surgeon said; it is obvious to any onlooker that it isn’t laziness etc. Quite a different kettle of fish. Anyway let’s just accept I’m a horrible person and leave it at that.
That is one thing you are not I apologise if I have upset you as it was not my intention
I will delete my posts as they aren’t really anything to do with the topic.
Nonono don’t - discussion is discussion I’m not saying I’m horrible in a passive aggressive poor little me-ish way, it is just a statement of fact, that is how I often come across because I am tactless and judgmental and jump to conclusions.
Getting back to mayors.
I wonder if sometimes newcomers look at the title and the sash and see an official and expect more than perhaps they should expect of a village mayor.
Of course it is impossible to generalise, mayors come in every flavour, some are excellent some are dreadful most are in between, some schemed and plotted to get elected some had to be persuaded because the commune needed a mayor and nobody wanted the job, etc. But once elected they all have responsibilites, they have a lot to do and not all of it a pleasant stroll in the park, there are problems and disputes to try and resolve and there is official business and budgets to set and edicts from above to implement and red tape to try and unravel. Perhaps naively I like to think most of them do basically have the best interests of their community at heart but if it is a mayor who was born and bred in a community they will probably see the community itself and their role in it, very differently from an incomer and especially an immigrant incomer. The incomer may expect the mayor to be detached and impartial and treating everybody exactly the same but how realistic is that really if 99% of the residents are people the mayor has been to school and socialised with and done business with over the decades, or watched them grow up and get married and start their families. It is personal, you may think it should not be but it is because those are the individuals who elected him and those are the individuals he sees himself as representing. So if you have that kind of mayor who sees his role to be basically a pater familias he may be nonplussed when incomers arrive and start treating him like a public servant, which of course he is but he may not see it quite like that, demanding that he does things for them even though he doesn’t even know them and especially if said income does not speak French. So I agree with what somebody else said that it is important for us immigrants to become part of the community and if possible get to know the mayor personally, so that he regards you as part of his flock as it were rather than a stranger in the community.
Incidentally… once elected there is lengthy training for the new Maire to undertake, so that he might fulfill his obligations correctly …
During this, the enormity of the role does come as a surprise to some of them… to others it is merely an opportunity to refresh/update the knowledge/responsibilities.
Yes and I believe there is also “inter mayor” support. Ours seems to regularly go to meetings of all the departmental mayors which I gather are held to discuss policies and make sure that all the mayors agree on how to interpret new regulations and tasks as they are introduced and also so that the newly elected mayors can benefit from a bit of mentoring from the experienced ones.
I am sure it would be impossible to make any kind of fist of the job without training and support, you cannot expect a person to be elected one day and wake up next morning and somehow know what to do or even where to start.
Yes, indeed… a great deal of support is available… thank goodness.
The role of the Secretaire should never be underestimated… since that person is a Civil Servant (unlike the Maire) and carries on regardless of who does/doesn’t win the local elections.
Whilst it is the Maire and his council who will deliberate-vote on a proposal (whatever)… it is mostly the Secretaire who will ensure that legalities etc are met, following up on the “decision” for which the majority have voted…
That’s only a very rough idea of the role of Secretaire… and training is ongoing for this role too… since government stuff changes so regularly.
Depending on the commune, some Secretaires receive more training than others but, here again… there is a support system between them and they can (and do) phone a colleague for advice…