Then They Tear Off Your Epaulettes

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose approval ratings are racing toward the center of the Earth, gave a stiff law-and-order speech in Grenoble this morning, as Bloomberg reports.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, responding to a recent spate of riots and violent crimes in France, called for stiffer penalties for first-time offenders and suggested that violent criminals with foreign origins be stripped of their citizenship.

So, if you come to France from, say, Geneva, and commit a felony — like, say, burning a new SLK 200 Kompressor BM6 somebody left parked in a quiet suburban street — you’re immediately Swiss again. This sounds pretty harsh. That’s intentional. Sarkozy:

“No housing project, no street, no stairwell should escape from the order of the republic,” Sarkozy said as he inaugurated a new prefect to replace one he fired last week after a riot by local youths.

It’s all theater, of course. As Le Figaro observes, under French law, to actually lose your French citizenship, you have be found guilty of treason or espionage, so unless you’re spying on stairwells for a foreign power, Sarko doesn’t mean you. The idea’s an engaging one, though. Maybe the government could run off a few Republic of Devil’s Island passports for the formerly French.

Denis Boyles — Dennis Boyles is a writer, editor, former university lecturer, and the author/editor of several books of poetry, travel, history, criticism, and practical advice, including Superior, Nebraska (2008), Design Poetics (1975), ...

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