France: Director compares illegals to wartime Jews

France: Director compares illegals to wartime Jews

A French film-maker, whose new movie depicts a Kurdish refugee hoping to swim the Channel to Britain, has angered the government by comparing its policies on illegal immigrants to Nazi-occupied France's repression of Jews.

"To suggest that the French police are like the police of Vichy (the wartime French collaborationist regime), and that Afghans are hunted down, are the target of roundups ... is intolerable," said Immigration Minister Eric Besson. Filmmaker Philippe Lioret "more than overstepped the mark when ... he says that 'the illegals in Calais are the equivalent of Jews in 1943.' That sort of thing is completely intolerable," he told RTL radio last weekend.

Lioret made the comparison in an interview he gave about the new film titled Welcome to La Voix du Nord, a newspaper based in a northern French region in which lies the port of Calais.

Calais became a destination for migrants from across the world in the late 1990s with the opening of the Sangatte refugee camp, right next to the entrance to the Channel Tunnel linking France and Britain.

The camp was finally closed in 2002 but migrants still come to Calais in their attempts to get to Britain. Every night, some try to hide in trucks and trains using the tunnel or in cross-Channel ferries.

"If tomorrow you help a bloke who has no papers, you're guilty under the offence of 'helping a person whose papers are not in order,'" Lioret told the paper. "What country are we living in? I have the impression that we're in 1943 and that we've hidden a Jew in the cellar."


Source: Expatica (English)

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