Posted on: June 20, 2008

Under the “Modernization of the Institutions of the 5th Republic” the French Assemblée Nationale voted YES to the Amendement Nº 605 . The amendment reads:

L’article 1er de la Constitution est complété par une phrase ainsi rédigée :
« Les langues régionales appartiennent à son patrimoine. »

Article 1 of the Constitution is completed by a sentenced that reads:
” Regional languages belong to the national heritage ”

Then the amendment went to The French Senate, and there June 18th, my birthday, the senators rejected it (216 against / 103 for). If you read French you can check out the article in Le Monde.

This is very sad because not only are the regional languages part of the French national heritage, but I also truly believe that strong regional culture is the best way to resist globalization and promote sustainability at many levels.

The senators reasons for rejecting the amendment are xenophobic and show a terrible lack in their own culture. Below, an example of the debate’s level.

Senator Michel Charasse (ex-PS -the socialist party- recently expelled from that party, he represents the Puy-de-Dôme):

“J’ai été surpris de voir apparaître à l’Assemblée nationale un amendement tendant à classer les langues régionales au patrimoine de la France. Pourquoi ne pas y classer aussi les monuments historiques, ou même la gastronomie, voire la potée auvergnate ?

“I was surprised to see the national Assembly propose an amendment favoring the classification of regional languages as part of the French National Heritage. Why not also include historical monuments, gastronomy like the potée from Auvergne?

Mr. Charasse, who is from Auvergne, and probably fell into a pot of potée when he was a little boy (reference to Asterix le Gaulois!), is now so self imbued that transmission of culture is not his concern or stops with him.

Anyhow, if I understand the process correctly the goose is not yet cooked. We are now starting the “navette” or a “shuttle” process. The amendment will return to the Assemblée for another round of discussions, and maybe undergo modifications before being submitted to a new vote, after which it would be sent back to the Senate. This process can happen several time and if consensus is not reached another set of procedure will be applied. To become part of the constitution, the Amendment has to be ratified by both chambers.

Affaire à suive/ To be continued!

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