Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Music show: To 'Joon Moon' and back

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Japan's stocks on record winning streak after Abe's election victory

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

The pine cone line: A train ride through rural Provence

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

David McAllister: 'EU involvement in Catalonia could set a precedent'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Glyphosate: Should the EU re-authorise the weedkiller chemical?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A piece of history: Five former US presidents gather for hurricanes fundraiser

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Chic hotels and horse races: Calais tries to shed its 'Jungle' image

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Kenyatta and Odinga call for peace before Kenya's election rerun

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Kurdish referendum a ‘colossal mistake’, says son of late president Talabani

Read more

France

Corsicans object to children singing Lennon’s ’Imagine’ in Arabic

© Pascal Pavani / AFP I Archive picture of a French primary school

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2015-06-18

A Corsican primary school has cancelled a children’s fete after parents threatened to disrupt the event because pupils were due to sing verses of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ in Arabic.

The school in Prunelli-di-Fiumorbo in the north of the island – where even French culture and language is often fiercely resisted – had planned to have children sing Lennon’s famously pacifist (and anti-religion) song in five different languages, including French, Corsican, English, Spanish and Arabic.

Some parents at the school, which serves a district with a large immigrant population, objected to the idea of their children singing along in Arabic.

Graffiti was daubed outside the school earlier this week reading “Arabi Fora!” (Arabs out!) and “Lingua Corsa (Corsican language) while a small group of parents threatened to disrupt the fete if the singing went ahead.

Speaking on France 5 TV Thursday, Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said it was “terrible” that parents had objected to their children singing in Arabic.

“It is our policy to develop the learning of foreign languages in schools and Arabic is obviously one of those languages,” Vallaud-Belkacem said. “We need to have a diversity of languages in schools.”

“The fete has been cancelled for public safety reasons,” she said, adding that a criminal inquiry was underway to examine the graffiti, as well as the threats and comments posted on social media.

Prunelli-di-Fiumorbo mayor Pierre Siméon de Buochberg said he had received a “large” number of messages from Corsica and mainland France that objected to the plan to have primary school children singing anything in Arabic.

He also told reporters that the town was making a formal complaint to police about the threats, and that an open meeting planned for Thursday had been cancelled “because the security situation cannot be guaranteed”.

Date created : 2015-06-18

  • FRANCE

    Sarkozy accused of racially charged rhetoric against ministers

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France to spend €100 million tackling ‘unbearable’ racism

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French court overturns ban on ‘racist’ cakes

    Read more

COMMENT(S)