Over the past few weeks, the scene has repeated itself several times. I ask a friend or a colleague where they spend their holidays, they answer “Tétouan, for its beaches” or “Dakhla, for kite-surfing” or “the High Atlas for trekking and for its high perched valleys, which are marvels”. But scratching a little, I realize that if they spend the holidays in the country, it is by default: they have not received a visa for France.
Like a blemish
Some admit it with some embarrassment – a visa refusal is like a defect. I try to console them by reminding them that Régis Debray, adviser as he was to a President of the Republic, Mitterrand in this case, is silent refused a visa for the United States. Small consolation: Che’s former companion could wear the Yankee visa refusal like a badge of honor. But them? What have they done to Doulce France? They did not take up arms against it, on the contrary, it was for them a second homeland, that of Montaigne, Voltaire and Hugo.
Morocco-France: a visa for anger
Some announce it with the accents of a cold rage, like the rapper ElGrande Toto, whose concert scheduled for August 11 in Sète was canceled because he was refused his visa. Sète, the city of Paul Valéry, Jean Vilar and Georges Brassens, is twinned with my good city of El Jadida, which made me personal the affront made to the friend Toto; who added that it was highly likely that his next European tour, which was due to begin in October, would also be canceled for the same reason. It’s sad.
Some of my friends have a good heart against bad luck. Applying for a visa for France has become a sort of lottery, they say. We try, and if we don’t have the right number, we go to Turkey. It’s not bad either, Turkey…
Algeria-France: memory file, migratory question, presidential… Why Macron raises the tone
This policy of restriction affects Morocco and Algeria – as well as Tunisia, but less harshly. Halving the number of Schengen sesames granted to Moroccans and Algerians is a measure supposed put pressure on their States so that they drag their feet less when it comes to taking back their unwanted nationals in France. I am not entering here into a discussion on the merits, or not, of this strategy. I only see the collateral damage it causes.
Several of my friends are now looking for an alternative to the French Mission for their children – the Belgians and the Americans are on the rise. Some started sending me their messages in English – I’m not joking. A cousin I had never heard speak Arabic, a fan of France 2, Amélie Nothomb and Boris Cyrulnik, spoke to me the day before yesterday in Darija – dialectal Moroccan Arabic – much to my dismay. At first I thought she had turned to Wahhabism; but no: visa refused, reaction of pride, bye bye the language of Montaigne…
“Golden passports”: when wealthy Africans offer themselves dual nationality
Dale Carnegie published his best-selling book in 1936 How to make friends, translated into dozens of languages and still widely read today. One of the principles of the manual was: “Make the person you are talking to feel that they matter to you. To refuse a visa to someone who meets all the eligibility conditions is to tell them that they don’t count for anything. This is the opposite of what Carnegie advocated. One has the impression that some, in Paris, have read it backwards: they have become masters in “the art of losing one’s best friends “.