Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kufiyaspotting: French Socialist Party

In the office of the French Socialist Party in Cergy, a Paris suburb
(Corentin Fohlen for The New York Times)

This photo appears in today's New York Times (April 22, 2012), in an article entitled, "In France, Using Lessons From Obama Campaign." It tells us that three young Frenchmen who studied at Harvard and MIT and are members of France's Socialist Party "witnessed the successful campaign of President Obama" and are now "back in France, using American models of canvassing to get left-leaning voters who would normally abstain to instead cast ballots. Their work, said Mr. Liegey, 31, is concentrated in the banlieues, poorer suburbs heavily populated with ethnic minorities, where alienation and abstention are high."

The photo is taken in Cergy, a banlieue ("suburb") of France, where there is a high concentration of immigrants and their offspring. According to wikipedia, Cergy-Pontoise, the town in which Cergy is located, has a far higher crime rate than the national average. 

The French wikipedia article says that Cergy typically votes on the left side of the spectrum. 

I have no idea whether the woman in the photo is wearing the kufiya to appeal to young banlieue potential voters of Maghrebi background, or if it is just a matter of stylishness. Or is it both?

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