Expat mamas in Paris speak out

Well the first round results are in and what we feared would happen is now a reality. Far right candidate Madame Le Pen is in the second round. Hopefully, she’ll be defeated.  Certainly, that’s what the pollsters say.  But it’s possible that some complacency could creep in, and not enough people will turn out to vote for Macron and we could be facing a Trump or Brexit style shock.  Mama Loves Paris just had to ask what a Le Pen presidency would mean to some of the international mamas in Paris. Here is what you told us.

Nerves on edge

“We are nervous. We keep putting our faith in the French people. We keep harking back to remember how pragmatic the French were back in 2002, when the Socialists actually held their noses and voted for Jacques Chirac in order to keep Marine’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen out. We are reassuring ourselves with that thought, but honestly, we are scared that 2017 is just another era completely and that we have to fear the worst.”  (Claire, UK)

It’s time to go

“If she becomes President, our family will not stay. We have seen family members over in the US suffering from the travel bans on people from Muslim countries and we’d fear those kinds of moves here. Sometimes we feel there is some intolerance just below the surface here, and we’d fear that a Le Pen presidency could unleash it and kind of normalise that intolerance.”  (Dina, UAE)

We might be on the first Eurostar home to the UK

“I’ll feel very torn if she wins. There will be a part of me that will want to gather up my half-Jewish family and take the first Eurostar home to the UK and stay there till she’s gone.  But the other part of me will feel defiant.  I love my life here and I’ll want to stay in spite of her.  But maybe the place will be soured for me.  I’ll feel betrayed by the French voters.  But really, I do have faith in the French people. I think they’ll vote Macron in.”  (Jen, UK.)

We’ll stick it out

“We are  here for the long term.  The woman horrifies me but I don’t think we’d let her drive us out.  Politics change.  And then they change back again.  My own home country is going through an era I really don’t like.  My instinct would be to stay and see it through and join groups that are challenging Madame Le Pen.  I’d feel comfortable in Paris as I’ll know it wasn’t Paris that voted her in, it would have been other parts of the country.” (Karen, USA)

Sadness for France

“I’d feel very sad about how France would change in the hands of Marine Le Pen. As an Egyptian, Arab and a Muslim, life is already quite stressful with the continuous attacks around the world and the identity we try to preserve despite all the slander. We love France and appreciate the precious time we have here but if she wins I think the whole mood of the country will change.” (Heba, Egypt)

France cannot have a nationalist government

“Today is Yom Hashoah, holocaust remembrance in Israel and we think of all those lost to the Holocaust, including from Jews from France. It’s hard not to think about Marine Le Pen’s recent shameful comments bout the Jews deported from France.  France cannot have a nationalist government.  France cannot afford it and neither can the rest of the world. I have faith that Marine Le Pen won’t get the votes.” (Liya, Israel)

We feel a bit disgusted

“It’s hard not to feel disgusted that she is even in the second round.  It doesn’t reflect well on France.  But maybe that is just the era we are living in.  It’s depressing.  I just hope we can all be uplifted by a Macron victory.  It would be a wonderful boost, both for us living here in France and beyond across Europe.  If it’s Le Pen, well that is just an awful thought.  That would mean some dark days for we foreigners in France.” (Rosa, UK)

I don’t know how I’d tell my kids

“Marine Le Pen is generally referred to as ‘The Bad Lady’ in our home.  Our kids are aware that there is the threat of someone with some unpleasant ideas and some very negative plans coming into power in France.  It was hard enough to tell them Trump won in the US.  I don’t know how we’d ever explain a Le Pen victory to them.  It would be happening right here in the country they now think of as home.  They would take it very hard.” (Nicky, UK)

I would have to leave

“Living in Paris is already difficult for so many reasons – I think the city is beautiful but the issue of race is something I have had to face way too often while I have lived here. The idea of Le Pen actually winning will confirm for me that this country wants the leadership to represent an ideology that makes my stay here untenable. It will give credibility to prejudice and I can’t bring my kids up in a country like that, I just can’t”. (Rashida, India)

Can’t see any upside in this choice

“Anyway, you look at it, it’s negative for us. France has many good qualities – but the idea of living day to day knowing that the people have voted for her would be a tough pill to swallow. I would know as I walk through the city that the majority of people would prefer I wasn’t here – they would think that it is okay to perhaps voice that view and any subtle overtones I may have experienced will become more overt and prominent. There is no upside for me and my family, I would not see this country as welcoming to me. My husband works here but I would encourage him to look elsewhere for work”. (Ella, South Africa)

Make your voice heard.

Love MLP