First it was French wines. Then French fries. Now it's French exchange students who are getting the cold shoulder from American families still smarting over France's opposition to the war in Iraq....
"This has been a horrible year," said Deborah Bertrand, the New York area manager for Loisirs Culturels à L'Étranger, a not-for-profit exchange program based in Paris. "Usually I have no problem finding host families. The only thing I can attribute it to is the anti-French feeling going on because of the Iraq war. My coordinators all up and down the East Coast are having the same problem."
Each year, L.E.C., as the program is known in France, signs up several hundred French teenagers whose parents have paid dearly for them to come to the United States for a summer tradition that has endured for more than three decades. But this year, even though the number of prospective visitors is one-quarter what it once was, the program has yet to find host families for nearly half the 250 teenagers who signed up.
The first wave began arriving on Monday, and unless homes can be found quickly, four Boston-bound teenagers in that group will get refunds instead of trips. At least 100 participants in the program who expected to come in August are also in limbo.
" `Not this year' is what I hear a lot," said Mary Lou Church, an L.E.C. recruiter in Portsmouth, R.I., who is taking extra students into her own home this year rather than turn them away. "This year, with everything that happened with the war, people locally have just taken it personally. When I ask them, `Would you open your home to a French teenager?' they look at me like, `Are you out of your mind? Why would we, when they've been so ungiving to us?' "...
--New York Times
"Why would we?" Because, you ignorant schmucks, these are French people who like America. Why else would they want to come here? You could show them that there's more to this country than painstakingly cultivated simpleminded jingoism. But instead you want them to hate us.
Choke on a freedom fry, morons.