Four Cabbies in Paris

Talking to cab drivers is always instructive.  In Paris, it is a chance for me to use my Peace Corps French as we idle in traffic, and get a gauge on European preoccupations. On my last trip, I found the French pessimistic and passive about their future.  They are very afraid.  They see their economy going down, fast and far, and have no vision of how to improve matters.  There was a rumored terrorist bomb plot in the metro before my visit, so radical Islam was on my mind -- among the French, not so much, although when I brought it up, they had plenty to say.  Anti-Semitism, on the other hand, seemed to come up out of nowhere. I took four cabs during my visit and had four very different drivers, all long-time French citizens or residents: an Algerian, a Haitian, a Cambodian, and a native Frenchman. The Algerian was a pleasant, talkative fellow.  His opening gambit was that the French are more racist (against Arabs) than Americans: his cousin visited...(Read Full Article)