Essay on Marseille City

Marseille City

Immigration remains an issue of concern all over the world, with number of people seeking asylum in other countries always increasing. Factors behind this upsurge include the search for greener pastures in times of wages, civil wars and political displacements. According to the United Nations, the world migrant population has hit two hundred million. Notably, most of these migrants settle in major European cities, making them multicultural. In this paper, we focus on immigration and its impact on Marseille, France’s second most populated city.

Marseille is a French Port city and a renowned tourist destination. It has a range of magnificent tourist attractions including Notre-Dame de la Garde, a long coastline and the St. John’s Fortress. The city is home to immigrants from all over the world like Algerians, Italians, Armenians and Jews. Marseille borders Nice, Montpellier and Bouches-du-Rhone.

While most European cities are facing the cultural mixing because of immigration, Marseille’s women may soon find it compelling to wear burkas. Dickey says, “The young women in the Marseille sand are wearing bikinis and not burkas” (1). It is evident that immigrants are conforming to a similar lifestyle, regardless of their country of origin, color and religion. As such, it is becoming hard to tell the natives of Marseille. According to Dickey, these people are likely to claim that they were born and raised in Marseille if asked about their origin.

Because of cultural mixing, the immigrants and natives in the city live harmoniously with no room for external influence. Since majority of the immigrants are not conservatives, they are not attached to anything that happens out of Marseille. A good example is the 1991 Iraq war and French riots in 2005, which happened spontaneously countrywide but Marseille remained calm. From this cultural mixing, the inhabitants of the city intermarry, with no superior religion. This is why the women of this town may not find it necessary to wear bulkas.

According to Nittle (, racism is believing that people’s race has power over their character and ability. Racists discriminate other people as superior or inferior depending on their cultural background. Dickey notes that Mina, an immigrant in Marseille, there are elements of discrimination in the French city (1). Even though racism is never a problem when people are crowded, these cases are rampant in the neighborhoods especially from Arabs living in the city. Mina adds that Arabs abuse people from backgrounds different from theirs.

While this is the case, France is not the only case of racism. Spain for example has experienced unrest because of racism. This is common in the Spanish Football League, Laliga, where black players face grave levels of racism. Several clubs in the country have paid fines for condoning racism against players of different origin especially Africans. European Network Against Racism (ENAR), further reports that minorities in Finland also experience racism, with Somali and Turkish youths facing the brunt. Most commonly reported forms of racism include defamation, malicious damage of property among other forms of ruthless violence ( 2/3/2014). This shows how racism cuts across Europe.

It is interesting to note that Jean-Claude Gaudin, the Mayor of Marseille does not have the statistical records of people of African and Arab origin within his area of jurisdiction. He is also not aware of the culture of his people. France is a country that obeys the rule of law to the letter. For instance, it is illegal to document the race, culture or religion of citizens (Dickey 2). However, Marseille has a co-orporation between the religion and the government, bringing together Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Jews to blur the gap that existed before. This trend is however not common across Europe.

In recent the people of Marseille proposed the need for a mega monument for every religion in the city. Thus, construction of a grand cost would have cost $30 million. The mosque was to serve as a mosque and a symbol “fraternal cohabitation” for the inhabitants of the city. However, some French politicians had concerns that immigrants were on the way to take over their country. For example, Stéphane Ravier a politician from the National Front argued that immigrants were submerging French natives. According to Dickey, the construction of the mosque started in May 2012 and stalled due to lack of funds and support from conservatives (2). Conservatives held that the minaret of the mosque would take over the skyline that was a preserve of Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Recently, there have been developments, thwarting the hopes of constructing the grand mosque with the issue taking a political dimension, leading cracks among Muslims in Marseille. On the other hand, local storekeepers and residents argue that the mosque would attack massive worshippers leading to congestion and scrambling for parking spaces in the city (Dickey 2). Because of these complains, authority cancelled the construction of t he grand mosque. Consequently, some people see this as a blow to the unity of Marseille people since the mosque was to serve as a symbol of fraternal cohabitation.

In summary, Marseille remains calm and peaceful despite its multicultural status. Even with the ongoing unrest in the Middle East, the City enjoys relative peace with migrants here choosing to live in harmony. While this case, it is vital for the French government and Marseille authorities to address emerging issues that threaten the peaceful coexistence of the inhabitants of the cosmopolitan city. The government should also support the construction of the grand mosque for Marseille communities.


Works Cited

Dickey, Christopher. “Marseille’s Melting Pot.” National Geographic. (2012). Web. 2nd  February 2014.

European Network Against Racism.  Responding to racism in Finland. N.dat. Web. 2nd  February 2014.

Nittle, Kareem. “What Is Racism?” Race Relations. September 30, 2011. Web. 2nd  February 2014.

United Nations. Economic & International Migration Report 2006: A Global Assessment . (2009).Web. 2nd February 2014.