Thursday, September 28, 2006

Les douaniers français peuvent embrasser mon âne

Anyone who has been boarded by the Coast Guard under suspicion take a read here...admittedly it was French customs who treated three Brit yachtsmen like common criminals (waving guns in their faces, drug dog searches, talking banned, refusal to explain charges, etc). Given that there's been no love lost between these folks for centuries it makes sense that the French cheerfully seized upon an opportunity to harass British sailors...but in this day and age of guilty-until-proven- innocent (thank you George Bush) it pays to take heed. Leave the head stash on land.

4 comments:

Carol Anne said...

The "innocent until proven guilty" concept is one of the mainstays of both American and British jurisprudence, but not of the French. The Napoleonic Code advocates "guilty until proven innocent." However, since the early 20th century, France has mostly come on board the "innocent until proven guilty" bandwagon.

I do agree with you that much of the law enforcement, both international and within the United States, has changed since 9/11, alas, and has become much more likely to assume a "guilty until proven innocent" attitude. Yes, there is indeed a valid need to protect the country from terrorists, but really, how likely is a terrorist attack to come from some guys having fun on a yacht, especially if that yacht wasn't approaching some sensitive site such as a naval base?

Turinas said...

Don't get me wrong on this as I love France as a country, I love their food and I have some very nice friends there but when it comes to sailing with them, it's a different kettle of poisson.

Two years ago I had an otherwise lovely week sailing in Guadeloupe with one exception. It felt like everywhere we anchored some French guy in the next boat had a strong opinion that I was doing it all wrong and that I was an idiot. This is the only place on the planet thsi has happened to me.

Frankly, my read on the story was the douaniers were bored and thought that they would enliven a dull afternoon by harrassing some rosbif (that's the nickname the French called us limeys)

AdriftAtSea said...

Unfortunately, the Bush administration doesn't believe in civil or human rights, or even the Constitution for that matter...

I can see why the French might want to investigate a boat that had been followed by a helicopter...who knows what could have been dropped by it, and picked up by the boat... but still...a bit draconian.

Zephyr said...

Thanks you guys for the comments...a lot of ways to go witht his but I do agree with you on your points RE Bush and the French