Anti-American Sentiment in the FFL

kkillert0fu

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#1
I want to make one thing clear: this is not a political discussion.

Whether you support or oppose the current US presidential administration is not what this thread is about. Mods, if you can do me a favor, please make it so that this thread does not descend into a discussion about that.

Now, on a personal note, I am still waiting on word from the US Army about whether or not my waivers will be approved. It's taken a while. Processing for the US Military with any kind of legal or medical issue is a pain. And it really comes down to the fact that people at all levels need to justify their jobs, which makes these processes very difficult. If certain processes weren't difficult think of how many people would be out of a job. It is what it is. Eventually an answer will come down. And at that point I will either do it or move to plan B.

What I intend to raise in this thread is something that has become a grave concern of mine and has made me question my desire to join the FFL should that become an option for me. And whether or not I personally do it, I feel as though this is an important conversation to be had for any American who has a desire to be in the FFL. If any active or former legionnaires, not just Americans, can respond and address my concerns at length, I would greatly appreciate it.

But basically, it has become very clear that anti-American sentiment is on the rise globally. People around the world view ALL of American society has having elected our current presidential administration, and they don't like it. Never before has there been this much genuine disdain around the world for America and Americans in general.

How does this relate to the French Foreign Legion?

My concern now is that Americans, to put it simply and bluntly, will have a target on their back. Just for being American. It doesn't matter who you are or how distanced you might be from it all, or how competent and professional a soldier you may be. The fact is you will be viewed as an American, plain and simple. And especially when you place an American among a bunch of these guys from impoverished countries with absolutely nothing to lose. I mean, you couldn't find a more clear definition of what it means to have nothing to lose than in a room full of FFL candidates. So with that mindset, and with this ingrained contempt towards Americans nowadays, I truly feel as though an American right now might be doing himself more harm than good by entering selection. And should he make it, even being in the FFL.

Take myself for example. I'm a middle class dude who grew up on the beaches of California. There's going to be a hundred guys in selection who are harder than me. And while that in itself doesn't scare me, all it's going to take is a couple of guys with an already established grudge to get me alone in a room, and some really bad shit could happen to me. Or say I'm on deployment in Mali, on patrol somewhere, all it's going to take is some guy aiming his FAMAS just a slight degree to the right, and boom, I'm dead. Something that he has longed to do. And what's it on him? Who would ever know his real motivations when he could easily say it was a misfire on his part and he never had any intention of a friendly fire incident? Sure, he'll get in trouble or disciplined or whatever the process is after an incident like that. But at the end of the day, what's it on him?

All because of this increasing frustration people around the world are having towards Americans. So in their mind they could easily act out on it and it would be nothing on them. And yet, could have some really grave consequences for me or another American.

So look guys, I'm just laying this out there. If not for myself, than for other Americans to at least consider. You can tell me I'm being dramatic, or that I'm just making another excuse not to go. I don't care. Because it's been on my mind. Especially because the decision for me entering the US Army might actually come down fairly soon, despite what I said at the beginning of this post. Which means I could potentially have to start seriously considering if the FFL is actually going to be my plan B. It's been a long time goal of mine, pending other things in my life don't work out, you guys know that. And never has it been more real of a possibility for me than it is now. But, having said that, I truly feel as though we are in a time, in this specific present time, that an American can't just be traveling around all willy-nilly anymore. If that changes in a few years, great. But right now, it is what it is, and it's not going to change overnight.

And I'm asking for some guidance on whether or not my concerns are valid. If anyone has any other insight that can't be shared publicly, please send me a PM.
 
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#2
I’ve tried out a few times and being American wasn’t an issue. And if someone gives you shit about it tell them to fuck off. I’m walking through the gate for the final time this Tuesday.
 

kkillert0fu

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#3
I’ve tried out a few times and being American wasn’t an issue. And if someone gives you shit about it tell them to fuck off. I’m walking through the gate for the final time this Tuesday.
Good Luck man. Let us know how it goes.

But I'm looking for an answer that is more than just telling them to fuck off. I think my concerns are valid.
 

Rapace

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#4
I’m not a former legionnaire, but it’s pretty simple. Be humble, friendly, don’t be the typical loud-mouthed, bragging type of American, be competent and everything will be fine. And forget the story of the guy shooting you in the back during a deployment... Now, if it’s really a concern, don’t go. The Legion for sure, as you said, is a place with more ‘rough boys’ elsewhere.

P.S: I don’t think the average Legion candidate really gives any sh*t about the political situation in the US and about Pdt Trump.
 

kkillert0fu

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#5
I’m not a former legionnaire, but it’s pretty simple. Be humble, friendly, don’t be the typical loud-mouthed, bragging type of American, be competent and everything will be fine. And forget the story of the guy shooting you in the back during a deployment... Now, if it’s really a concern, don’t go. The Legion for sure, as you said, is a place with more ‘rough boys’ elsewhere.

P.S: I don’t think the average Legion candidate really gives any sh*t about the political situation in the US and about Pdt Trump.
I get what you are saying and that's exactly how I would approach the situation. I recognize that this may be an overreaction on my part, but I got nothing to lose throwing it out there and seeing what responses I get.
Thanks for the reply.
 

maim

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#6
Nobody gives a flying fcuk about your nationality, race, colour or creed. I was a member of Column 88 before I joined and the Legion brotherhood worked better for me than the Brit Army.
M
 

dusaboss

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#7
WTF is your problem? Feeling bad for being American and you heard that some nations or not so crazy in love with yours? Imagine being growing up as a Serb in 90s? Do you think we had good PR at the time? (now, still is not good , but is much better than then).

You have to accept that a lot of people on this planet doesn't like Americans because US foreign policy and bombing campaigns in name of "freedom" and "democracy".

Also you have to have in mind that there is a lot of people (like myself) who do not distinguish people by country of origin, rather on who that person really are and what is their way of thinking and views on world.

If someone in FFL get suspicious about your American roots... that gonna be with a reason. Guys from US and reach western countries in average desert more than others.

I know that old Anglo mafiose wouldn't take this kindly, but sorry that are facts. It has nothing to do with one being better than other. Unfortunately, much of it come down to money and more options back at home.

Of Course there is many Americans who are great legionnaires, but that's not a pint.

I have to answer to your question which was really wrong and I think .You should really deeply think again about your view of FFL an rest of the world.

Greetings!
 

Nickfury

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#8
You can't be friends with everyone. When I was in selection, out of a couple hundred guys I'd say only 4 openly had a problem with me due to my nationality. The vast majority will judge you on the content of your character or are just won't say anything at all and eventually will be gone anyway. Once in training and in your regiment you will be working closely with other people and your openness and professionalism are the most important things.

I've worked overseas for over a decade and in my department we have a staff of around 80 people from about 9 countries. I interact with a variety of people daily, and as can be expected, people get along, or not, based on personality, professionalism, kindness, respect, humor and communication. The only times I've seen conflicts have been when someone was blatantly fucking up and being unprofessional, thus making extra work or problems for other people, or bringing up race or politics or religion or gender in a negative, argumentative or confrontational way. So it takes someone being an antisocial asshole to get things started.

That said the legion (or at least selection, which is all I saw) is different in that I saw people being assholes and starting bullying or physical fights out of the blue for ZERO rational reason other than racism, or hating someone based on religion or nationality. But...we are talking way less than 5% of people, the majority don't put up with that shit and try to stop it from escalating or try to break things up. Generally the worst idiots and trouble makers will get eliminated along the way. Guys that randomly start fights won't last long.

Anyway don't worry about things out of your control, just worry about yourself and what you can actually control. Hint: You can't control other people.
 

Geneticcz

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#9
from what i read here on this forum, other soldiers or even your superiors wont even know much of your details except for a very few specific people who need to know.

from reading your post though and the tone it gave off (i can be wrong as its just a written post), sounds like you might attract more problems cuz of the way you think/worry.

as an example, all those black lives matter and black people who are so much against racism, are making racism worse. they obsess with it and suddenly everything is turned into color of skin etc. "guy got shot while robbing someones house" oh they only shot him cuz he was black. even though that has nothing to do with it. you obsess about your nationality and suddenly everything is because of that. The sergeant chose you for scrubbing toilets? "oh its cuz im american. they dont like me". The other legionnaires are having some fun and banter at your expense? "bullying me cuz im american!". You are last in line for an activity? "they dont want me cuz im american."

your nationality doesnt matter in the legion or anywhere else. nobody knows where u from unless u give them reason to. think otherwise. if u dont act like a stuck up arrogant american (which is the stereotype) then they wont know you are american. you are a person. just be a human being and disregard the rest. if they treat u bad in the legion, or any other group setup for that matter, its cuz you are either a dick or got unlucky for running into a dick.

i live abroad but im european myself and theres a lot of stereo types about germans being assholes, swedish being feminent boys, french being arrogant etc etc and i look european as fuck so i could be from any one of these countries but nobody knows because i just act like me, not like my birth country or how im supposed to act according to my skin etc.

tldr: if you already think ur gonna get in trouble for being american. then you will definitely attract trouble for being an american. forget about this drama bullshit nationality fear u have and just be a person.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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#10
Target on your back, eh? Fragging I think they called it in Vietnam. I think that nowadays if anyone is shot, there is a big deal. If you get shot in the back, I can't imagine the impact. As Rapace says, if you go in there as the stereo loud mouth American you might as well stay home.

Petite anecdote : as I have mentioned in the past, I worked in the US general consulate in Marseille as chief security guard (not to be confused with the Marines security guards in the Embassy in Paris). A couple of Americans came in on a Friday afternoon half an hour before closing. They had been robbed point blank of all the possessions that they had on them in Spain, including their passports. In Spain the consulates close early on a normal day and very early on a Friday, don't ask my why. The couple were travelling with friends and had to rejoin their cruise somewhere in France.

They could rejoin the ship but would not be able to disembark anywhere else without a passport. So they took a taxi to Marseille to get their emergency passport (valid for 1 year). I'd worked at the CG for nearly 6 years and knew what these people were capable of (the consulate staff). So when the guard at the gate explained the situation to me, I went to see the consul and she said to let them in straight away.

Whilst they were waiting for their passport to be processed, and most of the staff had gone home, I got talking to them. The first thing they told me was they were waiting for them, the bandidos, for Americans. To cut a long story short, by the time that they had gotten their passports, there was only myself and the consule left (Marseille is a lock and leave). She locked up and I was on my way home. I heard, rather than saw the couple who had just been issued their passports. Then I saw them, they were waving their passports in the air and calling out to their friends who were about a hundred meters away: "We got 'em (name of the two people). Only the Americans can pull off something like that! One hour to get a new passport!"

Now I am not suggesting that you will go as far as waving your passport and shouting that you are American (in Marseille of all places) but what I would suggest is that you eat some humble pie, keep a low profile and not get lured into any discussions on how great America is or is not.
 

Chas

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#11
Kkillert0fu,

Do not worry. It might be worse if you were a Brit :). Seriously you will not have problem if you present yourself as a smart, quiet, modest and determined aspirant. No bragging or big mouthing. Keep out of any disputes with others. Be the Grey Man and keep your own counsel. However you must demonstrate the 'want factor' and demonstrate keenness at all times.

Good luck.
 

Le petit caporal

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#13
Chinese have more to worry about when visiting France... The amount of muggings, hijackings (their bus being stopped and robbed after a day of shopping, at the Champs-Élysées and stuff). It was epedemic, and provoked urgent crisis meetings (Foreign Office, Home Office, Préfecture de Police, etc.). After all, it's the Chinese who spend more money per person, when visiting. A dude on his own, whatever his origins, has an equal amount of risk of being attacked than another. Just don't get drunk and avoid the bars.
 

Le petit caporal

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#15
Hi Petit Caporal, I'd understood he was talking about whilst in selection.
Safest place to be, imo. Btw, good new Legion documentary about recrutement, by Cécile de Ménibus to be broadcast on (French TV channel) C8 on Thursday (Feb 15) at 21:00 (seen on the Legion's FB page).
Et je m'excuse, non parlo l'Americano.
 

dusaboss

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#16
Chinese have more to worry about when visiting France... The amount of muggings, hijackings (their bus being stopped and robbed after a day of shopping, at the Champs-Élysées and stuff). It was epedemic, and provoked urgent crisis meetings (Foreign Office, Home Office, Préfecture de Police, etc.). After all, it's the Chinese who spend more money per person, when visiting. A dude on his own, whatever his origins, has an equal amount of risk of being attacked than another. Just don't get drunk and avoid the bars.
Yep, there is a lot of rich Chinese these days, especially those who travel through Europe. China is the country with the highest number of millionaires.
 

Rapace

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#17
Hi Petit Caporal, I'd understood he was talking about whilst in selection.
Yep, our Killer friend seems concerned of potential hazing during Legion selection and probably also after if he's accepted (well... that's how I read his post anyway).

Safest place to be, imo. Btw, good new Legion documentary about recrutement, by Cécile de Ménibus to be broadcast on (French TV channel) C8 on Thursday (Feb 15) at 21:00 (seen on the Legion's FB page). (...)
Yep. The documentary on C8 was shot last year, to commemorate, they say, the 50th anniversary of the presence of 2e REP in Calvi. So one should expect, I guess, a pretty 2e REP-oriented type of stuff. But the title being “Légion étrangère : de l'engagement au combat”, I guess there'll be too some sequence about selection and enlistment.
 

DCLXVI

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#18
No one gets hazed in the Legion, no one. It's too political. The French officers would have a hay day crying to the highest chain they can and then whatever comes down from it. If you put hands on anyone here, it's a wrap. You won't be kicked out, but it will go in your dossier and all hope is gone. The Legion just does not want to draw attention. If you do, you will end up stage cuisine and be opening cans of beans for five years and no possible chance to sign on and more, you won't get the your 10-year residency after.
I know a few pickles now who open beans. One was a Cpl, and was going to Stage Sgt but then it all vanished after he tried to make someone drink alcohol out of the "casque" (helmet) and punched and kicked the Brazilian a bit. Next thing you know... The Lt. caught wind and the Cpl is a 1er classe and opens bean cans now. The most action you will get is fighting with insane Paki cab drivers... Somewhere.... But do what you want, I don't know anything or what I am even talking about, now that the Legion is like the French Army.
 

Rapace

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#19
No one gets hazed in the Legion, no one. It's too political. (...)
Well, that's good and it should reassure our friend afraid of anti-American feelings in the Legion. However, I guess this is true for ‘official’ hazing, I mean when some cadre are involved (like the story some years back at Castelnaudary of recruits being forced to crawl in the mud, wearing only their underwear). However, what happens in the dormitories, when the lights are out and all the cadre sleeping in their own quarters (or at home) is something different. I had such case of hazing to handle when I was serving (long time ago). It went totally unnoticed, until finally somebody spilt the beans. Have you witnessed this sort of thing happening in the Legion? That would be interesting information.

(...) The Legion just does not want to draw attention. (...)
That's correct. There have been a number of ‘incidents’ in the past (including the one mentioned above) that gave bad publicity to the Legion. What could be done in the ‘old days’, when legionnaires were often secluded in remote locations, far from anything, is hardly possible nowadays when everybody has a smartphone that can take pictures, get you connected to the internet, chat with somebody thousands of kms away and where the Legion bases are now embedded in regular cities, in the middle of the civilian population.

(...) the Legion is like the French Army.
Yes, the official speech mentions clearly that, apart from recruiting foreigners, the Legion is not radically different from the rest of the French Army (same equipment, same regulations, etc.). One other peculiarity is that it recruits only men, and this is being more and more criticized by people outside the Legion. So far the COMLE has managed to resist, but for how long..?
 

Le petit caporal

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#20
If an incident, whatever it is, reaches the Parquet (name given to the office of the Prosecutor in the French legal system), the Officier de Sécurité of the regiment will be involved.
Before, there arrangements went uncontested (classé sans suite) and the honour BS was saved = entrave au bon fonctionment de la justice.