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MARSEILLE

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    A slice of daily life around the Arc de Triomphe in Port D'Aix Square, Marseille.
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    Passengers congregate at the Gare St. Charles, the main train station in Marseille.
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    Locals pass through the area of the Arc de Triomphe in Port D'Aix Square, Marseille.
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    Young skateboarders hang out and practice at Le Freiche skateboard park.
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    Shoppers are seen in the city center around the Vieux Port in Marseille.
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    Pedestrians on Le Canebiere reflect the rich diversity of people who live in the city.
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    Supporters with Marseilles Trop Puissant at the Velodrome Stadium cheer on the Olympic Marseille soccer team.
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    Olympic Marseille Football Club supporters with Marseille Trop Puissant (Marseille Too Powerful) cheer on their team during a French Champions League match against Monaco. This club reflects the diverse mix of the city, with many Muslim fans, including their president, who is an Algerian-French woman named Kooka.
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    Maghrebi youth enjoy the beach of Le Catalan in Marseille.
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    Olympic Marseille Football Club supporters with Marseille Trop Puissant cheer on their team during a French Champions League match against Monaco.
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    Nabila Boudjellal, 31 years old, of Algerian descent, celebrates her upcoming wedding with her fellow Muslim friends by wearing festive costumes on the street near the Old Port.
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    A general strike by the Confederation of General Workers, or CTG, closed the city on Sept. 23, 2010. Pictured here are the dockworkers of Marseille, who traditionally have held a special place among workers in this port city but in recent years have been losing their influence. The CTG dominates the trade unions in France, especially in Marseille. This strike was against the Sarkozy government's proposal to raise the retirement age of all workers in France.
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    New immigrants from Tunisia, who have come via Italy after fleeing the upheaval in their country, receive food handouts at the Port D'Aix park in Marseille.
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    Aturia Issilame, 20, a Comorian woman from one of Marseille's tough northern suburbs known as Cite D'aou, is photographed in Marseille. Her friends have gathered to give her a going away party, as she is leaving in less than a week to Cairo, Egypt to study for one year.
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    Farouk and Mina Youssefa, a recently married couple of mixed origins, enjoy a brief lunch together during their working day. Farouk is a 24 year old Comorian and a youth counselor. Mina is an 18 year old Algerian and still in high school.
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    Josephine, a 53 year old transexual prostitute, waits for customers in her apartment on Rue Curiol, a street famous for prostitution in Marseille.
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    Muslims watch the slaughter of sheep for Eid Al Ahra at the Moustapha Slimani Market. This year the city and Muslim community did not agree on an official location for the mass slaughter of animals for this important holiday, so this abattoir was used instead.
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    Muslims wait as their sheep are slaughtered for Eid Al Ahra at the Moustapha Slimani Market.
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    A Muslim woman passes the Le Reforme Church in Marseille.
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    A mixed crowd of people socialize at a small cafe.
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    The family of Fusteac Ioan, a Roma family from Romania, is photographed in their kitchen in Le Panier District of Marseille. The Ioan family is in legal housing. The Roma face severe persecution under the current government in France of Nicholas Sarkozy, with deportations and harassment a common event.
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    Cornell Lungu, 36, holds his son, Lionel David, in their home in Marseille. Lungu's family, who illegally squat in this apartment, is a Roma family from Romania who has migrated for economic and health benefits. The family moved to Marseille due to their youngest child's health disability. Lionel suffers from spastic tetraplegia and the family hopes by being in France he will receive medical attention. The father works odd jobs. The Lungu's have six children, ranging in ages from 3 to 12 years old.
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    The family of Imam Maoulana Charif, of the Comorian community, sits together in their home the day after Eid al Fitr in Cite D'aou.
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    A Comorian prays at the Mosque of Rue Gaillard/Felix Pyat for Friday prayers in Marseille.
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    Comorians gather for Friday prayers in Marseille, France.
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    Family and friends gather to pay their respects at the funeral of William Barkats, 67, a prominent professor member of the local Jewish community in Marseille. The initial ceremony for family members was held at La Rose Community Center and the burial was at the St. Pierre Cemetery.
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    An ethnically mixed group of high school friends enjoy the sun at Le Prado beach in Marseille.
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    A rich tapestry of people pass the Le Reforme Church in Marseille.
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    Marseillians play the classic local game of petanque at the Boulodrome les Trois Mages.
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    Le Prado beach is a meeting point for all communities of Marseille.
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    As a rainbow colored sunset ends another day in the Old Port, the people of Marseille go about their business.
Marseille

Today while the rest of Europe frets over immigration and its impacts, Marseille, France’s largest city, has built a peculiar cohesiveness out of diversity and difference. The population of nearly one million is the most ethnically diverse in France. A third claim roots in Italy; there are 80,000 Jews making it the third largest Jewish community in Europe; there are 200,000 Africans of which most are Muslim; it has the second largest Armenian population in France; and there are nearly 70,000 Comorians (as many as in the capital of the island nation near Madagascar).

This mélange of identities has created a distinct sense of belonging and pride though it has not been without its challenges. Still it remains strangely immune to ethnic violence. Once famous as a Mafia hang out and a highway for heroin, it is on the verge of becoming a hip destination with its broad beaches, world music and international cuisine. Perhaps even a lesson in tolerance for the rest of Europe, Marseille is surely a glimpse into the future.

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