Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Unrest in France

Hi All,

For the past several days several French cities have been embroiled in sever rioting. This is not your normal French demonstration of malaise. Rather this is more like France's answer to the Watts or Rodney King riots. The unrest is concentrated in neighborhoods populated mainly by immigrants. Most of those immigrants are from Africa and the Middle East. Poverty is much worse among these communities than in other French communities.

The event which sparked the riots in the first place seems to be the accidental death of two teenage boys who thought they were fleeing the police when they hid in an electrical transformer shed. The people in these communities are reacting to police crack downs with resentment and further rioting.

These are the communities in which Al Qaeda recruits. And while these riots are in France, nearly every country in Europe has similar communities of mostly Muslim immigrants who are excluded from the prosperity all around them. A smaller riot occurred just last week in Birmingham, UK.


Anonymous said...

I The riots are isolated to areas around Paris. I once stayed in Clichy-sous-Bois. I remember it as a bit run down and full of immigrants. Toulouse has similar housing developments. They are truly nasty places with tall buildings filled with tiny apartments. These were built under the Socialists government in the 1980s in an attempt to create subsidized housing. It resulted in slums and Chicago-like projects.

Unemployment, discrimination, and frustration among the youth of these developments are certainly instigating the riots. The French don't integrate, they assimilate. And when assimilation fails, riots aren't far behind. Riots in the streets of Paris are nothing new. Throughout history there have been barricades and mini revolutions, that is when there aren't strikes. But I feel safe saying that the French have not yet had a real civil rights movement as we have in the US. I keep waiting for it.

Another thing that may have something to do with it is Vigipirate, the French homeland security plan. At the start of September, the French relaunched "Vigipirate" which seeks to create a "culture of security". Looks like it may have backfired. They no doubt increased security in areas where Islamists are known to be, making things ever tougher on the residents.

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

I just heard a BBC radio debate between Frenchmen about the riots in France. One of the people was an MP from the governing party (a center right party). He was so angry he was about to pop a gasket. He kept shouting about "anti-French" and "anti-Republic" people.

In my view this man's comments represent an example of French statism at it worst. A large measure of what constitutes "integration"/"assimilation" (I'm unclear on what the difference is) for French elites is whether one accepts the "ideology of the state." That includes being secular, conformist and accepting of public authority.

The other guy was a leftist who was arguing that the riots were largely the result of social problems in the suburbs. His proposed solution was equally statist but more benevolent.

My own view is that the violence is so bad that the short term response must be with massive state force to restore order. After that French authorities would do well to listen to the leftist and maybe also dig up some classical liberals if there are any left in France. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Things are getting serious in France. It is starting to look like the sort of civil unrest that spread throughout the USA in April 1992. The French government has to act fast. Once large numbers of people, especially unemployed young men, get into the habit of rioting every night, it usually takes a severe demonstration of force to stop the violence. Tanks patrolled South Central LA for months after the riots. The longer this lasts, the more that latent racism (and not so latent racism) of ordinary Frenchmen will be heightened. Sarkozy's comments that the rioters are "scum" is the tip of that iceberg. In Los Angeles, the repercussions of the violence lasted seriously with massively strained race relations for almost 6 years. It took a couple of elections, rebuilding, an economic boom, and a demographic shift to alter the situation.

It is also notable that this is not 1968. The Left Bank is quiet, as are the universities in general. No barricades in Paris streets this time around. This is not a convulsion within French society -- it is a convulsion between French society and the 5 million outsiders living among them who have not been admitted to French society. 

// posted by LTG