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Monday, November 07, 2005

Curfews And Callups For France

But will calling up the reserves and imposing a curfew work? We shall see:
France will impose curfews “wherever it is necessary” and call up 1,500 police reservists to stop rioting, the prime minister said Monday, as civil unrest erupted for a 12th night with youths setting fire to an empty bus and attacking police in Toulouse.

The announcement came as similar violence was reported in neighboring Belgium and Germany and the French government faced growing criticism for its inability to stop the violence in its tough suburbs.
The Germans are freaking out while pretending that they aren't:
As the rioting in Paris enters into its eleventh day, commentators in Germany look to neighboring France in dismay. Fortunately, there is no talk of a clash of civilizations, an unbridgeable religious divide or other nonsense. Most papers see it for what it is: a classic clash between the haves and have nots.

France remained gripped on Monday by rioting between immigrants and police in the banlieue ghettos that skirt Paris. On Sunday, rioters shot 10 police officers in scenes that would seem more at home in south-central Los Angeles than in the idyllic French capital.
Thankfully, German papers steer well clear of "clash of civilizations" style coverage and, refreshingly, there are few clichés to be found about Clichy. Where they do stumble, however, led by the mass-circulation tabloid Bild, is is asking the inevitable nightly news question: Could this happen here? Bild sticks its reporters notebook right in the face of incoming German interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble of the Christian Democratic Union. "Conditions in France are different than here," he tells the paper, noting that Germany doesn't have any sprawling ghetto apartment complexes like the French banlieues. But he does warn that "in Germany, too, there are immigrant areas that are becoming increasingly shut off from the rest of society" and that integration must be improved. No serious incidents have occurred in Germany following the French riots, but police in Berlin are investigating the mysterious arson of five cars on Sunday night -- incidents that could have been copycat crimes.
Or they could have spontaneously combusted, couldn't they? Very mysterious indeed.

Ulrich Speck of Kosmoblog, now at Die Zeit, expresses not just the French hope but the German one concisely:
Es ist sehr zu hoffen, dass die klassische Deutung zutrifft: soziale Unruhen, deren Ursachen mit mehr Geld, mehr Programmen, mehr Kampagnen effizient bekämpft werden können. Man sollte jedoch sehr genau hinschauen. Um unangenehme Überraschungen auszuschließen.
Not a chance.

Someone today said, 'they can't quell a riot. How the hell are they going to win a war?'

At some point, they are going to have to have to take a stand- less talk, more action.

Once the rioters understand the severity of the consequences, they will cease that activity and behave in an appropriate manner.
I found myself feeling acutely sorry for the French police today. They are stuck in the middle of this societal chasm, and they get blamed no matter what they do. Now they are taking casualties.

Unless Dalrymple is completely wrong, the problem was created over a period of years and will not be solved quickly.
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