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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Real French Riot

This is from a Spiegel interview with a French immigration expert Laurent Mucchielli. He begins by saying that he has long expected an explosion. My comments are in brackets and in black print:
The root cause is the economic plight of the country. The politicians and the media keep focusing on the rise and fall of the national unemployment rate. But that statistic ignores the level of unemployment faced by local youths in the suburbs.
These youths are constantly being stopped by police and asked for identification. For them, this is a humiliation. There is also a constant cat and mouse game played between small gangs and the police.
These youths, mostly from immigrant families and with disadvantaged backgrounds, actually embrace the political values of the French Republic. They stand by the values of equality, liberty and fraternity. They want to be considered French citizens and have their ethnic and religious differences tolerated. [And would that be the need to participate in criminal gang activities without police harassment?]
The biggest challenge here is that France needs to become a multiracial and multicultural society. [I doubt France wants to be a multi-cultural society that accomodates criminal activity on the streets without "provocation" from the police!]
Each young adult needs to be able to work, earn money, afford accommodation and raise a family. This is an enormous economic and social challenge for the country. This is exactly what the young population is demanding -- and it seems impossible to obtain at the moment. [So it has nothing to do with police harassment?]
...these local youths are not ideologically motivated. They are just led by older gang members -- contrary to what Sarkozy claims. [So gang members are embracing the values of the French Republic? It's either anger about no jobs, an ideological protest or gangs, you know.]
When asked if the current crisis is specific to France or common to Europe, he answers:
France and the United Kingdom are both facing this so-called ghettoization process. I hasten to add that we need to be careful about the wording, as we are not facing the same situation as in Brazil or the Unites States. We are, however, living in a society where the gulf between poor and rich is widening. As a result, the poorer segment of society is kept isolated in the suburbs and feels further cut off from wealth. This ghettoization and lack of effective social policies is taking hold in the rest of the European Union. In this respect, France can perhaps teach our European neighbors a lesson. [Isn't that a stitch? The problem is ghettos, not that they have ghettos like the US. The rest of the EU has the same problem of ghettoization and lack of effective social policies. Then he appears to be implying that France can show its neighbors the way? The way to what? Conflagration? Remember, this interview is about the causes of the riots!]
The truth is that it is France's "effective social policies", i.e. paying people to do nothing, which is causing the misery. See Howard's explanation, which is a lot less pompous and a lot more thoughtful than the above:
...almost overnight Europe was full of Turks, Morrocans, Lybians and especially Algerians seeking and finding good jobs at what was, for them, good pay. They were doing the sweat work that the French wouldn't do (sound familiar?). The unemployment rate dropped below two percent. France made their work force full citizens, and their kids too. "Hey, join the club. Take your place in line for a lifetime of free medical care, guaranteed salary floor, paid vacations, free education for your kiddies, and affordable housing. Better than living in a tent and sniffing camel shit, no?"

Well here's a flash! About ten years ago France woke up to the fact that them great blue collar jobs done up and left. Run away to India, Koreea, and Chinkistan. Poof! Like that. But not to worry, we will fix things, and anyway we will keep paying you the same money not to work as you got when you had jobs. I have spent a lifetime looking in the help wanted ads for the one that said: "Lay around and make big money," and lucky for me I never saw that ad for my dream job. Nothing is worse than laying around doing nothing and getting paid for it. When somebody asks you what you do, how can you reply, "nothing" and live with yourself. You are declaring worthlessness. You begin to hate yourself
Of course you aren't going to feel self-respect when you are doing nothing productive. Young men in such a situation are also going to roam around and find something to do. Isolate a whole bunch of people like this and what you get is what you see. What's a life without goals and some hope?

I read that Spiegel article, as well as the interview with Cohn-Bendit- another piece that will end up as a dreamworks animated feature.

It is a desperate attempt to deny reality- a reality that can do nothing but highlight the failure of the European left.
"Dreamworks animated feature" - that's a stitch!

They do seem to be arguing themselves in circles, don't they?
The Spiegel is known for writing things different than 'intented' though.
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