April 3, 2002


Candidates skirt facts on crime in France (John Vinocur, International Herald Tribune, April 3, 2002)
The causes, in contrast, are regarded across the political spectrum as dangerous to discuss, with at least two of the central aspects embedded in zones of profound national taboo: a tacit legitimization of violence as one of French life's banalities, from nursing students blocking train tracks to striking airport workers setting tires aflame on runways; and the disproportionately large role, acknowledged by some social workers and criminologists, played by young men of Arab immigrant origin in the rise in crime and disorder.

Pushed hard, the politicians are drawn by the issues in directions they do not necessarily want to go. Some privately acknowledge that the nation is not prepared for a no-illusions discussion of how violent France has become, or how failed integration, a climate of racism, or disrespect for French law and values figure in the cause-effect relationship between insecurity and the country's community of 5 million to 8 million Arabs.

It is impossible to overstate how insignificant Europe is to our future. Declining birthrates, dependence on immigrant labor and the mutual resentment this will foster, bureaucratic central government, post-Christian...

Perhaps Geoffrey Hill will be remembered as its eulogist :


Wherein Wesley stood
up from his father's grave,
summoned familiar dust
for strange salvation:

whereto England rous'd,
ignorant, her inane
Midas-like hunger: smoke
engrossed, cloud-encumbered,

a spectral people
raking among the ash;
its freedom a lost haul
of entailed riches.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 3, 2002 4:06 PM
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