November 6, 2005


10 Officers Shot as Riots Worsen in French Cities (CRAIG S. SMITH, 11/07/05, NY Times)

Rioters fired shotguns at the police in a working-class suburb of Paris on Sunday, wounding 10 officers as the country's fast-spreading urban unrest escalated dangerously. [...]

"This is just the beginning," said Moussa Diallo, 22, a tall, unemployed French-African man in Clichy-sous-Bois, the working-class Parisian suburb where the violence started Oct. 27. "It's not going to end until there are two policemen dead."

He was referring to the two teenage boys, one of Mauritanian origin and the other of Tunisian origin, whose accidental deaths while hiding from the police touched off the unrest, reflecting longstanding anger among many immigrant families here over joblessness and other hardships. Mr. Diallo did not say whether he had taken part in the vandalism.

On Saturday night alone, the tally in the rioting reached a peak of 1,300 vehicles burned, stretching into the heart of Paris, where 35 vehicles were destroyed, and touching a dozen other cities across the country.

Fires were burning in several places on Sunday night and hundreds of youths were reported to have clashed with the police in Grigny, a southern suburb of Paris where the shooting took place. On Saturday night, a car was rammed into the front of a McDonald's restaurant in the town.

When unions learned they could bring the nation to its knees they made it a regular tool in their political arsenal--French Muslims are in their learning phase.

Outrage as Paris burns and French riots spread (Charles Bremner, 11/07/05, Times of London)

M Chirac held an emergency meeting last night with senior Cabinet members responsible for security, but violence erupted soon after it concluded. [...]

After the meeting with ministers, M Chirac said: “The last word must be with the law.” Those sowing “violence or fear” would be “arrested, judged and punished”. His priority was to stamp out the rampages, he said.

His first public announcement since the unrest began was designed to reassure a population that has grown outraged over the rioting by youths, mainly of Arab and African origin, who have set fire to cars, stoned police and firemen and attacked shops, schools and businesses.

Ten days?
Colour-blind policy has fed Muslim radicalism (Charles Bremner, 11/07/05, Times of London)
Under the ethnically colour-blind “French model”, the immigrant workers who came in the 1950s and 1960s from the former colonies in North and black Africa were to be regarded as equal citizens. They and their descendants would take advantage of the education system and generous welfare state to assimilate with “white” France. To promote the idea of assimilation, neither the State nor any other body publishes statistics on ethnic or national origin.

In practice, France turned its back on the minorities, shunting them into suburban cités denying access to the so-called ascenseur social (social elevator) that was supposed to lift immigrants into the mainstream. Unemployment on the estates is up to three times the 10 per cent national average. Laws supposed to promote integration and oppose multiculturalism, such as the ban on Muslim headwear in schools, have often heightened resentment and the feeling of exclusion. This has in turn fed the rise of Muslim radicalism, which has now become the dominant creed of the young in the French ghettos.

France has always deemed its model superior to the Anglo-Saxon approach of diversity, which has enabled ethnic minorities to retain strong bonds in cultural and religious communities. France calls this “comunitarism” and says that it promotes ghettos, exclusion, poverty, race riots and religious extremism that can ultimately lead to actions such as the London bombings.

Until they go back to a definition of what it is to be French that precedes the Revolution they're doomed.
You shouldn't have to burn cars to get a better life - ask my Bolivian cleaning lady (Niall Ferguson, 06/11/2005, Daily Telegraph)
Immigration need not mean social exclusion. Most of the people who move from poor to rich countries do so with the best of intentions: to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their children. I write this from the United States, a country built on immigration. But the US has long excelled at integrating newcomers into American society.

Not so long ago I was at a junior school in Texas, not far from the Mexican border. The day began with the entire class singing a ditty that went: "I am proud to be an American, be an American, be an American/ I am proud to be an American, living in the USA - OK!" Deeply corny, no doubt. But these little kids sang it with real gusto. Every single one of them was of Mexican origin.

The effort to Americanise immigrants takes many different forms. However, to qualify for citizenship you need to demonstrate not only your command of English but also "a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States" by answering a number of questions, such as: "Who said: 'Give me liberty or give me death?' " The answer, which I didn't know, is Patrick Henry, the Virginian revolutionary.

My favourite sample question is: "Who helped the Pilgrims in America?" The answer to that one is "The American Indians/Native Americans" - a fine example of the American habit of accentuating the positive. Only if you get the answers right do you get to swear the Oath of Allegiance. And only once you have solemnly pledged to renounce all foreign allegiances, to uphold the Constitution and, if called on to do so, defend the United States, are you finally a citizen of the United States.

This works. I can vividly remember the day my cleaning lady in New York - a Bolivian by birth - passed her tests, swore that oath and became an American citizen. She was euphoric. "What are you going to do now?" I asked. "Enrol in Law School," she replied. And she did.

As that suggests, the problem in Europe is partly economic. In free market America, immigrants get jobs; they are not much more likely to be unemployed than workers born in the USA. But the second problem is that Europeans do not try hard enough to make immigrants integrate culturally.

On the contrary, in the name of "multi-culturalism", we positively encourage them to retain their languages and allegiances.


Posted by Orrin Judd at November 6, 2005 10:49 PM

This is the tipping point. Up until now they were buning cars, which is an offense that doesn't require a deadly force response. But shooting police officers is ssomething else entirely.

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 7, 2005 3:41 AM

jd, ya think?

Posted by: erp at November 7, 2005 8:15 AM


In France?

Posted by: oj at November 7, 2005 9:49 AM

Haven't the French been known for strikes that shut down Paris for about the last 1000 years?

Posted by: b at November 7, 2005 11:24 AM