December 20, 2005


Fiddling After Paris Burned: A month after widespread riots, France's efforts to address the 'root causes' of the unrest are looking more and more like purely cosmetic changes. (Eric Pape and Christopher Dickey, 12/20/05, Newsweek International)

For now, at least, the fires have died out—but an acrid bitterness still hangs in the air. Ask those on the football pitch behind the high wire fences of Montfermeil. Year after year, coach Kaddor Slimane, a son of Algerian immigrants who grew up in neighboring projects, has seen his teams win their league's sportsmanship award. Yet what does their good behavior mean in the "outside" world, where they are seen through the lens of limitations and stereotypes? "The French are racist," he says. "They just don't want to admit it." Life in the projects isn't so bad when you are a child, says Amad, a 24-year-old community activist who declined to give his last name for fear of racist attacks. "But once you reach a certain age, you're fed up. There's nothing to do except play soccer or hang out," in voiceless exile from the "other" France.

The politicians whose inaction and confusion (and seeming indifference) contributed to the violence, on the other hand, have rediscovered their voices. Almost as if the riots never happened, many are once again speaking in familiar platitudes and posturing about law and order. "All those who participated in the riots will have to pay, today or tomorrow," France's Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy declared on Dec. 15 at an homage to injured police and firefighters. Then he waded into the crowd, alongside his political rival, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, for handshakes and photos.

For a brief moment, in the immediate aftermath of the riots, genuine change seemed possible.

To whom? Did anyone really think watching minorities explode in anger was going to make the French less nativist?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2005 5:26 PM

Why do you blame their problems on French nativism? The problems are obviously a result pro-immigrationist such as yourself.

Posted by: h-man at December 20, 2005 5:46 PM

Since the immigrants came as a result of the French policy and to take jobs the French would not, then who are you going to blame for this problem? Bush? Seems to me it is the French themselves who brought these people in and then put them into these soulless barrios or arrondisements (?). The same with the Turks in Germany. They bring them in and then they deny them full citizenship in both cases. At what point would you in their shoes stand up and say basta, enough!! If you are going to bring them in, then give them a chance to become full citizens and productive members of society. Understand that they will not necessarily become just like the rest of the population but leave enough slack so that both sides can gain from the situation.

I hate to be redundant but look at the US. When you go down the street and you see Japanese making pizzas and Koreans selling fresh fruit and Italians with Middle Eastern restaurants and French selling Chinese food, the kids studying elements of all the cultures in school and living in the neighborhoods together, then the mix is working.

I look at my block as an example. I live in a private home with several apartments. The landlord is from Mexico; there are 3 apartments of Puerto Ricans; there are 2 apartments of Italians; I am as WASP as you can get (protestant and mix of Irish/Welsh/Scot/English). Next door neighbor on the right is Jewish on the first floor and the landlady; Indian on the second floor; African American on the top floor. The neighbor on the left is Japanese with 2 Chinese families in the building. Across the street is a multi-generational Sikh family that owns and runs 2 businesses. We all get along fine. We also all share recipes and food ideas and the kids sell their school fund raisers to all of us. The neighborhood is middle class/ upper middle class (average sales price of a home in this neighborhood in Queens is over 500K). Someone has worked and saved to make it here and was able to do that.

Compare that to the situation in France. They try to force the community into a French framework with no slack at all. You will be this way if you want to be French!! Works well, don't it.

Posted by: dick at December 20, 2005 6:10 PM

Burn baby burn! No justice no peace! At least in France. Here in the USA, not so much.

Posted by: Carter at December 20, 2005 6:19 PM


Immigration is the solution to the problem of France.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2005 6:26 PM

How is France a "problem"?

Posted by: Carter at December 20, 2005 6:37 PM

France's problem is the elevation of Reason above Faith. Islam will fix that.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2005 6:48 PM

Next time you marvel at all the restaurants and their delicious recipes think about the case of Sweden where 2 out of three rapes are being committed by immigrants. Regarding your statement as follows "then put them into these soulless barrios or arrondisements". Then why don't they go back to Mauritania, and Sierra Leone? I think you know the answer. They are the ones in search of a soul, not vice versa. Also I agree that we need more Japanese, Korean, and Chinese immigrants. Do you think those people are causing problems in France? They're not.

Posted by: h-man at December 20, 2005 6:48 PM

Job opportunity. Folks will tolerate racism for work. But when your society becomes dependent on the work of people it hates the jig is up.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2005 7:08 PM

You can "fix" a wart on your toe by cutting your foot off too.

Just because some lack (or have elevated their adherence to pro-immigrationism above?) faith in the possibility of France being re-Chrisitianized it is no reason to welcome that country being subsumed by Mohammed's heresy.

Posted by: Carter at December 20, 2005 7:08 PM

Islam is preferable to secularism, though obviously inferior to Christianity. A little Reformation will do it wonders though.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2005 7:10 PM

dick, you and your neighbors are first generation Americans all getting along because none of you brought hatreds and jealousies from the old country. Your kids will melt into the rest of their age group and another generation of Americans will be born.

This is why the rest of the world hates and envies us.

Posted by: erp at December 20, 2005 7:24 PM


You wonder why they don't go back. Because of course, they would like to get soul. However, because of the barrackization practiced by the Euro countries eventually the animals will get tired of being patronized and patted on the head and given a few kopeks or centimes or euros and then you will have the problems you have in Sweden and France and Italy and Germany with the Turks and Denmark and Norway and The Netherlands. Here we eventually bring them into the citizenship. There they make certain that they do not assimilate and see what happens. When you couple that with the emphasis that our LLL brethren put on "multiculturalism" and trying to force equality at the beginning instead of equality at the result, you have problems. Now they are in Europe. We have some here but not to the extent of Europe yet but if our LLL brethren have their way we will be in the same boat.

Posted by: dick at December 20, 2005 7:49 PM

The French will remain French - provincial, arrogant, superior, and nativist. And if they actually think control is slipping away from them, then they will turn about and be as vicious as a cornered rat. They are not scared enough. Yet.

Posted by: Mikey at December 20, 2005 10:44 PM