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Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Tom Blumer

I would think riots that spread from a few Parisian suburbs to 200-300 cities and towns in less than 2 weeks reflect either a pretty well-organizaed on-the-fly ccriminal or moblike enterprise, or a pervasive anger that is about more than economic and social frustration, or both. To deny that a twisted faux-religious Muslim mindset isn't behind this to some extent seems to me an exercise in willful blindness.


A society, like everything else man builds,is only as strong as its weakest link.
In this case,what was the link and what caused it to break.
Was it poverty,unemployment,racial,religion,vandalism or some ulterior motive?
Until the cause is found,things aint going to change.
Society is like a car,if you don't do periodic maintenance it's going to break down,or in the case of France,BURNED.


I recommend this blog :
Neutral and precise description of the events. Maybe a bit redundal. The comments are really interesting too, as skyblog is a very "popular" place for the youngsters, and especially for those in the cités (skyblog is an emanation from skyrock, a popular hip-hop radio). A bit hard to read for a non-french speaker (abreviations, misleading faults), but you can find there many informed people, living in the areas concerned by the riots, some pro-riots, and some anti-. Interesting indeed.


About "racaille" : in fact, the term is used by the youngsters living in banlieues to describe themselves, often reversed in "caillera" (Kaïra). You can find "Kaïra" sweat-shirts everywhere in a streetwear shop. So the word is not really insulting. Some guys are proud to be racailles. But they don't accept the use of this by the minister. A bit like "niggaz" in the US, it's used in every rap song, but don't try to call niggaz someone you don't know in a place you don't know. All the same.


Thanks for both tips, Tcheni. Really helpful...

Half Canadian

I could see some influence via Al Qaeda, but it would be similar to that of Communist influence with the civil rights unrest in the U.S. during the 60s and 70s. Low key and carefully placed.
Ultimately, the problem is social. Religion is a facet of this, but not a necessary facet. France has to face up to its racism problem, but how, I don't know. Let's hope that they don't grow their own Jesse Jackson. That route has not worked.



Nice to read a balanced piece and an open declaration that you are seeking to learn more to better understand the situation. The sheer joy of many US commentators is a bit disgusting. As to the mistranslation of racaille: my Larousse dictionary says riffraff, little devil (in a humorous sense), or rogue.

I am a Canadian living in Geneva (2 minutes from France) and actually moving to France next week (my first house -- great timing)! The recent events are obviously very concerning. The cause is multilayered IMHO.

First, much of it are just stupid youngsters excited to see themselves on the news. There was an interview of a 15 year old saying "it's fun to burn cars."

Second, more seriously, muslim immigrants have been ghetto-ised (partly by choice, partly by policy/economics) and unassimiliated. The weak french economy hurts. Poor social policies are much to blame as they chase the rich from France (see the wealth tax), chase corporations away (see labour laws and 35 hour week), and yet France maintain generous welfare type benefits -- the pie keeps getting smaller. The least prepared get hurt the most (read: poorly educated foreigners). Net huge unemployment and a huge disaffected youth with too much time on their hands and no hope.

The irony of course being that France badly needs immigrants to jump start the economy and combat aging demographics - but for many reasons not this sort of unassimilated ghettoized immigration.

Third, part of the disaffectation has been caused by the failure of even the educated young muslims to succeed. This is in large part to an underlying racism in the society. Corporations have long been known to not even read resumés from certain postal codes (zip codes) or from people called mohammed, etc. In other words even those immigrants that have "played by the assimilation rules" have often failed.

Fourth, the failure of the family in poor neighbourhoods (the average family size is huge - usually headed by an unemployed father). I won't expand but ..

Fifth, I don't think its stretching to say that the war in Iraq and the Middle East problems play some role. Although hopefully this will remain tiny. Pro War advocates would argue that the french bainlieus (suburbs) are a nest of potential terrorists. Anti-war people would argue only because the americans are making is so easy to recruit as they polarize everyone in the world that doesn't live near Texas. But I'll stop here.

Again, tremendous to see someone writing what they know and writing that we all need gto learn more before claiming to understand the situation.

An interesting side point is that the french government consistently caves to strikers (one reason why there are so mayn strikes) and they are today to some degree caving to the rioters by announcing various programs. Dangerous in my mind for obvious reasons.


liam moredburn

I'm confused. Olivier Roy, the French state and many in the media claim that there is no religious angle to these riots yet we read above that the police in one banlieu effectively let the imams do the policing. Since the police do not act without the approval of the government does this not imply state recognition of the fact Islam (if not Islamists) is playing a role in this? Could it be that no one - least of all on the Left - wants to admit this fact because it gives lie to the claim that those who sat out Iraq are safe from Muslim reprisals?


a lot of schmucks said that the two intifadas the palis waged against Israel were not jihadist, but "nationalist."

ditto the "uprisings" in the moro islands and kashmir and chechnya and southern thailand etc etc etc and so forth and so on.

they say this as if it was mere coincidence that ALL these hotbeds of terror are Msulim versus non-muslim.

which is the simple truth. unpleasant perhaps. very un PC, sure. but true nevertheless.

a lot of schmucks said that atocha and the london bombings and the bali bombings were because the usa invaded iraq.

a lot of schmucks say the french riots are spontaneous expressions of disaffection that muslim youth have with the lack of assimilation - and an abundance of discrimination.

this is the most schmucky and stupidest statment of all.

the muslims of the banlieues DON'T WANT TO ASSIMILATE!

if they did, then they'd go to school - and graduate, and they wouldn't threaten muslim women who don't wear the hijab!


this is how THEY go about carving out sheikdoms.

by attacking and threratening anyone who opposes them.

get real. accept that we ARE in a religious war BECAUSE OUR ENEMIES WANT ONE.

still think I'm all wrong!?

well then, tell me one other creed that practices honor killings, suicide bombings, and massive misogyny!?

there is NONE.

contemporary Islam is the nexus - the culture in which the hatred to commit atrocites, genocide - and widespread rioting in france - GROWS.

SURE SURE SURE: not every Muslim is a terrorist - or even a radical militant.

but almost every single terrorist attack in the world is perped by THEM.

and these racaille only understand one thing, that's why the french army should go into the banlieues the way we went into Fallujah: annihilate the enemy.
it's the only thing muslim radicals understand.

in france, the problem ain't a lack of "affirmative action" - and villepin's proposal is nothing more than giving into blackmail.

what france must do is FIGHT BACK.

though that would be a first. just about.

Al Superczynski

"I don't think its stretching to say that the war in Iraq and the Middle East problems play some role."

Say again, Will??? In case you forgot, France vehemently opposed the Iraq war and still opposes it. Not to mention that France is big buddies with most other Arab countries.

Why would anyone riot against the French government for its opposition to the war???


Sure France vehemently opposed the war. And I didn't say it was a major reason. But in small part, the war has created instability in the world. Violence breeds violence. Intefada breeds intefada.


No Pasaran has some guys on the ground in Paris. They have very good coverage.


Again about the use of "racaille" and "kärcher" by the interior Minister. In Le Monde, dated 11/11/05 :

"Mais qu'on vienne à les assimiler à la crasse qui les entoure pour parler de Kärcher ou qu'on les traite indistinctement de racaille, ils voient rouge. Non qu'ils soient choqués par des mots qu'ils utilisent eux-mêmes ; mais parce que leur usage en l'occurrence révèle les confusions d'une incompétence épaisse, une sottise politique exaspérante, des recherches d'effets qui les tournent en occasions médiatiques, ça fait plusieurs générations que ça dure, ça suffit comme ça !"

Marc Hatzfeld, writer, author of "Petit traité de la banlieue", Paris, Dunod, 2004.

Translation (attempt of) : "But when you assimilate them with the mess surrounding them, talking about Kärcher, or when you called them "racailles", they get angry. Not because they are disturb by words they use themselves, but because using these words in these cases reveals an amazing incompetence, a very annoying political sillyness and the search for effects which will turn the words into media magnets. It lasts for several generations, enough of that !"


Sarkozy's background is incorrectly related in the article that
Neo-neocon cited. See:

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