Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Paris now nothing but cinders and ashes.

by Colman Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:10:42 PM EST

After twelve nights of massive riots that clearly demonstrate the moral bankruptcy of the European social model and pays back the perfidious French for their betrayal over Iraq, Paris lies in ruins.

Twelve police officers were slightly injured, mainly by thrown projectiles. Some were the target of people firing shotguns, though none was hit. A dozen buildings were burned by arsonists.(RTÉ)

The complacent educated elite is as I write being led to the guillotine by the Islamic hordes that have overrun the city.

The rioting has involved poor whites as well as French-born citizens of Arab or African origin complaining of racism and unemployment.(RTÉ)

The government - now in exile - has still not learned it's lesson:

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has unveiled social and economic measures aimed at improving conditions in France's tough, low-income neighbourhoods.

The initiatives aim to reduce chronically high unemployment in those suburbs, provide better education and address entrenched racism.(RTÉ)

Only tough measures can be depended upon to tame these animals!

The cabinet earlier approved the imposition of curfews to try quell the rioting.

'Wherever it is necessary, prefects will be able to impose a curfew,' Mr de Villepin said, referring to local officials responsible for security.

Mr de Villepin had warned on French television last night that he would take a tough stance against lawbreakers, including curfews which have not been seen in France since the 1954-1962 Algerian War.(RTÉ)


And Brussels is also in flames:

Meanwhile, Belgian authorities are playing down the extent of the violence in Brussels, where five cars were set alight overnight. (RTÉ)
Damn it, that's nearly as many as in Dublin. Belgian society is breaking down.

The unrest spells ruin for the European state-run economy:

The spread of the unrest is undermining investor confidence in the euro, which dipped to a two-year low against the dollar today. (RTÉ)

(Edward on afoe has a different view on this.

So if the markets were really rational they would be pricing-in a new reform impetus in France and this should (in theory) be pretty euro positive.If you really wanted to stick your neck out and defend going euro-negative simply on the French impact, then probably you wind need to do this via the short-term impact on interest rates, since the French administration will certainly be in no mood to countenance ’hawkish monetary experiments’ just now.
)

Display:
I'm going to be over in Paris soon. I'll bring a brush to help clean-up with.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 11:45:07 AM EST
The daily telegraph had a funny front-page headline today: Leaders Fiddle as France Burns. Chirac and de Villepin definitely fiddled while Sarkozy inflamed.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 11:49:18 AM EST
Except for the killing of the innocent person , I am very happy about this revolt. I do not justify it, I just say I am happy (and let the comments roll)

It is actually a social revolt of the poor and disenfranchised. I doubt any middle class guy spends the time burning cars or schools.

It is really time for a wake-up call showing the inequalities of this, our old Europe. Time to get real and face the problem: young people in the suburbs are treated like shit. No wonder they revolt and act like one.

We will see how the revolt goes on, I hope it will be useful although I am not sure. One think I can tell you, would have I been living in the suburbs I bet you I will be the first one burning cars and schools.

I still wonder why this does not happen more often given the grave exploitation in other areas in Europe.

A pleasure.


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:14:45 PM EST
I am very proud of the French kids actions, too. It shows that they cannot be subjugated into accepting a subaltern role in society. On the contrary: they reject any attempt to create a victims' culture and violently rebuff the idea that they could ever become modern servants and slaves to the high and mighty. The French socialisation actually works to perfection. The kids know from school that revolts have played a vital part in the shaping of France and act accordingly.

I frankly prefer to see French kids torching several  thousand cars in their cities to achieve a more just society for all, than American and British kids being sent torching people in foreign lands for the benefit of a few.

Let's face it: When the US kids will eventually be back from Iraq we'll see them doing much worse things than occasionally blowing up a car or two in their neighborhoods. McVeigh anybody?

The shocking truth is - the American right wing gun nuts and survivalist 2nd amendment crowd envy the cold blooded and daring resolve of the French kids, because they know that they will never have the balls to do the same in the US.

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 02:35:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you be proud too if these French kids were torching your car? The car you were using to drive to your job to earn enough money to feed your family? The car you bought on a loan, maybe? Assuming you´re poor?

Just asking....

I mean, I suppose that at least some of the thousands of cars now torched weren´t in some rich quarter, right? In fact most of the cars torched weren´t parking in some rich quarter anyway?
We might at least assume that some of the torched cars were the only means of transportation for some poor people trying to get to their job?

Look, I´m trying to be polite here.
But just trying to wave aside the loss of property for some - probably not so well of - people here seems kind of callous.

If you want to further the cause of "a more just society" then why don´t you volunteer your car? Or the school of your kids? Or the kindergarten close to you?

Just asking?

I simply can´t understand your "cheering".
For the simple fact that these "kids" are hurting other poor people in their neighbourhood - either by destroying their cars or by destroying the nurseries and schools in their neighbourhoods. The same nurseries and schools trying to educate the immigrant children.

Not to mention the fact that the problems in France are totally unrelated to Iraq. France opposed the Iraq war and still the riots happened so I suggest you forget to try and relate them to Iraq.

We do have a serious problem in Europe.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 05:43:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A couple of things first:

I 'volonteered' my Chevy Costum Deluxe pickup truck I had driven from Virginia down to Nicaragua to  Miskito fishermen of a small community on the Atlantic coast.

Sergio a good friend of mine, a metal worker who lives in an small occupied farmhouse (casa cantoniere) near Viterbo, once did exactly what you said: During violent clashes with the 'celere' (riot police) he went back to his parked car and quickly drove it beetween the police forces and his comrades and torched it. He was later arrested for that and did some time in Viterbo prison.

The last car I drove (a Golf) I gave to an Albanian gipsy who had asked me for it amidst the Brussels traffick. He actually offered me 200 euros for it. I didn't take it. Since that time I am without car.

And yes, I have more respect for the French kids than for the troops. They do their thing, the troops do the others' thing.


"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 07:05:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.. just I do.

No problem with that. I also hate cars by the way. But I am polite guy and I do not nothing.

I am not cheering, I am saying that I am happy.

I do not know how fair the violence is, no idea. Maybe their violence is absolutely unfair, directed to cars of poor people in the neighboorhood.

Maybe the schools are high quality schools where a lot of people are coming out of misery.

But maybe not, may be they target only rich cars, or so disgusting and malfunctioning schools that this is for the better.

I have no idea, no idea. This is why I do not cheer. Nevertheless I think that very strong changes only comes from local and sporadic violent acts.

Murdering is disgusting and accomplishes nothing. Being inside the system can produce incremental improvement if you are lucky. The best way to produce a very important change is controlled and smart violence outside the system. The civil rights movement in the US shows that, among others (Frenc revolution anybody?).

I do hope that they are targetting the appropriate cars and schools, then I would be happy and I will understand them deeply (not even cheering, I can not cheer any violence). Just as I would understand the nepalese if they would attach chinese cars, or the palestinianas if they would burn israelis cars in the terrotories.

This whay I am happy, they look for violence, but they do not try to kill anybody. They want a face to face violence fight, but without killing. So let me be happy for the moment. As soon as their tactics change I would change too.

A pleasure.

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 03:25:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don´t like any street violence. :)

IF they did target only the cars of rich people or only "disgusting and malfunctioning schools", I might understand it. Not cheer it but understand it in a way.

BUT I doubt that a lot of rich people are living close to them. So I have to assume that some of the cars and schools they were torching belong to not so well off people too.

A German newspaper today on Wednesday mentioned a hospital and nurseries damaged by the riots last night in a French town. Only damaged not destroyed you understand.
Don´t know if they´re right, but hospitals and nurseries don´t seem to be targets anyone should cheer about?

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 04:24:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You really never know, in my neighborhood the nursery system was disgusting. You could compare it with the service in other areas and.. well  I could see..well, it does not matter. My point is that unless you are on the ground, there is no way to know what is going on.

At least this is my point of view.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 05:09:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
time news coverage of Hurricane Katrina?  When we heard things like
10,000 dead bodies would be found when the waters were pumped out of NO.
 
But of course it will take years to drain the water.
 
Hundreds are being raped in the Superdome.
 
It's all a plot to mistreat the poor and black by the American government, who of course are neocons intent on restarting the class war.
etc, etc, etc.
Or do you think the news coverage and criticisms of American during the largest natural disaster (certainly one of, due to the level 4/5 hurricane hitting a city built under sea level, surrounded by the ocean, a huge lake and the Mississippi) was totally reasonable and accurate, while the news coverage of France's troubles is foolish and ignorant?  Is unfair in the eyes of the beholder?

Ah, but how foolish I am!!  I forgot that I asked a similar question earlier on was put straight with the following insightful analysis:

Well, the comparison with Katrina is certainly not appropriate. Hundreds died or were left to cope on their own for days; government was spectacularly ineffective.
Here, you have car fires, which are talked about more than usual, but do not seem to be happening that much more than usual, you had a few malicious fires, and skirmishes between gangs and the police, with a lot of focus from a lot of TV and media.

A few burning cars at night and a few kids throwing rocks make for good TV, but how that leads to gleeful talk about France's multiple failures is an interesting phenomenon on its own.

To me, this is a spectacular political blunder by both Sarkozy and Villepin, which put the spotlight on some real problems, not a crisis.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

Sorry, I don't know what came over me, to make such a stupid comment in this same vein again.
by wchurchill on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:19:18 PM EST
I didn't do such an analysis. Did you? Why not?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hit August 29.  
by wchurchill on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent excuse. Feel free to do a retrospective.

Look, I understand that you feel defensive about the US, but I don't know that it's up to me to defend the coverage of US problems by (largely) US media - the same people that are spouting crap about France were spouting crap about Katrina. I do recall rather a lot of scepticism about some of the coverage here, especially the bit about riots and rapes.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:40:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
typing and time, here it basically is from a previous post:
I've been reading and participating in your reports on "Paris riots" and the resulting threads.  It occured to me, and I wonder what you think, that this is making it so clear that we all see events in terms of our own mindset, our own view of reality.  we are all so attached to our mindset, and to a large extent that dictates our response.

Maybe this is simplistic, but let me continue.  France has a real challenge, that any country would have, with a large immigrant population with different religion, culture, etc.  But it's interesting how so many of our, and I mean our, comments, come from a personal perspective of each of us--for some it is a far left view, for others a moderate left view, some centrist views, some left social/right economics, maybe occassionally a right social/right economics--but whatever, all the comments come from their own viewpoint.  So some attack France for being in this place because they are so leftist; others attack this saying the right has really been in charge.  I guess for me, it was just a dramatic example of how we each see the world through our own filter, things we are attached to.

I know as detached as I'm trying to train my mind to be (long ways to go for this particular "monkey mind"), one of my reactions as a (socially liberal/economically conservative/christian buddhist--$10,000 of psychoanalysis required right there) to Jermome's cries regarding are these riots?, is, where were his cries when everyone is bashing  so many things like the katrina response.

Not sure what my comments are worth, maybe they are just an observation.  so many of the things we discuss are foremost just real human issues, but our personal responses (obviously me too) are just so conditioned by our mind set.  Any thoughts?

I'm thinking that all of us get defensive, when things we believe in are attacked, and particularly when we believe they are unfairly attacked.  I wasn't on this site for the Katrina dialogue, and have only seen some "cheap shots" from time to time since.  (I started to find some examples, but I realize I'll just piss some body off, and get this dialogue off subject).  I find that those on the site who are attached to the European social model, or France's version specifically, appear to have been just as defensive as some of the Americans, at other times.  I guess it was a call for awareness of this--attempting to shine the light on the similarity of reactions.  
by wchurchill on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 04:32:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Both Katrina and the French disturbances have recently exposed a poor underclass with a large ethnic minority make up that both countries would rather have stayed hidden. Dented national pride does give occaision to defensive reactions.
by observer393 on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 11:21:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
my writings were so poor, that no one could understand them.
by wchurchill on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 01:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IIRC, you joined ET earlier than that, and you commented on Katrina.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 01:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what's the situation like on the ground in NO today?
what's the final death toll? Does anyone even know??

France is currently organising concerts to help New Orleans come back to life. Help was offered at the time of the flood, and was treated with contempt.

Has anyone offered to help France (apart from Gaddafi) instead of wallowing in the satisfaction of finding their favorite enemy bogged down in these troubles?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:46:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. I don't think Katrina history is the issue here. I'm writing about our reactions to these situations.   Please see response to Coleman above.  However, in response to your question, it's thought to be about 1000 in the state of Louisiana.  Katrina is of course a natural disaster, and there are many issues in the count, explained in this article, and here's an earlier article, Katrina Death Toll May Not Be As High as Feared
  2.  "Help was offered at the time of the flood, and was treated with contempt."  Curious what this was all about?  Do you have a link?  I didn't see anything other than a somewhat bogus report about a British food offer that I saw in a tabloid.  But I would love to read about this.
  3.  I, and the people I know, are certainly not wallowing in satisfaction about these French problems?  And I think we're still trying to understand how big the problem is.  What kind of help do you mean?
by wchurchill on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 05:13:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by wchurchill: ... a somewhat bogus report about a British food offer ...

snip

Bogus, huh? Nice try.

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 05:43:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes a somewhat bogus report,,,,,why are you snipping (not sure what that means) me?  I'm asking Jerome for what he is talking about--I assume he means a French offer.  And you don't know, I think, what I'm talking about--do you?
by wchurchill on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 06:07:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK food was burnt after arrival in the US. It were 40.000 ready - to - eat rations of the same sort eaten by NATO troops in Afghanistan. This includes US troops. German planes were not given permission to land and had to return half way over the Atlantic. I spoke to friends from RELEX/AIDCO in Brussels who were foaming because of their US FEMA colleagues reluctance to let them ship emergency aid over to the Gulf Coast states.

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819
by Ritter on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 06:43:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason for the delay is it contained, or might have contained, british beef which was banned due to mad cow disease.  Officials were implementing, they thought, US policy.  It was a bureaucratic snafu, but frankly in the bureaucracy of the US government, getting it fixed in 5 days is almost a miracle.  It did piss the Brits off because they busted their butts to help.  But it was delivered, and it was not a political insult.  Now maybe you want to argue that other governments are not as bureaucratic as the US,,,,????  But I don't think these things rise to the level of insults.  If they do, I've been insulted by a number of European countries a lot of times.Refer to story in the London Times

The story was covered with much less accuracy and much more vehemence in the tabloids 1 1/2 weeks after the problem was fixed.  I posted on another site at that time:

While there is some truth in the Daily Mirror story, it is a recycled story written on September 19 that is at least 9 days out of date.  For those of you not familiar with the Daily Mirror, it is a British tabloid, and I'll let you go to their website for yourself and draw you own conclusions.    http://www.mirror.co.uk/
I'm not sure what stories will be highlighted when you look, but some of you may enjoy "Dad killed mum,,,,but I've forgiven him" and "Rick Parfitt: My big mistakes on booze..I ended up in bed with an electrician called Nigel and his wife"

I find the London Times to be a much better source of news, and it was the only other source I found with the story.  Here is the url to their article written September 10:

So if you want to chastise US bureaucracy on this kind of basis, be my guest.
by wchurchill on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 01:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was not fixed in 5 days as you say.

Here is a BBC report from mid-October that tells the rest of the story. The offered rations were mostly kept on hold in Little Rock, and the US gov't is looking for an opportunity to send them elsewhere in the world where people are hungry but not protected by federal regulations against mad cow disease. Contributions by other European nations were also rejected in this way.

Your self-quote from "another site", btw, was also posted here on ET by one wchurchill on September 27 (see my comment above on dates). It was entitled Rubbish. Someone must have been using your nick?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 02:03:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks for the BBC comment which I'll look at in a minute.  But I was sure I had posted this on ET, but when I checked my comments on my history, it wasn't there.  I actually wanted to refer to it.  How did you find it?  Obviously I'm missing an insight on our system--btw, it was also true that I posted it on another site, Daily Koz, and I found it there on their history.
by wchurchill on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 02:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
which supports my point:"US rejects British Katrina beef
 The US said meals were overlooked due to the chaos after Katrina
The US has blocked the distribution of around 350,000 packaged meals donated by Britain for victims of Hurricane Katrina, because of mad cow disease."

the US has decided, rightly or wrongly, that they don't want Brit beef.  so that is the issue, nothing about rudely turning down charity.

No takers'

"By the time our inspectors were on the ground, we had confirmed that there was no longer the emergency need," she said.

"It's critical to the story that our inspectors confirmed that the people were being fed before they held back any MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)."

Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman at the State Department, said Washington was looking at other countries to donate the food to, but had not yet found any takers.

"We are looking to use these MREs in the same spirit of charity and goodwill that they were provided to us.

"We would certainly hope that other countries in need, or other needy populations would be able to make use of them, and we certainly invite any countries that see a need to contact us," he said.

While I'm glad you referenced the article, it seems odd that your comments slanted the meaning of the article, don't you think?

by wchurchill on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 03:27:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe I slanted anything.

  1. I corrected your assertion that the "problem" was rapidly fixed.

  2. I doubt if many people will subscribe to the notion that the main point of the BBC article is the spin put on the incident by US spokesfolks. The contributions were rejected, and not as a result of bureaucratic incompetence. There's no slant in making that clear.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 04:33:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by wchurchill on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 04:44:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm glad you think it's funny.

It's your comments that are slanted. You began with Rubbish and you ended with extensive quotes from US post-facto damage-limitation spin.

You have been consistently wrong on this issue from A to Z. That is now clear. End of "joke".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 06:18:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are those actual quotes you're using at the top of your comment? Could you tell us where they're from?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 01:47:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
press coverage, quotes from frantic CYA, clueless politicians, and other of the usual American crowd looking to get on TV.  So no they are not quotes, but here is a link to one of the estimates of 10,000 dead in New Orleans (my first point), who proved his ability to warn people early to get out of town, or use the school buses parked in city parking lots to help his constituents, was about as good as his ability to estimate deaths:Katrina Death Toll May Not be as High as FearedKatrina Death Toll May Not be as High as Feared"Mayor Ray Nagin had warned earlier this week that the death toll could reach 10,000. State emergency authorities had ordered 25,000 body bags."  There are issues on the count addressed in a link above where I resonded to Jerome, but it appears now the count in the STATE of Louisiana will be about 10% of that estimate, and New Orleans maybe 20% below that--might be worth reading the link as it reminds us of some of the issues on death tolls of natural disasters.
by wchurchill on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 05:29:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing is, it is a bit unfair to blame us here for biased coverage of Katrina that you attribute yourself to local authorities and local coverage.

So you may fairly consider that our opinion of the events in France is too complacent or optimistic or dismissive, but please do not accuse us of double standards. We cannot be blamed for everything that anyone associated with the left in Europe or in the USA writes, or for anything that the press reports.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 06:47:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
failure of communication here.
by wchurchill on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 01:20:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please feel free to blame yourself.

By presenting:

It's all a plot to mistreat the poor and black by the American government, who of course are neocons intent on restarting the class war.

as a supposed quote or summary of thinking by someone here, or in the European or American media, it's hard to avoid the impression you're communicating in an inflammatory manner.  

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 01:35:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Thats the results of having 19th century politicians in a 21th century society...!
Mind you, I still feel the French system is much better then others in many ways, but then this "quake" might dust off the complacency in which we are...

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:22:09 PM EST
It is terrifying in terms of civil liberties and it is rather ironic that it also happens to be the law created to deal with the Algerian revolt.

La loi du 3 avril 1955 «instituant un état d'urgence et en déclarant l'application en Algérie»

The link includes all the ammendments introduced over the past half century.

BTW. The German press is having just as much of a field day as their American colleagues. And, dare I mention this, the French press is pretty worked up as well, including some pretty over the top things (op ed title in Libe 'Banlieues: Mai '68 ou Weimar')

How about skipping the defensiveness and focusing on the real problems that these riots highlight rather than minimizing their importance and complaining that foreign coverage is unfair - even when it is.

by MarekNYC on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:53:39 PM EST
Because that'd be no fun at all. And because crap coverage hides the real problems.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 12:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Monde also agrees - they have a front page editorial (pretty rare) blasting Villepin for "fébrilité" (nervousness/"losing it"):


Fébrilité, par Jean-Marie Colombani

La défense de la loi républicaine est la mission première d'un gouvernement. Face à une situation qui suscite une exaspération légitime parmi les habitants de ces quartiers de banlieue livrés aux exactions de quelques groupes de jeunes (ou de très jeunes), un constat s'impose : les élus, les habitants, les pompiers et les forces de police font preuve d'un calme exemplaire.

Enforcing the law is the first mission of a government. Facing a situation which legitimately exasperates the inhabitants of these suburbs because of the actions of small groups of young - or very young - kids, one thing must be noted: the elected representatives, the population, the firemen and the police have shown an exemplary calm.

Face à cette maîtrise collective, alors que les biens sont mis à rude épreuve, le premier ministre semble, lui, perdre son sang-froid. Le voilà qui restaure une législation d'exception. L'état d'urgence. Une loi conçue au temps des "événements d'Algérie", à l'un des pires moments de notre vie publique. Un choix qui témoigne que Dominique de Villepin n'a pas encore les nerfs d'un homme d'Etat.

In view of the collective dipslay of self-control when our cities are being damaged, the prime minister seems to be losing it. Here he is reinstating an exceptional law. State of emergency. A law created at the time of the Algerian war, one of the worst periods of our country. This choice shows that Villepin does not have the nerve of a Statesman.

Le mouvement en cours est insaisissable. Il n'a pas de "revendications", encore moins un discours construit : le moindre incident peut donc conduire au pire. Le couple "fermeté-justice" énoncé par Nicolas Sarkozy (la première appliquée avec retenue, la seconde ayant besoin d'être crédibilisée par des mesures à long terme) est de nature à rassembler le pays. Que des maires, qui en ont le pouvoir, décrètent ici ou là un "couvre-feu" est compréhensible.

The current events are hard to graps. There are no claims, even less of a political discourse: any incident can lead to the worst consequences. The twin "toughness- fairness" goals stated by Sarkozy (the first applied with measure, the second requiring to be made credible by long term programmes) can legitimately bring the country together. That mayors, locally, also decide to set a curfew is also understandable.

Mais exhumer une loi de 1955, c'est envoyer aux jeunes des banlieues un message d'une sidérante brutalité : à cinquante ans de distance, la France entend les traiter comme leurs grands-parents. Le premier ministre devrait se rappeler que cet engrenage d'incompréhension, de fébrilité martiale et d'impuissance avait alors conduit la République aux pires déboires.

But to bring out a law dating back to 1955 means sending the kids in the banlieues an incredibly violent message: 50 years later, France will treat them like their grandparents. The prime minister should remember that this spiral of misunderstanding, nervous toughness and powerlessness had led our Republic to dire consequences.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 03:26:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But to bring out a law dating back to 1955 means sending the kids in the banlieues an incredibly violent message: 50 years later, France will treat them like their grandparents. The prime minister should remember that this spiral of misunderstanding, nervous toughness and powerlessness had led our Republic to dire consequences.
Dire consequences indeed: the Algerian crisis precipitated the end of the 4th Republic:
The instability and ineffectiveness problems of the Fourth Republic came to a head in 1958, when the current government suggested that it would negotiate with the Algerian nationalists. Right-wing elements in the French Army, led by General Jacques Massu seized power in Algiers and threatened to conduct a parachute assault on Paris unless Charles de Gaulle, the WWII hero, was placed in charge of the Republic. De Gaulle did so under the precondition that a new constitution would be introduced creating a powerful presidency. These changes were introduced and the Fifth Republic was born.
When a government cracks down on a protest by a significant part of the population (what fraction of the French population are Banlieu youths? And, more importantly, what fraction is sympathetic to their plight even if disapproving of the riots?) it can cause a crisis of legitimacy. I hope de Villepin knows what he's doing, but apparently even Le Monde does hot think he does.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 04:12:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The current events are hard to grasp. There are no claims, even less of a political discourse: any incident can lead to the worst consequences. The twin "toughness- fairness" goals stated by Sarkozy (the first applied with measure, the second requiring to be made credible by long term programmes) can legitimately bring the country together. That mayors, locally, also decide to set a curfew is also understandable.

I seem to remember that Sarkozy made some pretty inflammatory statements in the past few days? How is it that this editorial now says that Sarkozy is the moderate trying to bring the country together?

Didn´t you say something about "local police stations" discontinued under Sarkozy?
Moreover, did Sarkozy make any suggestions to deal with the situation without invoking a state of emergency?
If not, then he is as responsible as Villepin....

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 06:08:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Featured on the front page of the FT this morning:


De Villepin attacked for imposing riot law

Dominique de Villepin, France's prime minister, was accused on Tuesday of losing his sang-froid after resorting to a state of emergency to quell riots that have set the suburbs of France's biggest cities alight during the past 12 days.

(...)

Le Monde, the newspaper of France's political elite, accused the prime minister of sending a message of "staggering brutality" to the youth of the suburbs, who are for the most part children and grandchildren of African immigrants.

By invoking a law created in 1955 to put down unrest during the Algerian war of independence, Le Monde said, Mr de Villepin had "lost his sang-froid" and was sending the message that "France intends to treat them [the French-born children of immigrants] as it did their grandparents. The prime minister should remember that this spiral of incomprehension, of martial fever and powerlessness has driven the republic to its worst setbacks".

(...)

While France's political parties support the government's decision to impose a state of emergency to restore order - albeit with some reservations - a number of deputies and mayors said on Tuesday they would refuse to implement the measures.

André Labarrère, a Socialist senator and mayor of the south-western city of Pau, said he was "totally opposed" to the state of emergency. "It is a form of discrimination that will be very badly received."

Jean-Marc Ayrault president of the Socialist party, said the opposition was prepared to accept the measures because of the urgent need to restore order. However, he warned against using the state of emergency, which will be in place for the next 12 days, as a smokescreen to cover up deeper social problems. It was "first and foremost a social state of emergency", he said. "The young people in revolt are the lost children of a liberal society."



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 05:32:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of these kids' actions, but i condone them, understand their pain, and probably would do the same in their shoes.

it's so very sad that they are hurting themselves, and their own peoples' property, but it must be almost irresistible, given their sense of alienation and the apparent futility of trying to be heard any other way.

treat people fairly, and this wouldn't happen.

young men need their energy channeled into productive pursuits, or they will act out.

it's always been that way. some tribes knock a tooth out at puberty, some chop off another piece of anatomy, to try and knock a wedge of humility into their omnipotence.

france expects them to go to school, and aim for respectability with a 9 to 5.

i heard that in communist east germany the kids had plenty of organised activities, and when the wall fell, a lot went wild, missing some positive structure to help them through the hardest years, with respect to identity and character formation.

what do we offer kids? the mall-crawl? projections on football teams?

these kids need to feel self-esteem. their families try to do this with religion, but that doesn't cut any mustard in a secular, racist society.

lining them up to be branded 'french' is absurd, unless they choose to be.

i hate the sublimated war in sport, but maybe it might work to integrate immigrants better.

all part of the difficult transition from homo economicus to homo ludens...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 08:33:46 PM EST
I have the same feeling. Figth now the violence expression is quite smart. No killing, no face to face with local people.

It is a little bit weird. Sad for the situation, happy for the way it is awakening people. And worried that they will not be smart enough to focus the violence.

Civil rights movement in the US is a clear example. Violent acts were really smart, localized but brutal. Combined with pacifism and mass movement, it worked. I do not if they would be that smart now, so I do not know if they will get the big chance we are all rooting for in the poor ans poor working ares of Europe.

Weird being happy but not knowing if I could stay happy a lot longer. Happy but not cheering. Understanding but not supporting. I guess I am a coward all in all.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 06:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that kids everywhere subscribe to: they relate internationally by it and though i find it generally sucks, being fruit of a nike-gap type corporate wet dream, it may be good in one sense - it is global. ignore the attitude and try to educate them to use their hearts, hands and brains while still young, and to avoid futile violence.

can you imagine if they all were laying in the road and blocking traffic, or something ghandian like that?

maybe it's my projection, and they know better, as the 'soft' way would certainly get a lot of them arrested, and this way doesn't.

it's that the violence turns off many who would listen.

another interesting thing: the leaders are very much in the background, and therefore unavailable for mediation, and thus banalisation.

besides, the 'movement' doesn't need spokesmen really, the media is already crawling with an overabundance, and the issues are as obvious as their collective rage.

this way its like p2p, many fragments, difficult to target.

open source networks show their fleet strength again!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 10:06:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
excellent points.

I belong to the school that deeply thinks that the so called "masses" are generally very smart and along history have accomplished their main purposes. They have done through different kinds of fights and won  from radical and disgusting violence to pacific means.

In Paris, it is too recent to see if it will work, if it was smart or if it was not. But in front of any kind of social revolt which does not include killing people I am always willing to see if it would work.

Your thoughts are a very good point describing why they could be very intelligent indeed. A p2p low-intense violence that becomes strong by the basic loose network structure.

In any case, it will be very interesting how it goes from here.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 02:08:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the big deal about having a curfew? Plenty of American towns have curfews to keep adolescents off the streets at night; it's just an accepted fact for high school students that you can't be running around town at 2:00 in the morning.
by asdf on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 10:47:38 PM EST
Also, it doesn't take an act of congress to have a curfew, it's purely a local decision...
by asdf on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 10:48:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
where apparently young folks spend so much time hanging out drinking in the plazas till dawn, that many residents have insomnia!

maybe if the weather were a little - or a lot warmer - these folks in the rainy burbs of paris would get more of their ya-yas out that way.

growing up in foggy england, and comparing it with how kids grow up here in italy, i remain pretty convinced the weather helps....A LOT, when it comes to nursing chips on shoulders.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 at 10:13:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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