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    « Expat Foul! | Main | All your (non-riot-related) questions answered »


    I do think its organized crime that is responsible for the rioting. I don't think protesters would go from town to town without spelling out a clear message. This seems like a scape goat for those that want to create chaos and vioelence. Now there is an excuse for a crime spree. And then have you read, there are copycats in Germany and Belgium.

    BTW, I just came across your blog today. I love the layout of it.

    I would think there are definitely people who are taking advantage of the opportunity for crime, but I wouldn't think these riots would start for the sole purpose of crime. (And I apologize; I know that was stated poorly. I'm just too lazy and rushed to do better.)

    I'm hesitant to say much though, because in America we've been getting a lot of mixed reports.

    It is very sad to hear what is going on in France right now. im not sure what to think on everything that has been happening but it seems that the french community has not accepted intergrating these people into their society, leading to the riots. but i also do believe that there has to be some form of organized crime at the root of all the violence. all i can say because i know so little is that i hope they find a peaceful resolution to all the riots.

    I've been keeping my ear open to the news because it was first broadcast in the US that "African immigrants were rioting in Paris." Then it became the children of African immigrants who feel neglected..." And now it is "Muslim extremists." You have to take American media with a grain of salt. Muslim extremism sells today, and that very well may not be what is happening.
    I listened to a piece yesterday on NPR say that riot police accidentally fired a tear gas canister too close to a mosque that was full of worshipers during a service honoring the end of Ramadan. Surprise, surprise, this didn’t help calm the situation.
    I just find rioting so strange. I remember the Rodney King riots well and have read of those in Detroit in the 1960s. I just can't imagine being that angry.
    I suppose this lengthy answer to your question is I have no idea why this is happening, but I hope a moderator steps in soon to stop the violence.

    So you don't think it's because the French are racist, xenophobic and exclusionary? They look like flat out angry oppressed kids to me... and France may just be decades behind in dealing with its race situation. Like, maybe, admitting there is racism would be a start?

    organized crime ? Wow. Or maybe the aliens ? Hey wait I've got it : it's the communists.

    It's bunch of stupid, unhappy kids, burning schools and attacking firemen.

    A couple of points:

    France, for reasons that used to be good, refuses to even allow people to record a person's ethnicity. Any file has to be colorblind. In doing so, France deprives itself of the tool it needs to solve race issues.

    As a country, France is not more or less racist than any other western civilized country. At least, I cannot find any proof that it is, despite repeated claims by some.

    The movie "La haine" (Hatred), released almost ten years ago, depicted a situation very close to the recent riots. Its makers were perceptive but they didn't have to be geniuses -- 50% unemployment combined with really horrible housing will do this. This particular flare-up will be crushed, but it will happen all over again in a few years.

    I think that while discrimination may seem to be the key issue outlined in the english press, what is clear from the demographics of the rioters is that this is largely a class and generational issue.

    The rioters are from every ethnic group, including whites. Gwynn Dyer's article, at http://jordantimes.com/mon/opinion/opinion4.htm, is an excellent starting off point for a more intelligent analysis of the situation.

    I don't have enough space here to say all the things I already said on my blog, which, if printed out, would probably burn a small forest. Needless to say, this is not an issue that can be tackled in three simple paragraphs.

    But, that guy whining about the curfew laws, those people saying it's organised crime, they might as well be talking about aliens, much as it irks me to agree with Schuey.

    Whatever it is, there's no clear point to it otherwise you'd think they would've gotten their point across by now. Be safe, Coquette, Nardac, Schuey and all you kids over there!!

    The point is that everyone is looking at them. They're not invisible any more. If you want to understand them, watch "La Haine." Poor kids, that's how I feel. No one can get a job in France these days, so they're especially badly off.

    I think to intellectualize this is basically turning something that is obvious into another complicated mess..the fact is they are pissed and they know that right now they are feared. So their reason...why not? I think everyone saw this coming. Look at their age ranges a lot of mass peer pressure going on.

    I can't believe France's response is The Curfew... so simplistic... so reactionary... so counter-productive. I think that this will make it worse.

    It is a class issue. The rich countries are neglecting their poor... and this is what happens. It should not be a surprise.

    I hope you stay safe! Please be careful.

    You are so right La Coquette, wouldn't it be for TF1 and Le Monde, most of the french would not know about it. It is the same country but it feels like a totale different world. And this is where the problem lies.

    Coquette, Thx for posting something about the riots. Its good to know your feelings (and that you're OK).

    La Coquette and others say they feel like they are living in another country. Perhaps that's exactly the problem. These disenfranchised youth do not live in the same world that most people consider "France" and "French." Just like we in the States recently "discovered" that there are poor, disenfranchised residents of New Orleans, the French are suddenly seeing what's been festering for a while.

    And it is also telling when some say to watch an old movie, "La Haine" to understand these youths, which only means that most of us don't really know these people at all.

    This is a tough problem that never has been adequately resolved in the United States -- and needs to be faced by Europeans. The rioting really makes me sad.

    Ah, poor neglected "youths". Ah, let's throw some money to the jihadists, may be gasolin will calm the fire.

    Afrikankelli, your confusion probably stems from the sources you read (and watch). I haven't being in doubt from the first time I heard rioters screaming "Allahu akbar" on my TV screen. I'd advise you - and others, it's fun and you can get lots of facts clear - go and read at least this thread @Asymmetrical information http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005535.html; especially enlightening are comments by *ellipsis.

    Isn't this how the Republic started in the first place? An angry French mob burning the bourgieoise homes' because they had nothing to eat? Of course now we call it 'The Revolution' and watch Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals about it, but that's what it was.... Angry poor people demanding to be fed, housed, clothed and occasionally treated as more than second class citizens. We've glorified it all in hindsight but when we're faced with the real thing, no one wants to admit that it's about class so we blame it on...... organized crime? Bad parenting? I know it's wrong but a little part of me is rooting for the rioters....

    well frankly speaking: kids having fun. You can share or not the way they enjoy themselves, but it is no more. And should be treated this way. the real problem comes from the media who are looking for an upward violence spiral to bring always more images to thirsty spectators, and to politics who want to move given the next election. that's all. and sad. because 75 % of the people in the suburbs work normally, or try to, and 95% of them do not want riots, and they are nor richer nor better integrated

    The lack of proper french media coverage points to a very clear idea that the media has been "called off" the story, not to incite the rioters. These are kids who are competing against other kids from other suburbs/towns as to who can burn the most cars..

    The real problem, I'm sad to say, is more real than the media. Nothing is happening in the metropolitan, so don't worry for us.

    As for those who root for the rioters, you're rooting for the wrong people. Root for the people who don't burn their schools and their workplaces, who look for jobs, who work.

    And La Haine is a good film, but don't be overwhelmed by the racial message. Cassel plays a white boy in this film. Integration in the suburbs is a FACT. Muslim community leaders have called a fatwa - religious ban - on the rioting themselves.

    As for the curfew, it may be simplistic, but it's probably the least violent solution for the moment. If I was in the suburbs, I wouldn't be going out at all in the night anyways, what with all the violence. So the curfew only affects, negatively, the rioters themselves. Though I'm no de Villepin junkie.

    I really enjoyed reading this op-ed article in today's NYT -- I think that it sums up the issue quite well -- marginalization, exclusion, unemployment, endemic socio-economic issues that the French government has long ignored.


    There are no riots in the city I live in, however, my profession largely consisting of working with kids of the same 'type' (Are we allowed to even say 'race' in France?)I do not feel like I am in another country at all.

    This has been building up for a long time now and most people will admit that. I do, however, have to say they are shooting themselves in the foot if they want to see progress made on the subject. The
    kids burning cars, etc are just proving those who are racist to believe they're right.

    And most of them seem to know that. However, a minority is speaking louder than even the masses in their own communities.

    Like Shuey said, a "bunch of stupid, unhappy kids, burning schools and attacking firemen."

    Cheering for the rioters ? That's interesting and I might get into an explanation about french revolutions, stating that contrarly to popular belief, french revolutions have always come from the middle class, but this is a fashionable blog...

    Irene, I wouldn't be too proud about such a lack of understanding of a situation.

    Schuey, what does that mean "this is a fashionable blog"? We don't care about history?

    multicultural doesnt work,there is nothing "multi" about it its usually just the 'majority' culture dominating the minor ones.Even though I'm[anglo/african/asian/french/dutch]mixed race descent,I still feel multiculturalism doesnt work,hence the problems!

    La coquette, I did not want to spoil the atmosphere with some long historical explanations, leading to some longer discussions ?

    Of course I wasn't implying anything else...

    suis je pardonné ? :)

    Ooooh, "suis je", so polite! Yes of course you are pardoned, and I am still cracking up from "Hey wait, I've got it: It's the Communists!"

    kate - so what? Everybody stay at home? Not in this century. Anyways, all this talk about integration better than multiculturalism, or vs. versa, seems pointless. Each has equally its pros and cons. Canada and Britain are multicultural while the States and France prefer integration. All cases display problems. What needs to be realized is that these problems stem from many causes, too difficult to address in this blog... but don't demean the issue by simplifying it. And don't sue the "I'm an example but..." to justify your argument. Pathetic.

    And just read the NYTimes op ed. I wrote the same piece, about three days ago... minus the journalistic style.... if I may offer a half-hearted pat on the back to myself!!!

    I don't know what it's all about, everyone they talk to says, 'we can't get jobs, we have no life'. All I know is that I've surpressed several maternal urges to email you to 'be careful and stay safe!'

    I'm in London now for work, and had planned to visit family in Paris, but now I'm a bit worried...

    What i really meant to say is that I think some extent of the violence is caused by criminals, but not the reason that it began in the first place.

    Vive La Salon de La Coquette! ;)

    ou, Le Salon, rather.

    They just cut all public transportation after 6pm in Lyon. Someone threw something at a metro last night, and set fire to a bus. No one is really sure what's going to happen here. But we in the city seem to be ok. Just without public transportation at night.

    There was another school shooting in the US the other day. Interesting, the "trends" of today's youth.

    But what happened to the pillow fight trend? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4436283.stm

    i think people (some) just finally got fed up and said "no more". when the government continually turns a blind eye to injustice decade after decade, and when politicians slap each other on the back and proclaim "job well done" over nothing - it just rubs people the wrong way, you know.

    on the other hand - the rioting has gotten a bit out of hand. but maybe a bit of hand rioting is exactly what is needed to get some results.

    I feel terrible for you to have to be in Paris right now, or any other civilized person for that matter. The riots simply cannot be rationalized, and in no way do I feel sympathetic for the youth who began all of this. Their message is vague and inconsequential; all I'm hearing is that they need to be ousted from the country.

    Mob mentality...If you'll recall the L.A.riots, the media tried to blame Rodney King for starting mass chaos in the streets. But it wasn't abot Rodney King, it was about repressed people of all races/sexes/classes fighting against perceived repression. The perception is what sparks the flame and fans it to the next city. And a government sanctioned curfew isn't going to ease those feelings. Nor is blaming the Muslim community when the leaders are calling for peace and excommunicating extremists. This will not end soon.

    I remember just outside of paris ... took a bus from charles degall to montpanasse (spelling here highly questionable)

    but what SLUMS I saw before getting into the city... I think it's just exactly what they say it is... angry young people that live in those conditions and feel oppressed ... ( "Lets go burn down Paris" ... yeah !!!! " ) I can just see it. It's also going on in Germany and other places... just like the riots in Los Angeles moved on to most other citys in the usa ...

    Wiley, precisely, they do not burn Paris, they burn their own suburbs...(slums as you call them). Have you read this article in LeMonde about the guy who says "We even burnt some friend's cars but they understand". Pathetic.

    I don't think it's organized crime or the extremists...it IS much like the student revolts of the 60s, in as much that this seems to be youth-driven. I don't think it will just up and go away; I am also appalled at how Chirac has reacted, and how the old '55 rulings are being dragged out.
    Simply put, this is not something that is going to change. Having lived in France (so I'm not just totally sounding off...), I know that there is a LARGE rift between the "french" and the "non-french" especially North African immigrants. They will never be fully integrated; my observance is that the French culture does not place a lot of importance diversity (Academie Francaise, anyone?). So, unless there is a radical, social and cultural revolution, there will always be tensions in this way. That's just my two cents.

    Yes, the 1955 law has historical connotations, but it is apparently the basic "state of emergency" law that allows the widespread enactment of the curfews. Perhaps its enactment would have been unnecessary if the rioters would have put down the petrol bombs on their own accord?

    On a side note, Sarkozy's initial remarks (including the ones that have caused a number of people a great deal of disingenuous grief) were edited from their context. Full coverage here: http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/2005/11/further-lack-of-consuming-attention.html

    I really can't say if it's extremists or organized crime... I will say though, that two citizens who were interviewed on NPR this morning said that some of their friends were involved, and when asked why the friends were doing it, they said "well they're just seeing on tv what's going on, and they're young and angry, so they are just joining in."

    It makes me wonder if some of this is just a lemmings phenomenon, instad of political ideals or social revolt. Either way I'd be totally pissed if someone burned my car haha.

    Glad you're at a distance from it somewhat. :)

    What was that Janis Joplin lyric?
    "Freedom's just another word for Nothing left to lose." Like Miss Pink said, these people feel they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by spreading their "message." They would damage property of their own friends, but of course they understand...they have nothing left to lose either.

    Have the French surrendered to the rioters yet? What's taking them so long?

    "Their message is vague and inconsequential"

    I think that's why their pissed off ... I could be wrong but I'm betting that's the mentality that they find disturbing.

    Maybe the inconsequential part, but the vagueness is certain. I've not yet heard any precise reason for the continued riots. The initial catalyst, yes, but not the ensuing spread.

    Helloooo! Get a blog folks!! (I kid. Sort of.)

    Look, schuey, John Adams said it, not me. 'After a long train of abuses', it's the right of the people to alter or abolish it (the government). Immigrants have it crap in France. Posters trumpeting 'inversion of immigration'? I'd be pissed too. At least people in French slums aren't so busy selling crack that they still actually care.

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