A "Metric" of Torched Cars?

Sunday, November 06, 2005
In all humility, I admit I have no idea what is going on in France.

And it appears I am not alone. The Mainstream Media seem to be groping for a means of understanding what motivates the rioters, and how to measure "progress" (if any) toward stability.

One measure that has appeared over the past week or so is a kind of "body count." Thank G_d, the bodies are not those of human beings.

Rather, they are the "bodies" of burnt-out vehicles:

From an outburst of anger in suburban Paris housing projects, the violence has fanned out into a nationwide show of disdain for French authority from youths and minorities, most French-born children of Arab and black Africans angered by years of unequal opportunities.

Arsonists burned 1,295 vehicles nationwide overnight Saturday-Sunday — sharply up from 897 the night before, national police spokesman Patrick Hamon said, adding that police made 349 arrests nationwide.

This is a very peculiar war.

If it is a war.


Peter UK said...

I think the American Indians called it counting coup,some would go into battle without using weapons,simply touching the enemy was enough.
What is interesting, is what is restraining them,street gangs in Paris,or in any other European city, have no compunction, when "steaming" a crowded area,in pulling knives,beating people up or sexually assaulting women.
In all probability, this is also taking place, but the police cannot get access to evaluate the situation.
I would hazard that not a few scores have been settled and some horrific things done.It is useful at this time to remember the newspapers are in effect state owned, in all likelyhood events are being played down,so as not to inflame the situation.
Censoring the news also leaves the French Government with the option of doing the minimum to calm things down,the first deaths and that will have gone by the wayside.

David Thomson said...

“...most French-born children of Arab and black Africans angered by years of unequal opportunities.”

The last thing France needs is more egalitarian economic policies. This is why the French are doomed. They will be similar to the guy unwittingly adding gasoline to an already raging fire.

Syl said...

I don't have counts, but I read (can't remember which article, read too much today) that the number of incidents are down but the number of car/other burnings are up.

To me that looks like the 'normal' rioting is winding down but the more organized elements are still at it...or have taken advantage to join the romp.

BTW, Jamie, am I not allowed to be snippy? I was confused by what looked like a politically correct chastising at Rogers place.

Jamie Irons said...


You must have misunderstood me, or I was unconsciously rude.

Tell me what you're referring to.


Jamie Irons said...

Oh, Syl, I just realized what your're referring to.

No, I was talking to thibaud.


Jamie Irons said...

Interesting that Belmont Club has a take on the car count.

Belmont Club commenter Red River makes the interesting conjecture that rioting "youths" in Paris have confined their primary mode of attack to car burning as part of a deliberate brinkmanship. Car burning is spectacular, serious enough to get attention yet -- and this is the vital point -- not serious enough to provoke lethal force. By staying just shy of the threshold, the rioters can maximize their rate of propagation at minimum danger to themselves. Other commenters have noted how small groups of "youths", coordinated by cell phone, can gather to attack and disperse before a response can be mounted. A BBC article describes some of the cut and thrust.

Jamie Irons

terrye said...

Hey, thibaud was just plain rude.

Jeez, I know he is a smart urbane debonair man of the world and I am just another red neck hick who actually believes there might be something to this whole global jihad thing but he does not have to be so snooty with us hill billies.

In truth I came late to the party and was thus spared, but he can be kinda high and mighty.

My nose is itching, he must be talking about me.

Rick Ballard said...

That's Emperor Thibaud I - the Philosopher King - to you, buddy.

He has some decent ideas occasionally but the sales pitch is a little lacking.

terrye said...

car burning may be symbolic of car bombs.

Doing this also lets the powers that be know they can blow things up any time they want.

Just like Baghdad.

terrye said...


I beg the King's gracious pardon.

Jamie Irons said...

As is not at all surprising, Wretchard makes sense of an observation that I found merely puzzling and surprising.

Rick Ballard said...


That was to Jamie, I should have named him. Seems to be a day for misunderstandings.

Rick Ballard said...


I'm watching Nice and Marseilles - if it spreads there it will go straight to Alexandria (IT) and then to Genoa, Turin and Milan. If it gets started in Milan it will be very bad. Possibly worse than Paris.

Prodi is hopping mad at the French for not getting this under control and I don't blame him. This is a struggle for autonomous thuggery and must be stopped. Appeasement will only strengthen these hooligans.

terrye said...


same difference.

chuck said...

To me that looks like the 'normal' rioting is winding down but the more organized elements are still at it...or have taken advantage to join the romp.

Every trick gets old. The cure for boredom is to escalate. We will soon see just how imaginative the youth are.

BTW, bus service to the banlieue has become spotty. Trucks are being burned. It occurs to me that at some point food and water will become a concern.

Re Thibaud. I think he has a deep emotional investment in France and in his world view. I am just not sure what those are.

chuck said...

I'm watching Nice and Marseilles

There have been incidents in both. I don't know how severe the situation is, but I do know that Provence has both a large muslim population and strong support for LePen. That is a potentially volatile mixture.

Peter UK said...

The danger of applying Marxist economic reductionism and all the other nostrums of social engineering to this problem is that all them,having failed are just as likely to fail in this case.
The concept of racism fails,just as integrationism fails,because it misses the central problem...they don't want to be like us.

They they would like the appurtenances of Western economic success,but as accoutrements to their traditional culture and religion.The perfect example of this is Saudi Arabia,what is it we do not comprehend when we look at the KSA?

What are we offering culturally to those in the Banlieus that they do not despise?

What are we offering economically that they cannot get stealing cars?

Yes, they would like to be the boss of something,but my familiarity with youths who live in such areas,tell me that a humble job is not going to satisfy those raging macho egos.
It is also true that they have no concept of the future,gratification of the here and now is all. Add to this brew an extreme patriarchal culture and you end up with something akin to the Sicilian Mafia on crack.

Rick Ballard said...


See, I misread yours.


It's been minor to date in Provence but it could change tomorrow. It's not like they have to get up and go to work or school.

Peter UK said...

I'm sure he is central to that.

chuck said...

From No -Pasaran comes a good link to Corbusier , who has more observations on French housing and les beures.

Peter UK said...

You had best go back, Mr T is claiming your advice is for another.You will need something with the subtlety of a breeze block applied to the head.

Peter UK said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ambisinistral said...

I still think the school burning is going to prove to be the most critical thing. that is where the next fight is going to take place. They'll be arguments to replace them with more Moslem controlled schools -- along with a rescinding of the hajib ban.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


You told Thibaud exactly what needed to be told to him. Thank you.

Unfortunately, my take on him is that although he is an extremely gifted writer, as a listener he falls down completely. He has a tin ear. He tells us his opinion, we listen, react, and tell him ours, and he doesn't listen. That's where the dialog stops. It reminds me of the lefty trolls. When arguments or facts counter to their arguments are raised, their response is along the lines of "you people aren't rational, let's change the subject". Thibaud was behaving thusly tonight, telling us we were all stupid and couldn't possibly understand France as well as he.

I don't see a point in continuing a dialog with a person who is engaged in a soliloquy.

Rick Ballard said...


Obviously this is a test. Push a little and see how much you can get, next time push a little harder and see if it brings more. It's the Arafat/PLO playbook from forty years ago. If the French buy them off this time, I have absolutely no sympathy for what is to come.

I'm not saying that it's a "muslim" thing because it is not. It's gangster's carrying Korans with the sottocapi wearing turbans. Really cracking heads would give the French some time to figure out the proper amount of baksheesh required to shut this down - for a while.

Rick Ballard said...


Do you wonder why he doesn't start his own blog? If the ideas are that great surely he'd pass Reynolds in popularity within a week or so.

chuck said...

It's the Arafat/PLO playbook from forty years ago.

Except no Arafat. I really don't think it is organized as yet or has any particular goals, rather it is just an improvisation, undoubtedly helped along by people who have talked together online or in drug deals. Just as we would be in touch if we were on the streets.

I think it is good that the riots have lasted as long as they have. Events have forced themselves upon the attention of the media and I think the political outfall will be tremendous. Events will settle, perhaps in a few days or a week or two, but the psychological impact will build for months. It will be a different world.

chuck said...

I've copped another good comment from samizdata:

Frank, I had an email from my French friends in Paris this morning, and they say it is dreadful beyond belief. Friday night, 900 cars burned. Saturday night (the 10th night running), 1,000 cars burned. They now have the Gendarmes, the army, the CRS (I think that may be special services) and the firefighters, but she says the rioting Muslims are so numerous that this is not enough. Gosh, I wish they'd just shoot them, then come back and shovel up the bodies and use them as landfill on a pig farm.

terrye said...

Sounds like Frank's friend has had enough.

Syl said...


"Oh, Syl, I just realized what your're referring to."

Okay. Thanks. Sorry for wondering otherwise. I admit I was a bit on edge yesterday for another reason. Won't go into that right now.

As for France, I really have little more to say than I've already said, or that anyone else here has said. I just don't know enough and am waiting to see what happens or doesn't happen.

The Poet is giving a speech tonite, and I'm curious as to what he will say.

Peter UK said...

An interesting take on the nature of the rioters

Peter UK said...

The objectives of arson are expanding two churches have been torched Via Wretchard

Knucklehead said...


Thanks for providing that link. It goes a very long way toward articulating the sort of thing I would have liked to have been able to articulate.

There is more to being "moslem" than adherence to the religion of Islam. It is a thoroughgoing culture with religion as only one aspect of it and not - especially not in the sense of fundamentalism - a particularly necessary aspect of the culture.

There is more to the "immigrant suburbs" than "disenfranchised, racially unaccepted, poor youth". The moslemness matters. France's Eurabia dreams and schemes were always played out at great risk and this may be a very good example of the nature of the risk.

Perhaps they can find a way to mitigate this risk and move toward something acceptable. That seems unlikely to me. If there is some precedent that suggests it is possible I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Peter UK said...


Islam is a way of life,directly handed down to Mohammed by Allah,it is God's word eternal and uncontrovertable,all other laws,cultures,social mores are rendered illegitmate.All other believers are inferior.
Even for a lapsed Muslim,this must be a heady culture to grow up in.

If I may here is a comment,I made at Belmont.

"There are constant references to the inhabitants of the Banlieus as unassimilated and that this lack of assimilation is somehow the fault of the French,racism being the prime reason.
Assimilation is a two way street,there also needs to be a desire to be assimilated.The important point to grasp is they don't want to be like us,they want to retain their culture and their religion.
Since we do not wish to adopt their culture,although the politically correct have been busy elliminating the icons of western culture so as not to offend,they are not willing to relinquish one iota of their identity.
The Banlieus were given de facto autonomy, crime spilled out from there to an extent that something had to be done.Those that control an area must also rule in such a way as to be able to co-exist with surrounding territories,otherwis it is ultimately war.

Contrary to statements that France is bad at integrating immigrants,they have been doing so successfully for centuries,negros married into the aristocracy,thousands of people of mixed parantage had prominent positions in society.
The difference was,they wanted to be French,adopt French culture and mores.Many of the Algerians despies French culture,anathemsize liberal freedoms,especially sexual,do not subscribe to the concept of democracy.There is also another deeper hatred,the bitter brutal war that France waged in Algeria has embittered generations of Algerians....this is payback time.

7:28 AM

It is worth adding that the liberal freedoms of the West are only available to males.My view is that the two extreme cultural worldview are creating a crisis amongst the young males of the second and third generation akin to shcizophrenia.
Their parents did not assimilate,but co-existed,usually too busy to partake of the western fleshpots,later generations had more time to indulge and build up a sense of self loathing.