Paris/France : Links from the Times

Thursday, November 03, 2005
Large police presence halts violence. Contains the amazing statistic that 28,000 cars have been burned this year. No wonder Sarkozy can sell a crackdown. He sounds like the second coming of Giuliani.

The politics: Villepin vs Sarkozy. My own gut feeling is that Sarkozy is going to come out ahead on this. Even in the banlieu. Nobody appreciates a bunch of out-of-control teenagers running around burning up their cars.


ambisinistral said...

"Youths from the largely Muslim ghettos"


Seriously, I wonder why it took so long to put in a significant police presense to control the situation? In the US the National Guard would have been rolling in by day two.

jedrury said...

Sarkozy's tough talk appeal to the right will bear fruit with the voters. Sarkozy knows there is no argument in defense of violence that can appeal to the average French voter.

De Villepin's "unFrench" comment shows a non-political appeal to the intellectuals; it demonstates his political immaturity. It matters not what Chirac says, he is hopefully past history.

Knucklehead said...


Please, dude. Can't we settle on "immigrant suburbs" or "difficult neighborhoods"?

In The Bells of Ys 2, Wretchard, among the points made in his two posts on the riots topic, adds this

More reading has made me more familiar with the purely 'social' aspects of the Parisian rioting, i.e. hidden French racism, the failure of its economy to efficiently create jobs, etc. Juan Cole, for example, sees events in Paris as a simple "race riot". Others see it as the consequence of the French social model. From that point of view, the "Islamic" aspects are purely coincidental or of minor importance in comparison to the 'real' causes.

One argument for derogating the Islamic factor has been the absence, so far, of any direct link to terrorist masterminds. It could be counter-argued that Islam figures more broadly by fostering a sense of apartness or entitlement, etc. which then provokes the resented discrimination. I'll leave these caveats as they are for the readers to think about, although I am personally unpersuaded that Islamic cultural factors are irrelevant to the disturbances in France.

He elaborates upon this in the comments.

But there is, it seems to me, something more at work here. Riots are certainly not unheard of events in modern western cities. We've had our share here in the US. What seems very unusual, if not unique, in this case is the tenacity of the rioting.

This has gone on for a week and has happened in at least one other country. The rioters (or at least some people interviewed as rioters) seem to have been waiting for a "provocation" they knew would happen (a provocation directly related, BTW, to Islam). The sustained nature as well as the, at least in the Danish case, seemingly pre-planned actions weigh against any argument that these are nothing more than the spontaneous actions of the disenfranchised poor.

There are "leaders" involved in this and leaders, bad ones or otherwise, always have some form of vision they are persuing. To suggest that the leadership is not connected with the "muslimness" of the areas seems to stretch credulity.

jedrury said...

Is it not possible that this alienation argument is a fiction created by the media? I heard it on the Newshour tonight, it is echoed on the networks.

I am unconvinced that the French voters cares; they want the violence to end and if Sarkozy can pull it off with a massive police presence, he will triumph in this confrontation with DeVillepin and Chirac. Remember the circumstances of Chirac holding office: he is not in office because the French
love him, they simply hated Le Pen more in the last election.

chuck said...

What seems very unusual, if not unique, in this case is the tenacity of the rioting.

And yet the actual number of participants seems relatively small. Or a least that is the impression I get from the reports. We all know how *that* can be manipulated. But even if there were more involved, I think the main factor in the long duration was simply the lack of adequate numbers of police and a seeming hesitance to employ them.

Peter UK said...

If one examines the historical record,for example 1848 "The Year of Revolutions" and subsequent revolutioary eras,there may be,and probably are conspiracies,but in the main it is in the Zeitgeist.
Insurection is in the air,we live in interesting times my friends.

ambisinistral said...

No Pasaran has interesting little tidbits here and there.

In an item called More media censorship on the way he mentions, "The last two days have given free reign to images of violent vulgarity spouting youths, vowing vengeance on French society, along with a new media figure -- the djellaba garbed neighborhood mediators who claim they will not deal with Sarkozy."

That seems to imply, even if the riots spontaneously started, there are community figures interested in stringing them out.

He also has an item called French Intifada: le téléphone arabe passe par les blogs about people blogging from the ghe--- er, Suburbs of Unmentionable Ethnicity, which are full of venom towards the cops and, as he puts is, "of course the usual rubbish about Allah and paradise and the like."

Rick Ballard said...

The French have been paying protection money to Muslims for many, many years. They have euchured the Eunuchs into paying off the Palis for as long as I can remember. Extortion works very well on the French and accommodation seems to be most French politicians method of choice for dealing with any type of confrontation.

Why wouldn't the Muslim thugs prefer to deal with the known white feather whore deVillepin than an unknown such as Sarkozy? Sarkozy might still have a remnant of a spine. A little bit more of this and the French people - who possess more spine than any of the toads they elect to office - will turn to LePen for a qualitatively difference response.

It would be healthy for all of Europe if they did. The tranzi multicultis are running out of time faster than I had ever thought they would.

terrye said...

Perhaps the Europeans are getting to that enough is enough place.

The French are not cowards, they are just more interested in taking care of themselves than they are in fighting for a principle.

What Frenchman ended WW2 defending the Vichy by saying that Paris had not been bombed?

But now this is stupid. Paris is burning. Nobody is going to put up with this kind of out of control violence for any length of time.

From what I hear Gitmo is the Ritz compared to a French prison.

Lucky for the 'they just happen to be Muslim' rioters that Devils Island is no longer in operaion.

Eric Blair said...

And yet, it appears that no one has been killed in this rioting, which I find curious.

The last time there was a 'race' riot in the US, (I thinking back to the Rodney King riots here) several people got killed.

So, what's up with that? Are the police timid? Are the rioters timid? What is going on there?

chuck said...

So, what's up with that? Are the police timid? Are the rioters timid? What is going on there?

Yep, I noticed that too. I suspect that folks are just feeling each other out and not ready to get into real battle. So things could just peter out for a while, or someone could get killed, the ice would be broken, and all heck could break loose. Or maybe someone will back down -- most likely the French government -- and next time will be worse.

Heck, I don't know. I don't think anyone does. The only thing for sure is that things won't be solved anytime soon.

ambisinistral said...

According to the Times Online, rather than the riots being under control, yesterday was the worst night of rioting. They also reported incidents in three other French towns, Dijon, Rouen and Marseille.

The word Moslem never appears in the article, but for some oddball reason they report, "hopes that Eid-ul-Fitr, the festivities ending the fasting month of Ramadan, would calm the unrest".

chuck said...

From the Times article:

According to one report, a disabled woman was doused in petrol and set on fire when she was unable to escape a bus under attack in the northern suburb of Sevran. She was rescued by the driver and is being treated for severe burns, according to state prosecutors.

True? Who knows. But such stories are bound to become urban legends. Looks like the lines of demarcation are going to be hardening.

Knucklehead said...

Here's a "five years later" PBS piece on the 1992 "Rodney King" riots in LA which puts the number killed at 55 and injured at 2,000 over the three days of rioting.

The Watts riots of '65 lasted some five days and, according to this Wapo 40 Year Anniversay article killed 34 and hospitalized 1,000. Same article pegs the numbers for the '67 Detroit riots at 43 deaths.

When viewed against these riots the Paris ones seem a bit "tame".

Interestingly, the WaPo article (by a John McWhorter) has a look at this:

The conventional wisdom at the time was that blacks were rebelling against the conditions they were forced to live in.

He goes on to provide the stats that support the CW, and yet...

But even so, there were a few too many things about the Watts riot and the later ones that did not quite make sense if they were to be seen as the outcome of injustice.

McWhorter continues on to describe some of those things which just don't quite add up which leads him to:

But political rebellion always leaves in its wake people who are moved more by the sheer theatrics of acting up than by the actual goals of the protest....

The idea that rebellion for its own sake was the soul of black authenticity began with some charismatic figures like Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, but soon imprinted a new generation of black artists and intellectuals.

Upon which he expands throughout the remainder of the piece.

I have no idea if or how this relates to the Paris riots.