Update! New York Times (Almost) Uses M Word!

Saturday, November 05, 2005
Not on the front page, but again in the International section of The New York Times, we read of the ninth night of rioting in the banlieues around Paris, violence that is speading now to other French cities.

The reporter, Craig S. Smith, includes this interesting sentence:

France's foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, warned Thursday that France risked losing the integration battle in immigrant neighborhoods to radicalization of religious-based movements (diplomatic code for Islamic extremism).

Here we are given a brief lesson in semiotics: we learn that "religious-based movements" (note the plural) is "diplomatic code for Islamic extremism." But our reporter, having come so close to speaking truth to readers, immediately backs away from this incendiary gesture by writing, in the next paragraph:

For now, the violence seems to have been the work of unfocused teenagers and young adults without a clear political agenda.


Another noteworthy feature of this article is its fleshing out of what appears to be the birth of a meme, namely, that the violence in the banlieues somehow resulted from Sarko's (Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy's) use of "blunt" language:

The violence has isolated the country's tough-talking, anticrime interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, whom some people blame for having worsened the situation with his blunt statements about "cleaning out" the "thugs" from those neighborhoods.


"It's a game that has been started between the youth and Sarkozy," said a French-Algerian man wearing Chanel sunglasses outside Aulnay's mosque, in a converted warehouse. He would give his name only as Nabil. "Until he quits," he said, "it's not going to get better."

Ah, yes! Get rid of Sarkozy, eschew use of "blunt" language... that should pour oil on these troubled waters.

Of course, there has to be some reciprocity here, and if Sarko cleans up his act, he, and we, should certainly expect the cries of "B***e les flics" to cease as well.


flenser said...

If people who burn cars and buildings, and throw rocks (and shoot bullets) at police are not "thugs", then the word no longer has meaning and should be dropped from the English language.

David Thomson said...

“For now, the violence seems to have been the work of unfocused teenagers and young adults without a clear political agenda.”

This is actually half true. I doubt very much if these young males are advancing a well thought out program. Their anger is indeed somewhat “unfocused.” Nonetheless, we do know this: they categorically reject France’s secular culture. These Muslims prefer to remain outsiders. There is no working compromise possible between them and the indigenous French population.

The situation seems utterly hopeless. France is committed to socialism. This means that its economy is incapable of serious growth. The Muslim males will likely never obtain serious employment. They are doomed to remain on the public dole.

ambisinistral said...

The NYT is not in the lead on this story, European media is, and the Times will have to tag along. If the Europeans are frightened enough by all this the tenor of reporting may change ever so slightly.

Doe example, today Al Reuters is running a piece called Paris seeks "hidden hands" in riots.

Some of the quotes from it:


Fouzi Guendouz doesn't agree. "I don't think that's the real reason. It was just an excuse for kids to trash things," said Guendouz, 20, a French-born business student of Algerian origin. "The politicians blame it on Islamists because the French are afraid of this religion. They think Islam equals bin Laden."

"Whoever knows who's behind this should come here and say it openly," shouted a defiant man in a Muslim prayer cap. "The problem is there's nothing for youths to do here."

"All the politicians care about are laws for homosexuals and all those immoral things," he fumed. "They are against headscarves, against beards and against the mosques."

"I'm sure there are drug dealers and Islamic radicals at work," said a middle-aged woman who requested anonymity. "Drugs are everywhere. They've arrested Islamic radicals nearby here."


This will get tangled up in politics all across the Continent. We don't know the polling of the French public's attitudes, but if fear of Moslem immigrants is significantly on the rise those in power, if they wanyt to remain in power, are going to have to do more than try to paper it over with accounts of "youths" rioting.

terrye said...

I have heard other references to the drug culture in Muslim neighborhoods in Europe.

I wonder if this is true, or urban legend.

Peter UK said...

The older members of a town near where I live have started to clamp down on the drug dealing by some of the Muslim community.
If it were mentioned that a young kid with a top of the range Beamer lived in a cheap two up two down terraced house,the reaction used to be,"Well he has probably worked for it" The fact remains that the local heroin trade here is run by the immigrants from the Indian subcontinent,who coincidentally attend mosque.

Syl said...

I don't think Islamists are behind this myself. They are there, proselytizing and converting, but I don't think they invoked the riots.

But, other than enforcing law and order, which it seems France is hesitant to do, there is nothing to be done except through community leaders: sheiks and clerics etc.

So things may quiet down, but the simmering anger is enough to radicalize more and more of the youth.

And then what? It's way too late for France to change its ways, even if they had any desire to do so. They brought these people over to do manufacturing jobs a couple decades ago. The jobs died out but the immigrants kept coming.

And it's not just that the immigrants want to be separate, it's that France wanted them to be separate. Everybody gets their wish.

I just don't see a way out.

Jamie Irons said...


You write:

I don't think Islamists are behind this myself. They are there, proselytizing and converting, but I don't think they invoked the riots....

It's not that I disagree with what you're saying here, but take a look at Belmont Club's post today starting at "The Fall of France":

Once in France


Peter UK said...

It is the proselytizing and converting which creates a climate where conflict is inevitable.
There is a report on education in French scools which indicate that separatism is being inculcated by the Muslim community itself.
give me a child until it is seven

vnjagvet said...

Yeah, he called them names after they rioted so they kept rioting. Yeah, that's the ticket. It's the name calling and the law enforcement. Imagine, trying to quell riots. How passe'

chuck said...

Events are outrunning the NY Times. So what's new, eh? Anyway, the flaccid response of the French has pretty much guaranteed that trouble will continue to spread, setting the stage for a violent confrontation somewhere down the road. Does the French government remind anyone else of the dithering and indecision that marked the response of Blanco and Nagin to Katrina? Too little, too late, and the French government is running in circles.

I have thought that France was pre-revolutionary for some time. Not because of the Muslim problem, but because the hold the unions have over spending and employment make it impossible to deal with unemployment, to enhance economic growth, or provide the money for the welfare state. The situation reminds me of that back in 1789 when similar circumstances obtained. So my argument is by analogy. Now I will get the chance to see if it is valid.

RogerA said...

I am with Syl on this one--not sure it strictly a muslim issue; but I simply dont know enough about the situation facing the north african emigrees to comment at all.

What disturbs me is the total lack of coverage--this is (it seems to me) a major event that has gone unreported and unanalyzed by the MSM--the most interesting question to me is why? I simply dont give a fig for what happens to the frogs-(oops politically incorrect term for frenchies)--but it does seem to me that whatever the socio-economic considerations that face a whole hell of a lot of arabs (arabs in the grand sense of islamic arabic speaking folk), with the ensuing potentional of enlisting these folk in a jihad
should scare the beejezuz out of policy makers.

That said--why the strange silence from the MSM? seems to me several things: (1) this is a repudiation of the European model of state socialism--a system that has totally failed to bring these dispossed folk into the mainstream (2) this is a repudiation of multiculturalism--no further explanation required (3) this is a repudiation of the abject of failure of the French governmental system, which, of course opposed the American initiative in Iraq--cant critizize the French, ya know--and (5) these riots simply cannot be explained in the MSM world view--they cant cover it because they simply dont understand it.

RogerA said...

AND, by god--if I could count from one to five I would not have screwed up my last paragraph! I still stand with Terrye: Preview is for wusses

Peter UK said...

In the UK there is an unholy alliance between the hard left and militant Islam,the Socialist Workers Party and the Muslim Association of Britain.
I know there are similar groupings in the US,it would be interesting to see if the same situation obtains in France,which has a very powerful left wing.
Ine respect to the pre-revolutionary theory,it appears to me that much of the world is at this stage.The Muslims have been chosen as the new proletarian storm troops to bring down capitalism,far fetched? Not when you regard the ground work done by Gramscian Marxists to destroy the existing culture of the West.A deed so well executed that bin Laden deemed us weakened enough to attack.

Rick Ballard said...

I wonder if future history books will refer to this as "an important step in the Left Bank becoming the West Bank".

Tomorrow's Telegraph appears to suffer from the same affliction regarding the dreaded "M" word.

Peter UK said...

There are those who believe that Europe has been aiding an abetting its own demise, Melanie Phillips

vnjagvet said...


I think it is mostly 5. This is so contrary to the received wisdom of leftish elite thought that the talking points are not up yet.

Chomsky hasn't pronounced his verdict. Nor have the usual suspects who are so negatively vocal when the Bush administration announces an initiative to try to counter violence somewhere in the world.

Will the NYT News of the Week, Krugman, Kristoff, Friedman or Newsweek , Isikoff or Bill Moyers have the answers that can be purveyed as the latest orthodoxy? How about the BBC, London Times, Le Figaro, etc., etc.?

Frankly if riots for any reason lasted for this long in any major U.S. city, all of those folks would have easy answers which would be echoed throughout the world press.

Their message: A sure sign of the failure of the American Dream. All the result of the ill-fated policies of the evil Bush and his neocon disciples.

Peter UK said...

At least the manage to call it this,Gangs of youths were once again on the rampage across France last night as the guerilla warfare,

chuck said...


I cast my vote for #4, nee #5. I must admit that I haven't the slightest clue how the liberal pundits will deal with this besides invoking the magic mantra of racism and poverty. The latter undercut, of course, by the French social contract. I doubt they are capable of escaping the cheap arguments of materialism.

Peter, the political situation here is quite different from that in Brittain. Outside the liberal ghettos of the big cities, the country ranges from dark red to light pink and purple, in the good sense of red, of course. I might be somewhat misled by living in the reddest of red states, but there are large swathes of the country to whom such as the SWP are just a collection of loons. Most wouldn't have the slightest clue who the SWP are or give a damn. Furthermore, NPR is a faint shadow of the evil BBC. So I think we will survive, albeit weakened and crippled.

Rick Ballard said...


Saw that. I also noted with glee the remark concerning the "North Africans" - "funny - you don't look Negroid" - not quite reaching the French promised liberte', fraternite', equalite' on the same level as the 'French' French.

Brits never forget the real enemy. Being so damned close helps, of course. Although they are isolated on the continent.

Peter UK said...

Autin Bay notes that attacke on french Jews are on the

Peter UK said...

One would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh,which is difficult whilst keeping a stiff upper lip.
But all this is very gratifying in the light of the odious comments by Chirac and Villepin about the failure of the British model,but especially this,
War is not the way

Peter UK said...

There are times when schadenfreude is simply not enough.
the French take on Katrina via Tim Blair

ambisinistral said...

What I'm noticing is there always seems to be mention of schools, including preschools, getting burnt. Why would rampaging, angry youth concentrate so much on burning elementary and preschools?

Anybody elese get the feeling they know what type of schools are going to be called for to replace them?

Syl said...

Well, what RogerA says.

Re-read the Dalrymple article, Barbarians at the Gates, to understand the French part of the equation.

There is racism and poverty involved. Racism in the that these French aren't 'real' French. And the simmering resentment only needs a trigger to boil over (what a cliche) and that happened a few days ago.

It doesn't need any further explanation than that. Really.

However the results of the unrest and the underlying resentment can be a grave danger to the rest of France and to the immigrant population itself.

The reaction to being walled off, almost literally, from the rest of France, cannot be appeased by breaking down the wall because, unlike other cultures, the youths of this population want to remain separate.

Their self-identity is Islam and sharia. So, if they get their way, and I don't see an alternative, little Talibans will pop up in various communities. And this will mean further repression of the immigrants. This is the danger to themselves.

The danger to the rest of France is the radicals who will find sympathy among these disaffected youths, and the violence will become more specifically targetted to 'gain more territory' so to speak. An attempt to break down the society and culture of the French themselves.

And that will move beyond France. Not enough immigrant radicals trekked to Iraq to never return. It only takes a few to convert others.

I don't see any good outcome.

Peter UK said...

The problem is that the North Africans don't want to be French,they want total cultural autonomy whilst living in France,it is called colonialism.Unfortunately these are not self sufficient colonies.
To understand what is happening we have to discard all the old social science dogma that has been inflicted by the left and see it in the eternal terms of human expansion.
Those in the banlieus have demanded the police withdraw,that their own "big brothers" and Imams take control.There is enforced Islamisation in schools where there are large immigrant numbers of pupils.Please see my 3:29 link.This is not a new phenomenon it has gradually been building up for decades.
Rather than wring our hands over racism,we should consider the fact that there is a community demanding apartheid.

Syl said...


I'm not 'wringing my hands' over racism, just using it as an explanation. It is a result of multiculturalism and France, unlike Britain, doesn't see its citizens whose origins are Algeria, say, as truly French.

Both sides of the wall sought apartheid. One side, inadvertently as a result of policy and long held cultural identity, the other purposefully because of their cultural religious identity.

And I don't see much hope for the wall coming down.

Knucklehead said...


Rather than wring our hands over racism,we should consider the fact that there is a community demanding apartheid.

If there weren't a racist bone in the French social body the problem wouldn't be solved (its too late to solve it the way it should have been solved - by reducing French racism).

As you point out, what the rioters/insurgents want is not an end to French racism - they want apartheid. Therein lies a key, if not THE key, distinction between this series of riots and the ones seen in other western (particularly US) cities over the past 40 or so

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

When I used the term "wringing our hands2 I did not mean you personally,sorry if you got that impression,but the general, "We are all guilty because someone else has failed",cry peccavi which hovers over liberalism like a foetid miasma.

What is racism,judged by modern metrics, King Harold of the Saxons or Sitting Bull would be judged racist.
In each case a developed culture came into contact with another,equally developed culture.The latter case,in simplistic terms,they wanted you to keep off their hunting ground and you didn't want to live the life of a nomad in teepees.
As in all assimilations, something has to give,whoever has the strongest most potent culture will dominate.Crude and brutal,but that is nature.