Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Bells of Ys

Riots continue for the seventh straight day in Paris, according to the Nouvel Observateur. [The following was obtained from a Google machine translation.]

PARIS (AP) -- For the seventh consecutive night of violences as a Seine-Saint-Denis, of the small mobile groups attacked the public equipment, police force, trade and vehicle Wednesday evening in tens of communes of the department, according to the prefecture. The police officers were the target of stone jets and taken with part in the evening with the White-Mesnil, Courneuve, Clichy-Sous-Bois, in Tremblay-in-France, in Livry-Gargan and Sevran, the service of communication of the prefecture specified. Incidents were also announced to Bondy, in Le Bourget, in Villepinte, and Aulnay-under-Wood where a police station "was invested" without it being known in the immediate future if the police force succeeded in making leave the intruders. In all, forty vehicles whose two buses were set fire to, ten lit fires of dustbin, and some public equipment damaged, including two primary schools.

The map below, from Google Earth, shows part of the area affected, located in the northeastern suburbs of the French capital, near the Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget airports. [Not all of the towns whose names appear are affected. Google Earth simply shows the towns at a certain level of detail.] The suburb in which the riots first began, Clichy-sous-Bois is in the lower right hand corner of the image. The riots have spread away from the original point of origin and are on their seventh day, despite efforts by French police to quell the disturbances. At least one police station is under siege and several dozen vehicles have been burned in different neighborhoods.


The Voice of America gives a summary of how the riots were touched off.

French President Jacques Chirac appealed for calm ... 

The clashes began after two teenage boys were accidentally electrocuted last Thursday, as they tried to scale a wall ... Police denied ... pursuing them. ...the incident has triggered nightly riots between largely ethnic-Muslim youths and police. ...

France's Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has responded with a firmness that has sparked criticism from both the leftist opposition and from members of his own center-right party. In particular, Mr. Sarkozy used the word scum to describe the rioters, and this has been particularly controversial. Francois Hollande, who leads the opposition Socialist Party, told reporters Wednesday that such remarks were inappropriate.

Now the French government is striking a more conciliatory tone. After remaining silent for almost a week, President Chirac called for firmness in dealing with the rioters, but also for dialogue and respect. He also demanded an inquiry into the Thursday deaths for the two youths.

The Guardian is deeply worried about Sarkozy's forceful response to the riots and warned that a police response may be fanning the flames.

It has also raised troubling questions ... especially of Nicolas Sarkozy, chairman of the governing centre-right UMP party and the man most likely to challenge Mr Chirac for the presidency in 2007. ... His language is always forthright ... But it has been intemperate too. Using the word "scum" to describe the rioters was incendiary, especially after an earlier controversial comment about "cleaning up" crime in other urban areas. Overreaction can have grave consequences, and the minister was right to admit that a police tear-gas grenade mistakenly hit a mosque.


At least one nation has been born in the last week, that of immigrants who once colloquially referred to themselves as "Arabs" but who now prefer to call themselves "Muslims". While the riots will start to abate at some point, from exhaustion and the onset of cold weather as much as anything else, the sense of identity forged at the barricades will not so easily fade. A new meme has been born which neither Sarkozy's rubber bullets nor de Villepin's appeasement can bring under control.

The only question is whether another nation has been reborn under the events of the last week; a nation once called France. There is in a sense, something magnificent about the stirrings of identity among the Muslims in the Parisian ghettos; all the grander in comparison to the tentativeness, doubt and reflexive abasement of the officials of the Fifth Republic. The riot police, fire department and public order apparatus may have been present in the rioting banlieus, but the Idea of France was conspicuously absent. The Idea of France, not the hodgepodge of welfare benefits, Marxist obscurantism and world-weariness that that is palmed off as sophistication, is what has to present itself as an alternative to the Green Banner of Islam. Otherwise it will be a contest between something and nothing.

The Muslim uprising of the last week is a challenge to the half century of policy that has brought France to this point. Polices which deprecated European culture, frowned on a national identity, lowered the birthrate, created a welfare state, imported 'guest workers', promoted mindless multiculturalism and relied on 'international' treaties for protection -- all articles of Leftist faith -- are now facing the judgment of history; and worse, the verdict of Islam. It would be supremely ironical if the European Left, the 'vanguard of history', required for its future survival the very things it had set out to destroy.


One thing that has gotten French authorities jumpy is a report that Islamists have smuggled two MANPAD surface to air missiles into Europe. However, another French newspaper says there is nothing to worry about, as one if its sources assure them that the missiles were intended for 'non-European' targets ("Ces missiles étaient destinés à des cibles extraeuropéennes et n'ont jamais pénétré en Europe"). Readers will have noted that some of the areas convulsed by rioting in Paris are near the Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget airports.

Also Kate at Little Dead Animals asks her readers not to forget Muslim riots Denmark, which are on a much smaller scale and at lower levels of violence, but which have run into their fourth day.

Additional via Glenn Reynolds, the Brussels Journal says that events in France are repeated on a smaller but daily scale all over Europe. It quotes Theodore Dalrymple's prescient City Journal article's vision of the future: "The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict."


Blogger sam said...

French youths riot for seventh night running:

Violence broke out in Paris suburbs for the seventh night running overnight yesterday after French youths set fire to dozens of cars. The continuing unrest compounds pressure on prime minister Dominique de Villepin's government, which has promised to restore order but is battling to paper over differences between ministers over the best way to tackle the unrest.

Media attention on the unrest has been intense because it highlighted the bitter rivalry between Villepin and Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister, ahead of 2007 presidential elections, particularly after Sarkozy called the protesting youths "scum". Azouz Begag, the equal opportunities minister, has openly criticised Sarkozy while Villepin took a calculated swipe yesterday at the strong language used by the interior minister when he stressed the need to avoid stigmatising such areas.

French Youths

11/02/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Theodore Dalrymple was all over this already in 2002 (City Journal, Autumn issue):

"Where does the increase in crime come from? The geographical answer: from the public housing projects that encircle and increasingly besiege every French city or town of any size, Paris especially. In these housing projects lives an immigrant population numbering several million, from North and West Africa mostly, along with their French-born descendants and a smattering of the least successful members of the French working class...

...The average visitor gives not a moment’s thought to these Cités of Darkness as he speeds from the airport to the City of Light. But they are huge and important—and what the visitor would find there, if he bothered to go, would terrify him.

A kind of anti-society has grown up in them—a population that derives the meaning of its life from the hatred it bears for the other, “official,” society in France. This alienation, this gulf of mistrust—greater than any I have encountered anywhere else in the world, including in the black townships of South Africa during the apartheid years—is written on the faces of the young men, most of them permanently unemployed, who hang out in the pocked and potholed open spaces between their logements. When you approach to speak to them, their immobile faces betray not a flicker of recognition of your shared humanity; they make no gesture to smooth social intercourse. If you are not one of them, you are against them.

Their hatred of official France manifests itself in many ways that scar everything around them...

...There are burned-out and eviscerated carcasses of cars everywhere. Fire is now fashionable in the cités: in Les Tarterets, residents had torched and looted every store—with the exceptions of one government-subsidized supermarket and a pharmacy. The underground parking lot, charred and blackened by smoke like a vault in an urban hell, is permanently closed."

How big is this problem?

Dalrymple: "...there are now an estimated 8 or 9 million people of North and West African origin in France, twice the number in 1975—and at least 5 million of them are Muslims. Demographic projections (though projections are not predictions) suggest that their descendants will number 35 million before this century is out, more than a third of the likely total population of France."

The scale is absolutely staggering. These 5 million largely young and non-integrating Muslims in France are the equivalent of 30 million in the United States.

11/02/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

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11/02/2005 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

pork rinds for allah said...
I remember a tv special about a year ago that told the story of france and it's algerian sub-population after the bloody defeat of france in africa/algeria. It did not bode well for France, large populations of french speaking algerian islamic arabs that refused to be assimilated have been growing in size and trouble for decades. MOST all of the rise in anti-semitic acts in France have been by Palestinian and Algerian Arabs, it will spill over to the secular, in name only, christians of france.

Actually I kinda think the 1st shots for the soul of Europe have now been fired, Spain's attacks did not feel like it to me, nor the London bombings, but rather France, that supporter of radical islam (yes they were harder on burkas than england) France that has been such a pain in the ass to those who sought to stop the euroarabisation of europe, now the beast turns and bites the french hand that fed them...

Look to the rebirth of "spine" in europe, I havent counted them out yet.. Amsterdam just opened an deportation center to send north africans / arabs back to africa. The Euro's are building a fence to keep out invading hoards of swarthy southerners, all across europe the winds of change are happening, nationalism and xenaphobia is waking up...

I see that black and white scene from mary shelly's frankenstein movie... Villiagers across Europe showing up at the gates of the ghettos with pitchforks and torches to drive/burn out the Jews/Monsters, only there are not more Jews or Monsters to kill or burn, just Moslems..

Yes the hand is being overplayed, massive ethnic cleansing is about to break open wide.....

11/02/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

pork rinds for allah,

I think the "spine" will be a long time in coming because recent events in Paris are a condemnation of policies at the foundation of established European political parties. There's a lot of money -- billions and billions -- invested in agendas which now turn out to be poison. Think of the reputations, academic departments, newspapers, lecture circuit engagements, films, books, think tanks, etc that would have to admit that they were founded not only on a mistake, but a lie.

I don't doubt that the "spine" will eventually emerge, but only after the corpulence of political incorrectness has been melted off by the intense fires of the European intifada.

11/02/2005 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Yes, excellent link Meme Chose, something I refer to often. It was also the first thing I thought of when reading Wretchard's essay.

I must say this entire episode fascinates me. I feel as if we are watching a tragedy unfold in slow motion. I feel like a captive audience to a drama where the ending is intimated throughout yet I still gasp and lean forward when the big things happen.

Part of the suspense is due to the unspoken question that hovers over all of this, a question asked here many times, a question put forth today by Andy McCarthy in his NRO essay:

At roughly the same time as last week's contrasting Ramadan speeches from Rice and Ahmadinejad, the imam of Mecca's Grand Mosque, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, was in Dubai being honored by his fellow Muslims with the Islamic Personality of the Year Award. As Don Feder observes, it was not long ago that Al-Sudais was heard praying "that Allah would 'terminate' the Jews, who he benevolently called 'the scum of humanity, the rats of the world, prophet killers ... pigs and monkeys' (the latter comes from the Koran). On other occasions Al-Sudais referred to Jews as 'evil,' a 'continuum of deceit,' 'tyrannical' and 'treacherous.'"

In the Muslim ghettoes of democratic Europe, the likes of Al-Sudais are far more influential than Locke or Burke or Montesquieu. Nonetheless, in sorting out the militants from the moderates, we've made a taboo of the obvious question: Is there something about Islam?

I lean towards the position that Islam can evolve, can become a stabilizing, personal faith and a force for good, and lose its fascistic undercurrents. I am no longer sure it will do so in time.

I also never thought I would say this with sincerity, but Viva la France. I hope they find themselves before it's too late.

11/02/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/02/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Aristides said:

"I must say this entire episode fascinates me. I feel as if we are watching a tragedy unfold in slow motion."

I agree. For me these past few days have been... eerie. By the second day I noted that much of the media's reporting of this was conspicuously lacking in any details as to the demographics of the riots; it was as if the media was attempting to obscure something. But as Wretchard pointed out at 9:28 pm:

"There's a lot of money -- billions and billions -- invested in agendas which now turn out to be poison. Think of the reputations, academic departments, newspapers, lecture circuit engagements, films, books, think tanks, etc that would have to admit that they were founded not only on a mistake, but a lie."

In several previous posts and comments, Wretchard has expressed the view that the Europe will not remain silent and spineless forever, but the delay in waking would likely provoke a horrific response.

This is a terrible tragedy that is begetting what I fear will be a dramatically worse tragedy. 1 week shy of the 67th anniversay of a night in Germany.

11/02/2005 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

A Reuters report on a CNN website leads off, interestingly, with the promise of French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy to determine how a police tear gas cannister inadvertantly rebounded against a MOSQUE.

[note to Sarkozy: Could it possibly be that since Police fired a tear gas grenade in the direction of a crowd of Muslims busy trying to dismantle FRANCE, and because it was a Muslim neighborhood, a Mosque was more or less inevitably involved in the fracas?]

During the time we in America have been so preoccupied with the indictment of Lewis Libby and the Left’s accusations of that Bush lied to fool the country into making war on a Religion of Peace, rioting Muslims have ALSO spent the last four days trashing a commercial Mall in Århus, Denmark. This is, you may recall, almost precisely the anniversary of the murder by a militant Muslim of Theo Van Gogh in Holland. At this point, even after four days of rioting, the news is not showing up in a google search except for blogs. The Mainstream ALLEGED news organizations either are not paying attention, or they have chosen to ignore the Denmark riots.

Two blogs have described the Århus rioting, Free Republic and Small Dead Animals, the Roadkill Diaries, which evidently received email translations or descriptions from Denmark’s domestic Danish-language press.

I predict diminishing returns on investment, in the self-abasement gambit.

I've said it before: the Left are like so many oysters circulating petitions against Chowder.

11/02/2005 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wretchard writes: Think of the reputations, academic departments, newspapers, lecture circuit engagements, films, books, think tanks, etc that would have to admit that they were founded not only on a mistake, but a lie.

Only they weren't founded on a mistake, or a lie. They were founded on corruption. EVERYONE in the academic departments, the newspapers, the lecture circuits, the film studios, the book publishers, the think tanks, in short, EVERYONE in Eurabia knows perfectly well who's paying for their hire.

11/03/2005 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Any thoughts on the chances that the European response to these events will be a return to facism?

I have a hard time seeing Europe as it is avoiding either Islamism or Facism. I am not sure that a third way is possible there, and that really worries me.

11/03/2005 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger demosophist said...

Saw a lecture last night by Frank Fukuyama in which he discussed the impact of the "politics of identity," and kept making the point that Islamism was a european-induced phenomenon. I'm not sure I caught his remedy, though he does think that the "European identity" is a dead duck, and new generations will be more nationalist than in the past.

Frank insists on looking at the world through Hegel's eyes, which gives him both unique insight and irresolvable dilemmas. He laments that Lockean Liberalism left a hole, in the form of a response to group identity and sovereignty, that makes it especially vulnerable now. But it seems to me that the Founders knew perfectly well whan ethnically-derived group sovereignty was all about, and they didn't neglect it so much as excise it. I always wondered at the Madisonian phrase "cross-cutting alliances" because it seemed to me that alliances would bind, not cut. So, what is it that was being cut by these bonds? Factional (group) identity. For instance, one such group that was repeatedly assimilated in US history was the Jews, who often lost a Jewish identity within two generations of a new immigrant wave. Why do assimilated groups need special sovereignty and recognition, as long as their negative rights are maintained as individual practitioners?

It seems to me that what has emerged in europe is the very same thing that doomed its early democratic stirrings: factionalism. And while it's true that humans are bound to find identity in groups it doesn't necessarily follow that giving these groups sovereignty is the apprpriate way to handle the impulse. The work and research of of Eli Berman, in fact, argues that such treatment radicalizes them.

Somehow the sovereignty right has to be relative, and tied to the willingness of the group to adopt the larger liberal institutional norms that preserve civil order. What this demands is a conscious and deliberate Madisonianism, of the sort that Japan used in the last century to tame its Samurai class, turning them from war to business. That's also, ironically, the choice that the Calvinists were compelled to make (to their own advantage) once their attempts to impose Providence under Cromwell had failed.

The problem is, the reform that these masses of Islamists need most, to make that transition, is the one they resent the most: the equality of women.

11/03/2005 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger neo-neocon said...

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11/03/2005 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger neo-neocon said...

It is indeed interesting (although not at all unusual) how this story is being reported in the American MSM: in a hushed manner, without a lot of identifying details that the reader could use to understand what is happening. There's been very little in-depth coverage featuring the background to a story which has been brewing for decades.

The Dalrymple article appeared in 2002, and is very thorough and thoughtful, but I wonder how many other than those in the blogosphere read it? I wrote a post yesterday on the riots which attempted to take an in-depth look at what was going on, and I based it on a combination of the Dalrymple article and one by Fukuyama which appeared in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. It seems that there are many internal wars being fought in France at the moment besides the riots themselves. One of them is the war between the leftists and the "cowboys" such as Sarkozy, another is the war within France for a national identity. Here's the link to my post, entitled "While Europe Slept."

11/03/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I’ve been busy lately and rarely turn to the MSM for information… mostly as background chatter as I dress in the morning… but I was struck by the Fox news reporting that failed to mention the ethnicity of the rioters, as if the blond hair blue eyed youth had occasion to go berserk on their own unprovoked volition. I am heartened to know that the appeasers will lose much of their political clout… how could they moralize the rest of the world when there own dark secrets are stinking up the neighborhood?

11/03/2005 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

.......1 week shy of the 67th anniversay of a night in Germany.

James, that sent shivers down my spine........................

Last i checked the jews did not riot in the streets, burning and looting the majority population's autos, shops and electronic wares.

11/03/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I see one of two outcomes in Europe, not just France, and they relate directly to Wretchard's response:

I don't doubt that the "spine" will eventually emerge, but only after the corpulence of political incorrectness has been melted off by the intense fires of the European intifada.

The first is that France and other countries in Europe actually capitulate and become Islamic states, refusing to stem the influx of Arabs and other quantifiably problematic immigrant groups, and expel those that preach hatred and riot, prior to their populations reaching a critical mass. This will happen if the European elite refuse to accept that multiculturalism cannot bring the utopia they so desire and, rather than admit their colossal failure, choose to live under Muslim rule.

The second is that inate survival instincts will overwhelm any semblance of political correctness at all levels of non-Islamic French society and the government will introduce measures to protect the survival of the country. And the citizenry will support them. It is hard to envision what such a reversal would look like, but in my mind's eye I see the declaration of Martial Law and a bloodless ethnic cleansing: the deportation of all Muslims and the outlawing of the religion.

11/03/2005 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Warwick said...

Mark Steyn had a very good point that is particularly a propos now.

It was that when you end up with political elites that shove PC idiocy down your throats, deeming every important issue out of the bounds of polite conversation, that the population will turn to the extemes.

In other words, since the centre-left and centre-right parties have deemed everything from immigration to the welfare state off limits, extreme right/left parties will gain power. Jean Marie Le Pen must be happy this last week.

The rest of us should be shaking.

Time to dust off the domino theory and update it for Europe. I forsee a lot of xenophobic reaction and it's coming to a European (former) democracy near you...

Multiculturalism has failed. Without a common culture, you have Yugoslavia. Look what happened there.

11/03/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

Thirty to forty-five years ago in Britain, there were warnings that precisely what Derbyshire reports would sound the knell of Britain's traditional, civilized society. Best characterized as collectivist Statism, the religion of PCBS sank fangs into a feckless, lackadaisical polity which now walks zombie-like to some final, fatal denouement.

It is not impossible that an Aryan Nation sensibility might flare up, with two alternatve outcomes: Either a Hutu vs. Watusi slaughter as in Rwanda, or a thorough expulsion of anyone of non-Anglo Saxon heritage, regardless of legal niceties or any other traditional restraint. In the Vende, during France's revolution, masses of opposing citizens were herded into specially-constructed barges, which were then sealed and sunk. End of problem, plus the organic residues made good fertilizer.

Do not assume that even cultures of long-standing civility and genteel habits will not howl as wolfs when, suddenly, something snaps and it is "us or them." As Derbyshire makes plain, the worst terrorists go wobbly when their own parents and family face retaliation. If some Wahabist takes out Notre Dame tomorrow, would you be surprised to see the Black Stone of the Ka'aba pulverized to dust, with Mecca and Medina following? Surely, Allah would be very upset. But where has either El Akbar or his putative prophet been hiding in the meantime?
Once the West gets real, it's bedtime for bonzo-mullahdom. Let's just hope it doesn't come to that.

11/03/2005 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger J West said...

Sadly, liberalism with all it's heartfelt Disney qualities, has brought upon us a plague of rot from the Islamic world that will be the on-going challenge of the 21st century.

Our choice is fairly simple, deport all Muslims and contain them to their own despotic countries, where they can continue to murder each other, (their prime avocation) or kill them all where they stand.

It's unlikely that anyone will condone the killing scenario, but the deportation is doable.

We must overthrow political correctness the save our assess while we can. WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO LIVE ALONG SIDE OF THEM.

If not, the next big shot at ridding the planet of this vermin will be the eventual arrival of a large comet or asteroid hitting this blue ball in space.

Wonder what will arise out of those ashes. We were a bit better than the dinosaurs. (that's in our own opinion of course). I hope what is next will be a bit better than us.

WOMEN!!! wake up, it's you that has the most to lose if these scummers make progress in the Western World.

Multi cultrualism has failed miserably as I predicted it would many years ago. How do you think we all wound up behind our own borders in the first place. How many times must we re-learn the lessons of ...

"likes attract" Common Culture makes a viable society. Even the regional difference in our own Canada will eventually pull us apart and at least three new countries (with common values) will emerge. Wait and see.

Do I sound angry? I am .... I liked my society and my culture and it's been changed so I barely recognize any of it. And that's only the start of it.

11/03/2005 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

What's so different about this and our own USA, except we're in a quietude now, and they're in a nova state?

For decades we've lived with the fact of certain areas where grocery stores and all other places of business need to operate behind medieval-style bars and cages. Drive through any big city in America, and you see evidence in bulletproof glass and razorwire that we accept incipient violence in our midst.

Why is that? If every man is free and equal, equally responsible and free to be good, why are all of our cities filled with decades-long ongoing "insurrections" of crime that require normal citizens to live in a state of permanent siege?

11/03/2005 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

sirius_sir said...
Last i checked the jews did not riot in the streets, burning and looting the majority population's autos, shops and electronic wares.

pork rinds, the reference to Kristallnach recalled the Nazis pretext of disorder to enact a pogrom on the Jews.

My shivers were caused by the realization of how easily the present disturbance in and around Paris could be put to nefarious political purpose.

But that could never happen, right?

I misunderstood, i read it as you were comparing that night of broken glass and what happened to the jews to the fact that moslems in france were "jews" of today (minority) whereas I see the moslems of today that celebrate the burning of jewish temples, monuments, grave stones and yes people... the proto nazis of tomorrow

11/03/2005 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris, by Theodore Dalrymple, 2002.

11/04/2005 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Grumpy Old Man said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/04/2005 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Grumpy Old Man said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/04/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Grumpy Old Man said...

Having trouble with the link.

The time of that rough beast, the National Front may have come round at last.

11/04/2005 02:12:00 PM  

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