When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

03 November 2005

The riots in France

You know, I remember when "Paris is Burning" was nothing more than a really good documentary about drag queens.

For the seventh night in a row, the heavily Muslim/North-African banlieues of Paris have been riven by violence and clashes with police.

[Coverage: BBC (includes audio/video links), Associated Press (via ABC News.)]

"Youth" (I prefer French Interior Minister Sarkozy's terms, "thugs" and/or "scum") have burned cars, thrown rocks (and shot at) police, and created general mayhem for a solid week.

Naturally, the leaders of the region are bending over backwards to excuse and explain away their behavior:

The violence, concentrated in neighborhoods with large African and Muslim populations, has highlighted the difficulties many European nations face with immigrant communities feeling marginalized and restive, cut off from the continent's prosperity and, for some extremists, its values, too.

"They have no work. They have nothing to do. Put yourself in their place," said Abderrahmane Bouhout, president of the Clichy-sous-Bois mosque, where a tear gas grenade exploded Sunday evening. Local youths suspected a police attack, and authorities are investigating.


The French have been quick to criticize (and lecture) America for our alleged mistreatment of Muslims. With the northern suburbs of their capital city in flames all around them, I for one now await their instructive response to the enemy in their midst.

Chap has a good (brief) post in which he posts an excerpt from (and link to the full text of) a 2002 City Journal article by Theodore Dalrymple that's well worth reading.

Related: "The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris" (Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal, Autumn 2002.)

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