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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Legitimizing Anarchy

Youths? Justifiable anger? After eleven days of violence and property destruction, it’s getting very hard to distinguish between these juveniles run amok, and any other criminals. Whatever legitimacy the earlier riots outside Paris may have had, it’s gone now.

Respect and apologies? I can see that might have been the point a week ago, but now they’re simply baiting the police and spoiling for a fight. And they’ve got their first fatality now…

Molly Moore with the Washington Post says these kids are “fighting for recognition”. C’mon, Molly. Give us a break. Eleven days of pointless destruction, peppered with setting disabled people on fire and hurting 13-month old babies is a fight for recognition? The only thing I recognize at this point is that a fair number of “youth” in France are juvenile delinquents, media hounds and copycats.

These punks have no goals. Possibly they never did, but that’s hard to judge in the midst of the chaos. Just at the moment, it looks very much like violence for its own sake. Anarchy. About the only thing that might make it worse is if the people who organized the make-shift bomb-factory (and masks!) have leadership skills to go along with their social dysfunctionality.

Amazingly (to me), it’s the BBC who has the most clear-eyed analysis of the insanity, and I agree with their assessment. The situation looks very grim, and it’s being compounded by the media. Hugh Schofield wrote,

The universal press response - both national and international, left and right - has been to point out how the French model of integration has failed, and how the suburbs have become exploding cauldrons.
It’s time to stop legitimizing the actions of these out-of-control brats and shut it down over there. Whatever their problems, this is not a solution.


  • At 9:26 AM, Blogger westrom said;

    unfortunately, the BBC is right. I have lived in france as a foreign student and i can attest to this fact: french people hate foreigners. it's the root cause of all this. not that this kind of violence is justified though, same as beheadings are not justified either, but it's a cause and effect process.
    it should serve as a remainder i think to all white supremacists and other nuts that intolerance only brings along more intolerance.
    still, with all the exposed racial problems during katrina, the us of a is still miles ahead in tolerating, integrating and accepting foreigners and minorities. this is why i am (still) here, and especially in new orleans, the most tolerant city we have. let's just hope we don't turn into the white xenophobic crowd that the french are these days...
    as for the maghrebins, who are the group inciting the violence these days in paris, lets not forget where they come from: a country occupied and transformed by the french, an experiment in the democracy propagated by a failing empire. iraq analogies anyone?
    but then again, violence in any form should not be tolerated. neither should the intolerance.
    some days i feel isolationism might work. and noninvolvement. but then i remember that the world is flat and global... so maybe the new orleans model of letting the good times - and the people who are different - roll, and come and go, is working better?

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