Posted by: sean | November 9, 2005

More on the riots

First off, I’m glad to see that there is someone in the US who actually has a fairly good idea of what’s happening here now. It’s not surprising that it’s Juan Cole (thanks to Norm for the link).

Cole attacks the idea that many Americans (and the likes of Le Pen here in France) have about the Frenchness, or lack thereof, of the rioters, which can be seen in Mark Steyn’s idiotic piece about the “Eurabian civil war” in the Chicago Sun-Times. Steyn complains about the media’s use of the term “French youth”:

“French youths,” huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse? Granted that most of the “youths” are technically citizens of the French Republic, it doesn’t take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as “French”: They’re young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity more implacable than anything you’re likely to find in the Middle East. After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an explosive “Arab street,” but it’s in Clichy-sous-Bois.

Cole sees this for what it is: the same sort of bullshit that has fueled the racism that’s largely responsible for the situation in the first place:

The French youth who are burning automobiles are as French as Jennifer Lopez and Christopher Walken are American. Perhaps the Steyns came before the Revolutionary War, but a very large number of us have not. The US brings 10 million immigrants every decade and one in 10 Americans is now foreign-born. Their children, born and bred here, have never known another home. All US citizens are Americans, including the present governor of California. “The immigrant” is always a political category. Proud Californio families (think “Zorro”) who can trace themselves back to the 18th century Spanish empire in California are often coded as “Mexican immigrants” by “white” Californians whose parents were Okies.

It is refreshing to see such a piece come out of the US, instead of the ignorant chest-beating xenophobia and uninformed rhetoric of the lieks of Steyn.

In other news, Sarkozy has made the obviously asinine decision to ask for the immediate deportation of any foreigners, legal or illegal, found guilty of participating in the riots:

When one has the honor of having a titre de séjour [a visa that lasts anywhere from 1-10 years], the least we can say is that one should not get arrested provoking urban violence.

While this sort of macho rhetoric might work for the “France for the French” fools (who will probably vote for Le Pen in 2007 anyway), it certainly isn’t likely to help stop the rioting any time soon. If anything, it will only make the situation even worse, if that’s possible.

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Responses

  1. […] in 2005, which did its best to portray what was clearly a socio-economic problem into some sort of Muslim uprising. (Mark Steyn, for example, idiotically wrote of the “Eurabian civil war.”) In any case, […]

  2. […] in 2005, which did its best to portray what was clearly a socio-economic problem into some sort of Muslim uprising. (Mark Steyn, for example, idiotically wrote of the ‘Eurabian civil war.’) In any case, […]


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