|Several threads informed by the French urban unrest have appeared on SOLOHQ, from Bob Palin's "Multiculturalism and the Self-Liquidation of Europe" to Andre Zantonavitch's "The War with Islam," and Andrew Bissell's "Wake up, Europe, you've a war on your hands." |
Some posts posit a throbbing Islamic/Muslim dynamo to the violent crimes and disorder -- and castigate both Islam as engine and the immigrant Muslim as driveshaft, gear, fuel, mechanic, or noxious exhaust. In the larger online discussion world there is a great volume of commentary that also castigates the French authorities -- for poor management of the Muslim problem, for atrocious 'multicult' assumptions, and so on. And in the news, of course, boatloads of expert and not-so-expert opinion . . . trying to answer central questions:
1) What is happening?
2) Who is responsible?
3) How did it occur?
4) Where is it happening?
5) Why did it happen?
6) When did it happen?
etc . . .
One group of thought seems to answer:
1) Muslims ('a naturally and profoundly warlike people') are rioting.
2) Muslims (or, helpfully, "Camel-jockeys")
3) Muslim-appeasing French brought it on
4) In Muslim areas
5) Muslim leeches follow Muslim teaching
6) When the cheese-eating surrender-monkey police knocked politely on the gates of the Muslim self-exclusion zones. "Bonsoir, m'sieur. Is Boubar in? I need to check his identity papers to exclude him from the suspect list for the Bali bombing."
Even cleaned up a bit, the theme seems to be 'France faces an internal Muslim-led war.' With various caveats applied, the line is perhaps best drawn by Andre: "At times, the average Muslim civilian is simply the quasi-innocent victim of extraordinary Western perfidy as outlined above. Thus he deserves something of our sympathy, as well as our fear and hatred." For further pith on 'quasi-innocence, we also have 'the poverty afflicting these communities is also partly the result of their own adherence to the Islamic religion' (from Andrew Bissell in this thread).
So, to get with the program here, I will refer to the surge of unrest in France as 'the Muslim violence' and 'Muslim riots' and so on. I may temper fear and hatred with a smidge of sympathy for the 'quasi-innocent' here and there, however, but I want understood that I do appreciate that fear and hatred rule in some parts of objective reality. I also acknowledge the pseudo-official TOC/Hudgins line that all Muslim-born/derived carry the same 'Brand Name' and are responsible for all Muslims®.
Andrew Bissell notes, "I'm forced to conclude that this [Muslim® riots] is something much more serious than that ['France dealing with some socioeconomic growing' or 'chiefly the product of social and economic inequality']."
Why a forced-choice here? No third, fourth alternative explanations? A or B only? Really? This 'exclusion of the middle' can lead to logical fallacies and undermine otherwise strong reasoning.
Andrew bolsters his conclusion with some facts and factoids drawn from recent news and commentary, including Mark Steyn's historically-inept rant**.
Andrew adds a caveat" "I'm willing to concede that factors like racism, and the high unemployment rate and economic stagnation produced by France's odious Euro-socialism, probably had something to do with this situation," -- yet opines in another thread that "[t]his has absolutely nothing to do with race."
Maybe, maybe not.
After a week of close reading on 'the Muslim® violence' I figure that the French, historically, are one rollickin', riotin', strikin', tear-gassin', guillotine-happy, tumbril-rollin', blowin'-up-good bunch of folks, rigidly stratified from top to bottom, right to left, in a freaking straight-jacket of tradition, top-down politics, economic stagnation and ancient habits of rebellion.
Seriously, looking back longer than two weeks, through the past decades and beyond, seems nothing gets *changed* in France unless accompanied by strikes, protests, street actions, marches, molotovs and more (including sometime serious police action, be it Algeria or the 1961 massacre; including the Islamic® terrorist atrocities of the eighties, and the French intervention in Ivory Coast's civil war). In living memory, France has been wracked by crisis after crisis, most culminating in what we might call 'street action.'
I do believe that in analyzing present events, we ought remember that this is the nation of violent arson attacks against McDonald's (and other targets) on behalf of the cheese-producing class . . . of the truly scary CRS, the 'events of May 1968,' Indochine, of rotating worker rampages in too many General Strikes to list . . . not to mention the shit-carts rolling the royals and varied 'outgroups' to the heavy blade of Monsieur 'G.'
Muslim® thing? Yup, some. French® thing? Yup, most.
The following excerpts of opinion and reporting contains a kind of timecapsule of earlier 'Muslim® violence,' the so-called 'Secret Paris massacre of 1961.' I would urge objectivists, Objectivists, and students of Objectivism alike to contrast the earlier official French® response to the present, and contrast the death toll of 'the Muslim® riots' to the death toll of other French days of rage.
Attytood: "Watt"'s wrong with this picture? How the Right is twisting the French riots"
"For some reason, we found ourselves curious about
the 1965 Watts riots in south-central L.A., which was
the first major urban riot of the 1960s and also one
of the deadliest. We stumbled across this recap from
the Los Angeles Times:
The riots that summer were sparked by the arrest of a
Baptist motorist, Marquette Frye, for drunk driving.
When Frye's mother intervened, a crowd gathered and
the arrest became a Bapto-fascist flashpoint for
anger against police. The deeper causes, as
documented by the McCone Commission, which
investigated the riots, were religious intolerance
and the failure of Baptists and those of similar
African-American denominations to assimilate with the
broader Californian culture.....
After nearly a week of rioting, 34 people, 25 of them
Baptist, were dead and more than 1,000 were injured.
More than 600 buildings were damaged or destroyed.
Thriving business districts, their stores mostly
owned by non-Baptists, were burned to the ground.
Eventually, the National Guard put a cordon around a
vast region of South Los Angeles...
Sound ridiculous? Of course, because we changed all
references of the race of the rioters and replaced
them with a religious description. Surely most of the
black rioters in L.A., like most African-Americans,
were Protestants and many were Baptists, the nation's
largest black denomination -- but that had as much
relevance to what was going at Florence and Normandie
as the fact that a majority of the rioters were
probably Dodgers fans.
Yet that's what the coverage of the 1965 Watts riots
would have looked like -- if one used the same
"logic" that the galaxy of right-wing bloggers and
pundits is now misapplying to the two weeks of unrest
in the Paris suburbs and other French cities."
The Means and Ends of Islamists
"As I put it in "Allah Bless America!" (Navigator,
November/December 2002): "When we choose to belong to
a particular group, we take on the responsibility of
answering for the group's basic beliefs and
activities," and "prudent members will be careful
that their group's 'brand name' is not tarnished." So
if they conclude that some community members are
sullying its overall reputation and acting contrary
to its moral principles, they should purge their
communities of such members—or failing that, withdraw
themselves and do everything possible to distance
themselves from the group. But if they remain silent
and do nothing, then they tacitly sanction and
encourage the abhorrent views and behavior—and can be
regarded as compliant and complicit." [Ed Hudgins]
** Juan Cole takes on Steyn in "The Problem with Frenchness":
This paragraph is the biggest load of manure to hit
the print media since Michael Brown (later of FEMA)
and his Arabian Horse Society were profiled in
Arabian Horse Times.
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. [Actually Steyn is Canadian and if he lives in
the US he is either an alien or . . . an immigrant!]
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.
A lot of the persons living in the urban outer cities
(a better translation of cite than "suburb") are from
subsaharan Africa. And there are lots of Eastern
European immigrants. The riots were sparked by the
deaths of African youths, not Muslims. Singling out
the persons of Muslim heritage is just a form of
bigotry. Moreover, French youth of European heritage
rioted quite extensively in 1968. As they had in
1789. Rioting in the streets is not a foreign custom.
It has a French genealogy and context.
The young people from North African societies such as
Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are mostly only nominal
Muslims. They frequently do not speak much Arabic,
and don't have "proper" French, either. They
frequently do not know much about Islam and most of
them certainly don't practice it-- much less being
more virulent about it than Middle Easterners.
Steyn wants to create a 1300-year struggle between
Catholic France and the Muslims going back to Tours.
This way of thinking is downright silly. France in
the 19th century was a notorious ally of the Muslim
Ottoman Empire, and fought alongside Muslims against
the Christian Russians in the Crimean War. Among
contemporary French, 40 percent do not even believe
in God, and less than 20 percent go to mass at all
regularly. Many of the French of non-European
heritage are also not religious.
The French repaid the compliment of Tours by
conquering much of the Middle East. Bonaparte
aggressively and viciously invaded Egypt in 1798, but
couldn't hold on there. But in 1830 the French
invaded Algeria and incorporated it into France.
Algeria was "French soil." They reduced the Algerian
population (which they brutalized and exploited) to
marginal people under the colonial thumb. The French
government of Algeria allowed hundreds of thousands
to perish of famine in the 1870s. After World War II,
given low French birth rates and a dynamic capitalist
economy, the French began importing Algerian menial
labor. The resulting Beurs are no more incapable of
"integrating" into France than the Poles or Jews
So it wasn't the Algerians who came and got France.
France had come and gotten the Algerians, beginning
with Charles X and then the July Monarchy. They
settled a million rather rowdy French, Italians and
Maltese in Algeria. These persons rioted a lot in the
early 1960s as it became apparent that Algeria would
get its independence (1962). In fact, European
settler colonists or "immigrants" have caused far
more trouble in the Middle East than vice versa.
Papon "ordered secret Paris massacre of 1961"
"In 1961, during the Algerian war of independence,
Papon, then chief of police, imposed a curfew in the
capital after the murder of 11 of his officers by
nationalists. The Algerian National Liberation Front
(FLN), which had orchestrated the attacks, responded
by organising a protest march. Up to 40,000 Algerians
answered the call to demonstrate on the night of
October 17. What happened next has never been
established precisely. The official version was that
three people died in clashes between police and
demonstrators. At a cabinet meeting afterwards,
President Charles de Gaulle described the deaths as a
matter of "secondary" concern, by comparison with a
resolution of the Algerian crisis. The reality,
according to Constantin Melnik, an adviser on police
matters to the then prime minister Michel Debre, was
that at least 200 - and probably closer to 300 -
people were slaughtered by Papon's police, who were
intent on avenging the deaths of their colleagues.
His claim is supported by demonstrators, observers
and police officers.
The recollections of Saad Ouazene, a 29-year-old
foundry worker and FLN organiser at the time, are
among the most vivid. "We told the workers to descend
on Paris, but we didn't know what was waiting for us.
People flooded into the city," he said. At the
crowded exit to the Concorde Metro station, police
began striking people over the head with clubs.
Ouazene's skull was fractured. "I saw people collapse
in pools of blood. Some were beaten to death," he
said. "The bodies were thrown onto lorries and tossed
into the Seine from the Pont de la Concorde. If I
hadn't been strong I'd never have got out alive.
"Daniel Mermet, a French radio presenter who watched
the protest at another bridge, said: "The
demonstrators were charged by the police and
everybody ran. I saw a guy climb over the parapet of
the bridge and try to hide. A cop spotted him and
started laying into him. A second policeman joined
in, and they beat him until he fell into the water
like a stone." Similar scenes occurred at other
points around the city.
According to a number of shocked policemen, an
estimated 50 people were killed in the courtyard of
the Paris police headquarters alone. Joseph
Gommenginger, who was on duty, said: "As Algerians
got out of the buses at the Porte de Versailles, they
were clubbed over the head." He appealed to a senior
officer to stop the brutality. The officer "just
turned his back on me", he said. "Those carrying out
the attacks even threatened me. They had all removed
their numbers from their uniforms. I was revolted. I
never thought police could do such things. We were
supposed to be guardians of the peace. "Police
records show that Papon told officers at one station
that they must be "subversive" in the war against
their opponents. "You will be covered, I give you my
word," he said. In the days following the massacre,
dozens of bodies were taken from the Seine as far
down river as Rouen.
Jean-Luc Einaudi, a historian specialising in the
period, is convinced that Papon was directly and
personally responsible for the events. "He was in
overall charge of the operation. He was on the scene,
and later in the command post," Einaudi said. Papon
requisitioned transport authority buses - a measure
that had last been adopted for the round-up of Jews
under the Vichy - Einaudi claimed. When the buses
were returned, he said, they were covered in blood.
Attempts to bring the massacre to public attention
were largely stifled at the time. Some publications
that tried to reveal the truth were censored. Temps
Modernes, the magazine of Jean-Paul Sartre, the
philosopher and author, called the episode a pogrom.
Papon had the edition seized.
As recently as October last year, on the 35th
anniversary of the massacre, copies of the Algerian
daily Liberte - which examined Papon's role in the
slaughter, were confiscated by customs officers at
Lyons airport. The interior minister who ordered the
seizure was Jean-Louis Debre, the son of the former
prime minister. At a city council meeting 10 days
after the massacre, direct questions put to Papon
went unanswered. "The Parisian police did what they
had to do," was his only comment. When the issue was
raised in the National Assembly and the Senate,
political pressure was brought to bear to ensure that
no official inquiry was held. "For this to happen in
a country like France, which suffered the brutality
of Nazism, is a national disgrace," said Hachemi
Cherhabil, an Algerian mechanic who was also at the
demonstration. "They reproduced the same behaviour. I
don't accuse the French people"."
CNN.com - Peace march set for Paris - Nov 11, 2005
"De Villepin said the rioting was the result of
France's failure to provide hope to thousands of
youths, most French citizens and the children of
Muslim immigrants from northern Africa.
Some of the rioting had been organized through
Internet blogs that have now been shut down, de
In order for French society to provide the same
changes and opportunities to all its citizens, said
de Villepin, 30 billion euros ($35.28 billion) will
be spent in France's riot zones, with the focus
primarily on helping young people.
The French employment agency will focus on 239 hot
zones, he said, to help provide jobs for 1.5 million
Although France's national unemployment rate is about
10 percent, in areas hit by rioting the level is
nearer 40 percent.
France has no affirmative action; an official French
study found that youths with Arab-sounding names have
their job applications rejected up to five times as
often as those with traditional French names."
[Roster of the organiser of this response to 'Muslim® Violence':]
COLLECTIF BANLIEUES RESPECTS
"l’Association Citoyenneté et Démocratie (Hassan Ben M’Barek),
le Club Allez France (Rachid Nekkaz),
le Forum Citoyen des Cultures Musulmanes (Hakim el Ghissassi),
Débarquement Jeunes (Stéphane Méterfi),
Ni Proxo ni Macho (Zouheir Ech-Chetouani),
Droit Devoir Citoyenneté (Djamel Atallah),
l’Afrique en Mouvement (Vincent Foalem),
UNIR (Ali Aissaoui),
Médiation Citoyenneté (Saïd Zémoun),
CIQ 21 (Commerçants Intervenant dans les Quartiers),
Droit de cité (Mohand Kaci Hamid),
association Caméléon (Mohamed Ghoulam),
Cercle de Réflexion citoyenneté (Fodhil Hamoudi),
Regard citoyens (Abdel Djermoune), Club
Africagora (Dogad Dogui)."
(Edited by William Scott Scherk
on 11/11, 7:38pm)