November 06, 2005
For eleven days, unchecked rioting has been perpetrated in some of the suburbs surrounding Paris, France and, last night, the mayhem reached the city itself. The perpetrators are North African Muslim immigrants and children of those immigrants whose initial impetus for rioting was the accidental electrocution deaths of two men that had allegedly been fleeing from the police.
Could what's happening in France happen here? I say no.
Now before you protest, make sure you understand my question.
Obviously, riots occur here in the USA all the time--sometimes for just causes, in other instances, just 'cause. Still other occasions of "civil unrest" have spontaneously erupted due to 'mass happiness,' especially here in
The 'what' I'm referring to, however is the response of the government--or in France's case, the lack of response--for eleven days. Could you imagine the LAPD putting up with this nonsense for more than the few days it would take to coordinate its attack? Could you imagine a state governor--Democrat or Republican--dithering for a week before sending in the National Guard , Governor Kathleen Blanco's (D-LA) demonstrably poor decision-making capabilities notwithstanding? Most of all, could you foresee any given segment of American citizenry allowing the destruction of its hard-won property for more than the time took to form up in militias of their own? Or allowing roving bands of thugs to go from city to city?
Neither can I. (There are two reasons that riots only last a few days in the USA. The autonomy of local government is one; the other is called the Second Amendment.)
However, while the rioters in France are showing no sign of tiring, the French, government and citizenry alike, are showing no sign of saying 'Non!'
In Paris, while "youths" fired on the gendarmerie, burned down a gym and disrupted commuter trains, the French Cabinet split in two, as the "minister for social cohesion" (a Cabinet position I hope America never requires) and other colleagues distance themselves from the interior minister, the tough-talking Nicolas Sarkozy who dismissed the rioters as "scum." President Chirac seems to have come down on the side of those who feel the scum's grievances need to be addressed. He called for "a spirit of dialogue and respect." As is the way with the political class, they seem to see the riots as an excellent opportunity to scuttle Sarkozy's presidential ambitions rather than as a call to save the Republic.We Americans make fun of the France of sixty-five years ago for knuckling under to Hitler's Reichswehr and many have postulated that most of Vichy's children and grandchildren had learned nothing from that experience. But I think that most Americans would understand, even cheer were France to act forcefully and decisively to protect its peaceful citizens and to save itself.
How sad and frightening it is to find out that the original hypothesis was correct.
(Cross-posted at baldilocks)
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