November 5, 2005

RIOTS SPREAD FROM PARIS to other French cities:

Hundreds of young people, including teenagers as young as 13, have been detained in the past 24 hours. Although the police have been unable to stop the violence because of its apparent spontaneity and lack of clear leaders, officials say they have also begun to detect efforts to coordinate action and spread it nationally. In remarks on Europe 1 Radio, the prosecutor general in Paris, Yves Bot, said Web sites were urging youths in other cities to join the rioting. . . .

“The republican integration model, on which France has for decades based its self-perception, is in flames,” the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung declared. An editorial in Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung called the violence around Paris an “intifada at the city gates,” a reference to the anti-Israeli uprising by Palestinians.

I hope that I’m wrong, but I’m afraid that this will get worse before it gets better.

UPDATE: More evidence for the “getting worse” analysis, from ¡No Pasarán!

Michael Lotus, meanwhile, offers some big-picture analysis.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s a troubling report from The Telegraph:

Police last night found a petrol bomb factory in a southern suburb of Paris, on France’s tenth and worst consecutive night of violence.

Jean-Marie Huet, the Justice Ministry’s director of criminal affairs and pardons, said the Police found: “150 bottles prepared for use as Molotov cocktails, of which 50 were ready to be used,” and “tens of litres of gasoline and hoods”.

Saturday night’s rioting was the most destructive so far as 1,300 vehicles were set alight and 349 people arrested, despite an enhanced police presence. . . .

Cars were burned out in the historic centre of Paris for the first time on Saturday night. In the normally quiet Normandy town of Evreux, a shopping mall, 50 vehicles, a post office and two schools went up in flames.

An extra 2,300 police officers have been drafted in across the country but the unrest has shown no sign of abating. Authorities have struggled address a problem with complex social, economic and racial causes.

Austin Bay has more on this, including this observation:

Shops, gyms, nursery schools, and cars. That’s a broad target list. In Torcy a police station and a youth center suffered attacks. Attacks have also been reported in Cannes and Nice– so tourists, beware.

Poverty exacerbates all problems, but poverty in and of itself does not produce violence. Migrants from France’s former Muslim colonies initially came for jobs, not to assimilate or “become French.” But the migrants stayed. Now France’s “Muslim neighborhoods” are permanent “cultural islands.” The French government’s own duplicitous policy towards Salafist/Islamist terror has backfired.

Read the whole thing. I think this is also support for Mickey Kaus’s welfare-causes-terrorism theory.

MORE: Roger Simon has another sad email from Paris:

I am absolutely astounded at the failure of this government to attack the problem of the riots. I don’t see it as being primarily an issue of religion, but a turf war by drug criminals, who happen to be of muslim extraction. But the failure of the government to nip this in the bud has now opened the door for players who do have a religious agenda. Mid-week I was cautiously optimistic about the situation. Now I’m very pessimistic.

Ugh. If you missed it before, be sure to read this report from Joel Shepherd in Paris.

MORE: Further thoughts from Clive Davis, who warns against making too much of these riots, and from Brussels Journal, who thinks the riots stem not from anger, but contempt: “It is not anger that is driving the insurgents to take it out on the secularised welfare states of Old Europe. It is hatred. Hatred caused not by injustice suffered, but stemming from a sense of superiority. The ‘youths’ do not blame the French, they despise them.”

ShrinkWrapped says that commentators misunderstand the rioters’ grievances: “Finally, even if quiet can be restored to the ghettos, it will be a mere interregnum; nothing will have been settled and the unsustainable quasi-stability will be, necessarily, short-lived.” Well, that’s cheerful.

Mark Steyn:

For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America’s Europhiles, France’s Arab street correctly identified Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.

Read the whole, rather pessimistic, thing.

Pieter Dorsmann: “The bitter irony is that rather than having his troops deployed in the Middle East, the French president may now need them at home.”

The E.U. Referendum blog, meanwhile, reports that “things are stirring across the Continent.”

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