Thursday, November 03, 2005
Via Instapundit and following links from there is some alarming coverage of the rioting (to use a euphemism for "civil war") that has been going on in Europe. This is all on top of Europe's continuing difficulties with Moslem terrorists. (And if "civil war" is pushing it, "insurgency" might be better. Besides, the media already use that word to describe similar activities by terrorists in Iraq....)
Meryl Yourish first points out that the rioting was foreshadowed over three years ago by anti-Semitist incidents in France.
Three and a half years ago, Christopher Caldwell wrote an essay in the Weekly Standard about the dangers inherent in the suburbs of Paris, which are not quite suburbs. The essay was about French anti-Semitism, including the French "youths'" unremitting attacks on Jews. It is a case, as many people have pointed out, of the canary in the coal mine. The French insisted there was no problem, and so, of course, nothing much was done.
Before elaborating further, she links to the following news story, about the seventh day of rioting in the suburbs of Paris.
Menacing youths smoked cigarettes in doorways Wednesday and hulks of burned cars littered the tough streets of Paris' northeastern suburbs scarred by a week of riots that left residents on edge and sent the government into crisis mode.Besides mentioning the occurrence of rioting elsewhere in Europe, Yourish links to another report, saying: "It's worse than I thought." Both Yourish's post and the link I just provided detail stories that are crucial for the public to understand, but which are getting nowhere near the coverage they deserve from traditional media outlets. From this report:
In a seventh consecutive night of skirmishes, young people threw rocks at police Wednesday in six suburbs in the Seine-Saint-Denis region north of Paris - about a 40-minute drive from the Eiffel Tower. In one of them, Le Blanc-Mesnil, about a dozen cars burned and curious residents, some in slippers and bathrobes, poured into the streets.
Some said the unrest - sparked by the accidental deaths of two teenagers last week - is an expression of frustration over grinding unemployment and police harassment in the communities, where many North African immigrants live. "It is not going to end. It is going to explode," said an 18-year-old who would only give his name as Amine.
Our mainstream media, in attempts to preserve the Left's chimera of "universal cultural compatibility," hardly write about all this. Nevertheless, for some years now West European city folk and police officers have been familiar with the reality that certain areas of major European cities are no-go areas, especially at night and certainly if you are white or wearing a uniform [bold added]. Three years ago, a French friend who had his car stolen learned that the thieves had parked the car in a particular suburb. When he went to the police he was told that the police did not operate in that neighbourhood and consequently would not be able to retrieve his car. This is Western Europe in the early 21st century.
Nicolas Sarkozy became France's most popular politician by promising to restore law and order in the whole of France, including in the areas abandoned by previous governments. Since Sarkozy became Interior Minister he has insisted on more police presence in Muslim neighbourhoods. This triggered last week's riots in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, when policemen went in to investigate a robbery and two teenagers stupidly got themselves electrocuted while hiding from the police in an electricity sub station. Many French politicians now probably regret that the police had the audacity to investigate a robbery in Clichy. The result of the incident so far has been six consecutive nights of rioting that is now engulfing the entire Paris suburban area and might soon affect other parts of the country. Last night at least 69 vehicles were torched in nine suburbs across the Paris region. Officials say that small, mobile gangs are harassing police, sometimes even shooting at them. The gangs are setting vehicles, police stations and schools on fire throughout the region.
Also well worth reading is Theodore Dalrymple's penetrating analysis of how modern lower-class culture, multiculturalism, and Islam come together to create the mentality necessary for someone to become a suicide bomber. Here is how, as he puts it, "In Britain, ... these two forms of jihad have coalesced in a most murderous fashion."
Muslims who reject the West are therefore engaged in a losing and impossible inner jihad, or struggle, to expunge everything that is not Muslim from their breasts. It can't be done: for their technological and scientific dependence is necessarily also a cultural one. You can't believe in a return to seventh-century Arabia as being all-sufficient for human requirements, and at the same time drive around in a brand-new red Mercedes, as one of the London bombers did shortly before his murderous suicide. An awareness of the contradiction must gnaw in even the dullest fundamentalist brain.
Furthermore, fundamentalists must be sufficiently self-aware to know that they will never be willing to forgo the appurtenances of Western life: the taste for them is too deeply implanted in their souls, too deeply a part of what they are as human beings, ever to be eradicated. It is possible to reject isolated aspects of modernity but not modernity itself. Whether they like it or not, Muslim fundamentalists are modern men—modern men trying, impossibly, to be something else.
They therefore have at least a nagging intimation that their chosen utopia is not really a utopia at all: that deep within themselves there exists something that makes it unachievable and even undesirable. How to persuade themselves and others that their lack of faith, their vacillation, is really the strongest possible faith? What more convincing evidence of faith could there be than to die for its sake? How can a person be really attached or attracted to rap music and cricket and Mercedes cars if he is prepared to blow himself up as a means of destroying the society that produces them? Death will be the end of the illicit attachment that he cannot entirely eliminate from his heart.
The two forms of jihad, the inner and the outer, the greater and the lesser, thus coalesce in one apocalyptic action. By means of suicide bombing, the bombers overcome moral impurities and religious doubts within themselves and, supposedly, strike an external blow for the propagation of the faith.
Our media's poor coverage often verges on siding with the Islamists in the same sense that said members of the "religion of peace" are merely rioting now. I would call the situation in France a civil war, or at least an insurgency. That this -- and events like these -- go unnoticed (or underreported) but for the web and other alternative media outlets is just a small part of why such media outlets are losing credibility.
We are very lucky to have a free Internet in these turbulent times. Let's hope we keep it that way.
Today: (1) More on the Paris insurgency, including a map of "part of the area affected" can be found here and here. From the first of these:
(2) From Matt Drudge:
At least one nation has been born in the last week, that of immigrants who once colloquially referred to themselves as "Arabs" but who now prefer to call themselves "Muslims". While the riots will start to abate at some point, from exhaustion and the onset of cold weather as much as anything else, the sense of identity forged at the barricades will not so easily fade. A new meme has been born which neither Sarkozy's rubber bullets nor de Villepin's appeasement can bring under control.
The only question is whether another nation has been reborn under the events of the last week; a nation once called France. There is in a sense, something magnificent about the stirrings of identity among the Muslims in the Parisian ghettos; all the grander in comparison to the tentativeness, doubt and reflexive abasement of the officials of the Fifth Republic. The riot police, fire department and public order apparatus may have been present in the rioting banlieus, but the Idea of France was conspicuously absent. The Idea of France, not the hodgepodge of welfare benefits, Marxist obscurantism and world-weariness that that is palmed off as sophistication, is what has to present itself as an alternative to the Green Banner of Islam. Otherwise it will be a contest between something and nothing.
Rioting in French suburbs 'well organized'
Thu Nov 03 2005 14:56:34 ET
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday that the riots in several Paris suburbs over the previous night were "not spontaneous" but rather "well organized."
"What we saw in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis overnight was not spontaneous, it was perfectly organized. We are looking into by whom and how," Sarkozy told French news channel i-tele.
The interior minister also said the government would not allow "troublemakers, a bunch of hoodlums, think they can do whatever they want" in the country.
A force of 1,000 police were assigned late Thursday to Seine-Saint-Denis, following the previous night of violence which affected about half of the 40 towns in the department, mostly communities of immigrants from Africa, officials said.