Saturday, November 05, 2005

La violence, ce n'est pas acceptable

I predict a riot
I predict a riot

I tried to get in my taxi
A man in a tracksuit attacked me
He said that he saw it before me
Wants to get things a bit gory
--Kaiser Chiefs

France is one of the few developed nations that still defines itself in terms of ethnicity, similar to Japan. While the US, Britain, Canada and others have accepted varying degrees of melting pot cultural philosophy, meaning that people from any nation on earth can become "American", or "Canadian".

In nations like Japan, foreign communities are treated as completely seperate entities and many immigrants are unable to obtain citizenship. Similarly, France has defined itself in ancient, ethnic terms, with the people, language, culture and land being sacred (and pure).

The problem of course, is that western Europe's declining birth rate and aging population has forced the opening of France's gates to immigrant communities, namely from the former colonial possessions in Northern Africa. If France had a culture of open acceptance and integration, this policy would serve the interests of France. Of course, this is not the policy of France, and in fact with the rejection of the EU constitution and the polls showing the neo-Fascist Le Pen running at 20%, France has been heading for a face-off with its unassimilated immigrants.
The violence started after the accidental electrocution of two teenagers who believed police were chasing them in the Seine-Saint-Denis region, dominated by low-income housing projects.

Since then, riots have swelled into a broader challenge against the French state and its security forces. The violence has exposed deep discontent in neighborhoods where African and Muslim immigrants and their French-born children are surrounded by poverty, unemployment, racial discrimination, crime, poor education, and housing.

If you ever visit Paris and see these neighbourhoods, you will be witness to communities that are more accurately described as monstrous housing ghettos that stretch out for miles and miles. Simlar to the French federal government buildings and the soul-less University of Paris that were built in some '70's communist architect's wet dream, these drab projects are more suicide inducing than SFU's Quadrangle.
Having said all that, I don't discount the idea that Islamists are fully taking advantage of this unstable social situation. Some are describing this as a "French Intifada".

It seems that Islam's bloody borders have opened a new front: Thailand, Kashmir, Sudan, Nigeria, Chechnya, Dagestan, Kosovo, Aceh, East Timor....and now France.

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