Friday, October 27, 2006

[excuse for biffo] la tension monte dans les quartiers difficiles

It would have been surprising had the 'disaffected youths' let the occasion go without an uprising. Nothing like an official excuse for a bit of lawless spleen venting and sure enough: In recent days, hoodlums set fire to four buses. Other incidents of arson and ambushes on police have accelerated in the last several weeks. Le Figaro dit: Alors que les incidents se multiplient, les forces de l'ordre se mettent en alerte. Call me hard but I have little sympathy. I came to this country where I now am, work, have friends and live reasonably. Sorry but I cannot see why these people can’t knuckle down and do the same. If I tried that sort of thing on, I'd be deported.

3 comments:

Quinlan said...

I think you'd be in the gulag not deported...

A friend of mine, briefly incarcerated for possession of substances — planted he insists by a well meaning music person he was bodyguarding — told me a tale of a similarly incarcerated Iranian gentleman who was determined to tell the Japanese gendarmerie what he though of them.

After listening stoically, they stripped the said gentleman, took photos and then put him in the plastic equivalent of Niqab (don't want to get blood on the floor) and beat the hell out of him with quaterstaffs. They then took photos again to show they hadn't been too brutal...

Quite a different approach out here...

Jonathan said...

I'm not sure where you live James, but don't you think your experience might have been different if you were black? What would you think if you were felt you were consistently being denied employment because of the colour of your skin? Obviously torching cars is no answer, but it does at least draw attention to the problem. There are also issues here with how difficult it is for French companies to take on new workers, which is keeping unemployment high. I think you need to consider the complexity of French society a bit more before you can be quite so dismissive.

james higham said...

...What would you think if you felt you were consistently being denied employment because of the colour of your skin?...

I'm not dismissing this, Jonathan, honestly and don't wish ill on anyone but I worked with black youths in south London for three years and there was a constant chip on the shoulder, even when the other was entirely non-combatant. They'd be shocked to see me write this because we got along famously ourselves.

I used to go with some of them to Lewisham to help set up bank accounts and so on and yet that chip was always there. It was racial, not religious. In France, it seems to be both.

I saw many black guys in London do well too with a go-ahead, enterprising attitude and organizations were more than willing to employ them because it was great PR.

It's true that there's prejudice on the streets of London but with enterprise, it's the way you present and your CV.

As you say, France is more complex with its welfare mentality and work practices - I thought Villepin's idea wasn't too bad in principle but badly executed. There is also the tradition of no reform, only revolution.

Burning vehicles is going to change nothing though.