Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Riots continue in France

The voices on the radio are telling me it is day 13 of France in flames....

All the latest reports say France is engulfed in riots across the country. What started in Parisien suburbs has spread to the heart of Paris and to cities beyond. As someone who has traveled across France and even lived in Paris for a short while, I have been quite disturbed by the stories coming out of the land of liberty, equality and brotherhood.

Even after reading the French newspapers, it is not quite clear to me how and why these uprisings are growing at the rate they are. That's probably because the officials and reporters don't know themselves and have admitted such. Although authorities do seem to believe there is some organization behind the nightly fire-bombings. Even now, some news organizations are reporting similar uprisings in neighboring countries, although the reports I have seen so far are spotty.

It is no secret there are racial tensions in France, just as there are in the U.S. It was quite visible during my stay there, where I witnessed the 2002 French presidential elections. At that time there were mass protests, "des manifestations," across the country over extremist right-wing presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen. Le Pen advocated kicking all immigrants out of the country,and had issued many statements teeming with prejudice adn hatred. But the vibe I got on the other side of the ocean never compared to the racial tensions I felt in America. Maybe I just didn't notice because I never visited Clichy-Sous-Bois.

I find it difficult to fathom cars burning at la Place de la Republique, an area where I frequently found myself, let alone all over the country. I hope everyone at my favorite bar the Shebeen is doing alright.

Bonne chance aux mes amis en France.

And when you hear right wing idiots on talk shows who know absolutely nothing about France, its people and its history (and are PROUD of it) trying to explain these riots in way that (gasp!)conveniently lines up with their own ideology and agenda, please don't believe them. First try and get some grasp of what France is like before you attempt to understand current events. (In fact, do that with your own country too.) You can't expect a reasoned opinion from those who have so often resorted to the juvenile tactics of calling the French smelly and artsy. The French-haters are chomping at the bit to play this story up as much as possible to the benefit of the Neocon agenda.

The story behind the story has yet to come out. For you unfortunate souls who are not multi-lingual, I'll be checking the French and other foreign press to see if I can shed a more focused light on these events. As with all things, time will tell. Or it won't.

UPDATE: The following website has a good summary of current events in France:

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1762918

-J.A.H.

8 Comments:

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