Originally Posted by Obi
Yeah, well going on the news and calling a bunch of pissed off people "scum" and saying you were going to clean them out with a power hose isn't exactly going to calm things down, now is it? It was a DUMB thing to say. That's about as intelligent as poking a snarling dog with a stick. It's been going on for 8 days/9 nights in the poor immigrant communities. And the concern expressed by eatrawfish is REAL: targeting the mobs with more violence has every chance of further inflaming the crowds unless it is handled carefully. You might look at our own history of riots that went out of control for extended periods. We have had them. The riots sparked by Rodney King were not as wide-spread as the current French riots are, and yet they weren't quelled for five days.
The violence escalated after Interior Minister Sarkozy called the rioters "scum" (or rabble or riff-raff) and wanted to "(K)Ã¤rcher" them. Now the rioters are demanding his resignation. It was a very ill advised statement; Sarkozy was just trying to prove what a "tough guy" he was, because he's competing with de Villepin to succeed Chirac.
The rioting isn't the least bit surprising. Immigrants from Africa, especially northern Africa, have been herded into tenements in suburbs for the past four decades, i.e., they've been marginalized, rather than integrated, because "nobody" expected them to stay. Poverty and unemployment are rampant; adolescents simply have few prospects of escaping the slums, and feel that politicians don't take their concerns seriously.
I refrained from broaching this topic because I expected some members here to gloat, simply because France didn't accept Bush's claims that Iraq had WMDs (and I haven't heard any apologies to foreign governments for misleading them, or attempting to). That's a very petty reaction, and this situation is far too serious to take malicious pleasure in it. The big worry in Europe is that the rioting will spread beyond France's borders, and that's almost a given. Most Western European countries have millions of immigrants or "guest workers". Scandinavia has managed to more or less integrate them, but they're even less integrated in Germany, Italy, Austria and the Benelux countries than they are in France, where they are at least French speakers. Why do you think Britain has so many "home-grown" terrorists?
Last night, 1,400 cars, schools, government offices, a daycare center, grocery stores and residences were torched. Two police officers took loads of buckshot; numerous others, and fire fighters, have been injured. An older man was beaten this weekend because he attempted to extinguish a fire in a trash can; he died in the hospital today.
I think gloating about France's problems containing the unrest is really uncalled for.