November 02, 2005

Riots in Paris

There have been riots in Paris and though I don't follow French news very often (despite it being the land of my ancestors), riots are not hugely common in the country.

Although very sad, this does not surprise me (or anyone else I imagine) as societal unease has been building up into unresolved tensions between french citizens and immigrants. As I read this, I instantly think of my incident in the plane on the way from Paris into Kinshasa--which I have still to finish writing about.

Will update Welcome Back to Congo soon.


Victoria said...

I didn't think it'd be this explosive. It's sad it had to come to this to finally make the government acknowledge that they haven't been doing enough to intergrate the immigrants...

Laura said...

Hey Doro,

Sounds like my situation here, in Buenos Aires (Bush is here right now - saw his planes at the airport as we were arriving and I knew it was going to be tons of fun). Everywhere you can see grafitti saying ¨Go home Bush¨, and other more flowery things. People are really pissed, and they even closed the street around his hotel and the presidential palace to keep protestors at bay. My friend and I changed our hotel because we were too close to his. Bad time to be an American in Argentina. I´ve been telling everyone I´m from Toronto :)

Black River Eagle said...

I could excercise a bit of "Schadenfreude" as the Germans and the French have so viciously practiced over the past several decades in re: to social unrest and racial strife etc. etc. in the United States. But as a true blue red-blooded African American I feel that I should be above that type of behavior. In other words, I'll wait until the time to comment on this is exactly right and then go for the throat!

Of course these type of disturbances were bound to happen again in France because they haven't even begun to seriously address racial problems and social inequalities that we in the United States have been struggling with for over 300 years. Now their dirty little problems are out in the open for everybody to see, and the streets are on fire Big Time. Terrible for tourism and "Le Image" you know.

Checkout Glenn Reynolds over at for November 4th in his posting "Paris-area riots gain dangerous momentum" and don't forget Davids Medienkritik blog for the view from the foreign press (Germany, France).

I (over)heard a German neighbor today speaking to his buddy about the riots (Aach du Schei--e!) and the Angst for rioting blacks and Arabs is starting to spread across borders. Germany of course has very similar problems with racial and social inequality in the society at large and especially in the workplace (jobs, positions).

Me, I'm not worried one bit. I'm an American, I'm Black, and I'm EXTREMELY DANGEROUS when threatened. It's written in real big letters all across my face and across the front of my T-shirt. Other than that people generally say that I am a very nice guy...:-)

Saw the disturbances and protests down in Argentina this weekend on TV. Can't imagine what everybody is so upset about. Bush is in Brasilia, Brazil kicking back with President Lula. I wonder who is going to pay for the cleanup of needlessly destroyed property down in Mar del Plata? Hugo Chavez?

Don't call U.S., we'll call you.

Black River Eagle said...

The folks over at the !NO PASARÁN blog have some interesting takes on the French riots that you won't find in the MSM. Of course, these guys can be a bit extreme when it comes to blatant France-bashing. Nonetheless some very sarcastic, witty, and occaisonally hilarious reading. Love the graphics and photos.

Jamespbond said...

For 150 years France has been very good at assimilating immigrants (Polish, Italians, Spanish, Portuguese...) but for some reason the North African immigrants haven't been well assimilated. Differences of religion? Culture? Who knows. But the Beurs (slang for second generation North African immigrants) have so much to offer France: energy, creativity, vigor.

Now France has reached a pre-revolutionary state, with a wounded economy (the Common Agricultural Policy!), bankrupt social structure ("les avantages acquis") and general morosity. It feels like 1785 all over again.

President Chirac should go; if not, things will get worse before they get better.

Enfin, il ne faut pas chercher midi à quatorze heures...


Carl said...

Why all this happened is something to be discussed after the French police get serious and stop the party.

Black River Eagle said...

To Mr. J.P. Bond:

It may be true that the French have been very good at assimilating immigrants from neighboring European countries as you say, but the fact is that race and religion and culture obviously has always played an important role within French society. If I am wrong in my thinking here, somebody please help me out.

In regards to Chiraq needing to step down I personally could care less. Some folks back in Washington D.C. would be absolutely delighted though.

What is interesting to watch is that the two leading post-Chiraq era political candidates (Nicolas Sarkozy and Dominique de Villepin) have so far been powerless in bringing the vandalism and violence under control.

As a matter of fact Sarkozy, a second generation immigrant himself, threw gasoline on a burning fire by playing Mr. Tough Guy and taunting the young rioters with insulting language. Now cities all across France are on fire and there is no end in sight. This is not a Rodney King-style riot mind you, this is nationwide.

Perhaps Dominique de Villepin will be able to finally calm things down using his silk tongue and good looks. His opening line should go something like this:

"Can't we all just get along? Can't we just get along?"

[Start Video] Fade to hastily produced commercial showing children and sports stars and media personalities and ordinary citizens all over France from diverse racial and ethnic groups that can help make any nation a really great place to live. [Finis]

To Carl (the Pilot):
Word on the street is that the French Police have been given strict orders not to shoot(back). This may change now that Chiraq has made his first televised public appearance and promised the French people that HE will restore Law & Order quickly. Chiraq is an aging but still clever politician from the Old Guard, you have to give him credit for that. Let's see if his strategy and tactics work in his favor this time around.

Carl said...

Black River Eagle:

I don't think taunting rioters is a bad move, unless you can't back it up, then it is the worst move you can make.

Let us hope Chiraq's strategy and tactics include decisive action against criminals.

Not surprised at the word from the street. If the cops are told to let them, it is perceived as weakness not forbearance; and then watch out.

Will you get mad at me again if I make a reference to Hobbes?

Black River Eagle said...

To Carl:

"Will you get mad at me again if I make reference to Hobbes?"

Not at all Carl, not at all. I don't think I was mad at you the first time you referenced Thomas Hobbes. I know very little indeed about Mr. Hobbes philosophies so let him fly, Carl, let him fly.

I finally got a post up on the France riots and plan a follow-up after the anticipated big showdown tonight. Germany's Der Spiegel Online (International English edition) has a very good analysis on offer today. Check it out.

Google Search = Speigel Online International

007 in Africa said...


Re: "race and religion and culture obviously has always played an important role within French society"

Alas, so true. Though I should add that J.P. Bond is a South African citizen who is now a naturalized Frenchman. He integrated remarkably well into French society. So it's possible to be embraced by French culture...What makes these recent immigrants such a hard sell to the French?

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