What the hell is going on in Paris?

Rioting for eight days straight?

I can’t figure out if it’s because of protests against poor housing or protests against those boys that were electrocuted. They’ve burned car dealerships and the violence has spread to 20 towns.

What’s the deal?

As near as I can tell it’s mostly because the kids got electrocuted, but at this point I think it’s just self-sustaining. People riot and start fires, the police move in to stop it, people get hurt, and the rioting and burning flare up again.

I think it’s the age-old “rich don’t have a clue how the rest of us live” problem. It will be interesting to hear what the surviving kid has to say, if in fact he’ll be able to. The cops deny chasing them, but everyone else seems to have a different take on it.

So is this a case of things boiling under the surface for a long time, and finally exploding out of control?

Who’s in charge of the housing? Is it a private developer or the gov’t?

I’m not in Paris, but I agree with Exgineer. When people form a mob they will do just about anything. Any rational reasons that may (or may not) have originally triggered their anger become totally irrelevant.

I’m not saying they don’t have just cause to be angry, etc. Just that mobs will do anything.

You think after 8 days they’d be able to put down a mob. Least they can’t use the “troops are in Iraq” excuse.

I make no claim to be intimately familiar with the situation in question, but there is quite a bit of ethnic/racial tension between the native French and the immigrant Muslim populations. (You’ll recall the French decree a few years ago prohibiting the burka as attire in public schools.) So far I haven’t been able to find a very clear story on what the deal beyond the description in the cited article.

From what I’ve read you can expect to see more of this kind of thing in coming years as tensions grow between immigrants moving West, providing pools of inexpensive labor and bringing conditions that are attendant with poverty.


What Stranger said.

I was watching the BBC report on it yesterday and the tension between french authorities and immigrants (not just Muslems) are high and have been so for a long time. Many French tend to be big nationalist to the point of being racist (recall LePin). It’s not looking good for the French gov’t at this point. They are going to come under some pressure… or at least criticism from the rest of the european community.

On the bright side, perhaps they’ll shut up with making Americans the incarnation of evil. But probably not.

I never understood the cause. Well, I get that a mob is self-sustaining and any initial reason can serve, but this one just seems weird. The kids run into an “electrical sub-station” (are we talking transformer here?) and are electrocuted. Well, yeah, if I go into a high-voltage area, I’d expect that I could be electrocuted, whether or not I’m running from the cops.

And 8 days? Can’t Chirac or the local government call in the army or something?

Sorry, I guess I meant de Vellepin. Is there a division of powers that I need to know about for things like use of the military?

Appropriately enough, Monday we start the French revolution in my AP Euro classes. This will make a nice tie-in with the lectures I give.

How many of us here remember Watts? Detroit? Once they form, the mob takes on a life of its own. At this point calling in the troops will just escalate things. But it may be the only thing that will stop the rioting for a time. That, or a weeks worth of hard rain.

Well, it’s mostly North African immigrants, and their kids, and a few West Africans. This has been coming to a slow boil for years. I wouldn’t expect criticism from Europe. They all have large Muslim minorities and have many of the same problems. Fareed Zakaria pointed out that these are homogenous nations who are trying to absorb large numbers of immigrants, many of whom do not share their fundamental beliefs.

I’ve wondered about this for a long time. If you don’t share the fundamental beliefs of the country you are immigrating to, WHY are you going there?

CNN just reported that members of the French Government are calling it “a civil war”, they claim illegal firearms have been used on the police, & there is a call for the Army to restore order.


Well, if it’s a civil war…I think low-yield tactical nukes should solve the problem rather quickly. :wink:

The news I’ve heard says the riots are at night. The day time is quiet.

It hasn’t been a continuous thing.

And how long after that will they surrender?

What’s BIZARRE about coverage in the newspapers here in the U.S. is that you can read 8 or 10 paragraphs before the writer lets on WHO the rioters are.

Reporters keep using neutral, undescriptive words like “youths” and "the poor"and “demonstrators” and “immigrants.” It’s as if American reporters are TERRIFIED to state the obvious fact that the rioters are Muslims! (The same holds true about events in Russia and Chechnya- we read about “rebels,” but must scan between the lines to figure out that he rebels are Muslims).

Post 9/11 political correctness seems to mandate that reporters go out of their way to stress that “Islam is a religion of peace,” even when its adherents are doing everything they can to indicate otherwise.

In the interests of accuracy, it banned all overt religious symbols, which means that far beyond banning the burqa, it banned all headscarves, which many Muslims hold to be a requirement of their religion. (Whereas I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a Muslim claim that women are required by the Qur’an to wear the burqa or similarly restrictive garments.)