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November 07, 2005

France Burns While Chirac Offers Platitudes

For nearly two weeks, Muslim youths have been rioting in Parisian suburbs, and the incidents are spreading like wildfire (pardon the cliche).

Speaking of cliches, what is French president Jacques Chirac doing about it?chirac.bmp

"The law must have the last word," Chirac said in his first public address on the violence. France is determined "to be stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear, and they will be arrested, judged and punished."

And it's taken nearly two weeks for this wisdom to come out of his mouth? I might have expected more out of a mime.

Chirac said France was determined to promote "respect for all, justice and equal opportunities." Violence has been concentrated in poor suburbs with large immigrant populations.

"But there is a precondition, a priority, I repeat," he said. "That is the restoring of security and public order."

Respect for all...that's nice. But obviously the respect the French are showing their immigrant population isn't exactly bowling them over. This is where the policies of multiculturalism are hitting the fan. By not actively trying to get these people involved in mainstream French culture to begin with, the French government pretty much shot itself in the foot.

This begs another question: why does immigration in France and other European countries seem to be so difficult? After all, here in America, while there are always a few malcontents running around, we don't usually see this kind of widespread rioting by one group of people for such a prolonged time.

Here's my theory: America is a country of immigrants. It's much easier to consider oneself an American, and be considered an American, because everyone and their predecessors came from somewhere else. Yes, the initial group of settlers in this country came from England, but soon after there were immigrants from other countries. And while (unfortunately) it was because of slavery that black people first came to this country, we have had racial diversity for all of our existence. It hasn't been without its flaws, but think about it--how long has such diversity been around for France and other European countries? It's much more difficult to immigrate to a European country and call yourself French, German, Spanish, etcetera, because until maybe 40 or 50 years ago, those countries were mostly made up of people of the same ethnic and social backgrounds. Here in America, diversity has been around from nearly day one. We're used to it. (Again, we're not perfect, but we continue to work on it.)

While Chirac bleats about respect and justice, the Muslim rioters aren't listening. They haven't been listening for a long time, because they have been disenfranchised (a popular phrase on the left) for much of their existence in France and they're ready for a change.

Forget about arresting them. Police involvement obviously isn't enough. It's time to bring in the French troops (such as they are) and use martial force to stop the rioters in their tracks. Only then can they sit down and talk about it, something the French love to do.

I'll be surprised if they take this route, however. After all, this is France we're talking about. They like to think they are above such "cowboy" tactics that us uncouth Americans are more likely to utilize, and think that the mere suggestion of "truth and justice" will win the day. (As if the rest of us have forgotten the way the French Revolution was conducted!) Chirac has been quoted as saying, "The construction of Europe is an art. It is the art of the possible." More like impossible, the way the French are bungling it.

As John Ruberry over at Marathon Pundit told me, "It's getting worse." And I don't see it getting better any time soon.

*Hugh Hewitt weighs in.

Show Comments

Posted by Pam Meister at 12:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Dhimi Watch

I agree with your assessment that as America is a country of immigrants, it is easier to see oneself as an American. But it is deeper. People (usually) come to America to have a better life. They want to be here. Muslims in Europe would likely prefer to be in their mother country but something drove them away. They have been disenfranchised in Europe, because Europe only grudgingly accepted them into their countries. Whereas here, for better or worse, our arms have been open. Granted, there is still strife in America but the integration of other cultures here (take college campuses for example) is sometimes quite seamless.

Posted by: oddybobo at November 7, 2005 02:23 PM

Since when did the French elect Inspector Clouseau? By the time he gets around to action, the entire country will be ablaze. Now THAT'S leadership!

Posted by: Wyatt Earp at November 7, 2005 02:33 PM

Inspector Clouseau...how apt! And Oddy, I agree with you in that Europe wasn't exactly welcoming to their immigrants populations, as well as why these people went to France, etc. in the first place. America says "Welcome!" Europe says, "Come if you must."

Posted by: Pam at November 7, 2005 03:18 PM

Awwww, do we have to rescue France, again!?

We just did it three times last century!

Posted by: joe-6-pack at November 8, 2005 09:31 AM
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