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November 08, 2005

French Attitude to Blame for Riots?

Jacques Chirac has admitted privately that the failure of France to accept Islamic immigrants played a part in the current rioting.

Chirac, in private comments more conciliatory than his warnings Sunday that rioters would be caught and punished, acknowledged in a meeting Monday with Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga that France has not integrated immigrant youths, she said.

Chirac deplored the "ghettoization of youths of African or North African origin" and recognized "the incapacity of French society to fully accept them," said Vike-Freiberga.

France "has not done everything possible for these youths, supported them so they feel understood, heard and respected," Vike-Freiberga quoted Chirac as saying.

Meanwhile, French tourism (which accounts for nearly 7 percent of France's GDP), faces a crisis as well. Twelve countries, including the United States, have issued warnings to their citizens who plan on traveling to France, although none have actually recommended outright avoidance.

France's tourism minister complained that the media is blowing the unrest out of proportion:

"You get the impression that France is awash with flames and blood, which is not at all the case," said the minister, Leon Bertrand. "You cannot deny the images, but there are images and images."

That's rich, considering how French television covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It's okay for France to pass judgment, but no one has the right to judge France.

Some things never change.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Dhimi Watch
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