Monday, November 14, 2005

I'm Running Out of Riot Headlines

Day 18. The media's coverage of the riots is still spotty, despite the fact that the French riots have gone on longer than any riots we've seen in more than a generation. Thousands of cars have been destroyed, businesses have been torched, schools damaged, and the toll on the French society hasn't even been tallied.

Gina Cobb has 10 unanswered questions about the riots, including who is going to pay for all the damage.

Last nite, despite the fact that fewer cars were torched than the past few nights, more schools got lit. I call that progress.

The media has been trying to paint Nicolas Sarkozy as one of the bad guys in this whole mess, but those who aren't rioting in France are looking at Sarkozy as one of the few national leaders actually trying to do something to stop the rioting and restore law and order.
Many of these neighbourhoods had no police there at all. The police simply didn’t go there. Sarkozy’s trying to change that, and a lot of the criminals don’t like it. This is the great irony -- in socialist France, the banlieu residents are proving the capitalists right, showing that everyone, left to their own devices and free of state interference, will become enterprising and seek to make a profit.

These young people did just that -- they got into crime, and set up all kinds of rackets with stolen goods, cars, drugs, you name it. With unemployment so high, and policing almost non-existent, crime was the number one industry in some of these neighbourhoods. What you’re seeing in the riots now is really just the same thing that happens when the government tries to privatise some public company, and the unions go on strike.

This is the French banlieu criminal union going on strike. The French government is trying to take away their gainful employment, and they’re not happy about it. Who said these kids weren’t real Frenchmen?
The French are extending their police powers since the original declaration didn't stop the violence. And Captain Ed is wondering if Sarkozy and de Villepin are running the show with Chirac being so far in the background on this crisis that he's barely registering in media reports at all.
So far, it seems that the curfews have kept the bandwagoneers off the streets, as well as any citizens that might oppose the hardcore, organized effort to force France into creating official autonomous no-go zones. While the French police have long treated these neighborhoods as such, the Muslims want official status so that they can introduce sharia law in the center of Europe.

With the Chirac government looking like a deer in the headlights, the French have to ask themselves what they have gained so far from the emergency powers and loss of assembly rights they have already granted to Chirac. He's barely been seen since the crisis first arose; where is his leadership? Has Nicolas Sarkozy and Dominique de Villepin simply bypassed him in favor of a split executive?
And you know what else hasn't gotten enough coverage? The fact that the rioting isn't solely confined to France. Dennis Prager asks some important questions about the rioting, and Muslim involvment in world affairs.

Is there an anti-Semitic component to the riots? Possibly.
Moslem riots in France have fanned anti-Semitism, and four synagogues and Jewish schools have been firebombed, despite Jewish media reports that Jews are not being targeted more than others.

"Walter H," who lives in France, stated that the violence against Jews has been country-wide. "In Lyon, a car was rammed into a synagogue and set on fire. In
Montpellier, the Jewish religious center was firebombed [as] were synagogues in Strasbourg and Marseilles [and] a Jewish school in Creteil," he wrote in an e-mail..

He also related that a Jewish sports club in Toulouse was attacked with Molotov cocktails and that vandals painted the words "Dirty Jew" on a statute of Alfred Dreyfus in Paris. He added, "15 men beat up members of a Jewish football team with sticks" in Bondy.
It would be nice to have additional confirmation of this story, but the media is characteristically silent over where and how the rioters are acting. In fact, the Arutz Sheva story includes the following, which disputes 'Walter's' claims:
Manek Weintraub, a leader in the Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) told the British website, "So far nothing has happened. There was a Molotov cocktail that seems to have been hurled at a small synagogue but nobody really knows about it. It [the riots] will concern the public authorities but Jews are largely absent from the story, which is welcome."

According to this report, the car torch metric is showing that the riots are subsiding. Yeah, to pre-riot levels where an average of 100 cars are torched on a 'normal' Saturday night. Is this normal to consider widespread vandalism and violence normal?
Youths set fire to 374 parked vehicles before dawn yesterday, compared to 502 the previous night, police said. A week ago, 1,400 cars were incinerated in a single night.

If the downward trend continues, "things could return to normal very quickly," National Police Chief Michel Gaudin said, noting that French youths burn about 100 cars on an average Saturday night.

The unrest continued for an 18th night yesterday. In Toulouse, rioters rammed a car into a primary school before setting the building ablaze.
Someone isn't doing their job if 100 cars are being torched on a nightly basis.

Monsters and Critics picked up a UPI story about the economic aid that the EU is throwing France's way to throw money at the problems.
The French government has already announced a package of social reforms designed to give career guidance and job placements to all the young unemployed below the age of 25 in the poorest suburbs. The government also plans tax breaks for companies who start branch offices or businesses in the poorest public housing districts where the bulk of two weeks of riots have taken place, with more than 8,000 vehicles torched and more than 3,000 arrests.

The government is also offering a $1,160 lump sum for jobless people who return to work, plus another $174 a month for a year. It has pledged to hire 5,000 extra teachers and teaching assistants and 10,000 scholarships to encourage those with high marks to stay in school, and will open 10 new boarding schools for those who want to leave their run-down housing estates to study.

With scattered incidents of rioting in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland, the EU is taking the view that the French riots, launched mainly by the teenage children of Arab and African immigrants is becoming a broader European problem. Brussels had its worst night over the weekend, with 42 vehicles torched.

A new problem, however, is developing in France with the exhaustion and morale of the police, even though the intensity of the riots is slowing. According to the national police directorate, 271 vehicles were burned and 112 people arrested Sunday night, a fall from the 374 vehicles and 206 arrests Saturday. Earlier last week, more than 1,000 vehicles a night were being torched.

Two police unions have demanded the released of one officer detained after French TV filmed the kicking and beating of one young black in the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, and another police union is threatening to call a 'minimum service,' a work-to-rule with no overtime, one step short of calling a strike.
So, the response to the violence is to give the unemployed $3,234 over the course of a year, increase schooling while the police unions are one step away from walking off the job because they've gotten no support from the federal government? The French government is trying to buy off the rioters, while disregarding those who actually have to maintain the law and order in France.

Everyone is watching the situation in France, and the rest of the Continent is worried because even if the French manage to get this situation under control this time, they're in a poor position to stop it the next time. Eighteen days and the rioting is persisting. No Pasaran notes that the government has extended the emergency powers for three months and 40 municipalities have instituted curfews to try and contain the violence:
Despite government and MSM claims that order is restored, there are still several areas hit by regular violence and over 40 muncipalities making use of curfew.

Pierre Legrand notices how the media has gone out of its way to avoid mentioning the churches and Jewish institutions that have been attacked by the rioters, but the media hyped the report of the mosque that was attacked.

Michelle Malkin notes the problems some of the media have had in trying to describe who the rioters are. In one instance, the CNN talking head referred to the two French teenagers of Tunisian descent whose death sparked the Paris riots as "African-American." You can't make this stuff up.

The AP Deficit Disorder. That sums things up pretty nicely.

The Chirac speaks. And he proclaims that France is experiencing a profound malaise. How typically French. Actually, that's typical British stiff upper lip, but what's a few miles and a swim across the English Channel among friends? Oh, and about that lull in the violence? 280 cars were torched last night, compared with 374 the night before.

Just another night in paradise if you ask me. Of course the rioting had torched more than 1,000 cars on a few nights about a week back, but you might have missed that if you were reading the New York Times or any of the big media outlets. The damage thus far has cost more than 200 million euros. That's not quite chump change for an economy tettering on the precipice.

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