Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Season in Hell

In America people would have laughed if they'd asked him what he does for a living, and Jean-Marie had said: "I am an intellectual." Oh, he's a taxi driver, a waiter, a janitor. That's the low opinion most Americans have of intellectuals, and sometimes deservedly. But to translate that into French it means our man is a thinker first, and his source of money is incidental. We can thank the French Revolution for that. And deservedly so. But what is the average French intellectual to make of the sixth day of rioting in the suburbs of Paris now? Is working class solidarity going to hold out when there is no working class left? Is philobarbarism and anti-Americanism all there is to the Revolution anymore? What is to become of the revolutionary heritage of France? Where do the intellectuals stand now that the savages are burning the place to the ground, and the peasants aren't Republicans at all? Are the Muslim sans culottes the vanguard of the new revolution of Man? The French have brought this madness upon themselves, and now Americans are going to laugh. But it's not funny. Eurabia is upon us. It will only get worse, and where will the intelligentsia stand? Are the French going to think themselves right out of existence? This is the merest beginning of the war for France. Either Republican values advance and triumph over the barbarian world or the world sinks into barbarism, and Paris burns to the ground. Le Pen has friends, sorry to say, and he'll find more daily as the riots simmer till spring. The intellectuals will tire of the pose of Left fascism, and the fascist Right will rise up like it did with the end of Leon Blum. Let the snow cover this for now, and the savages will come back in the spring full grown and searching for new places to spread to. In the cafes intellectuals will mutter that this isn't what they wanted at all.

Or is it? Maybe this is exactly what the French want. And if it is, how long will they like it? Then what?

PARIS — Unrest spread across troubled suburbs around Paris in a sixth night of violence Tuesday as police clashed with angry youths and scores of vehicles were torched in at least nine towns, local officials said.

Police in riot gear fired rubber bullets at advancing gangs of youths in Aulnay-sous-Bois — one of the worst-hit suburbs — where 15 cars were burned, said the prefecture that runs the Seine-Saint-Denis (search) region. Youths lobbed Molotov cocktails at an annex to the town hall and threw stones at the firehouse. It was not immediately clear whether there were injuries from the clashes.

Caught in the middle

By Peter Fray, James Clark
April 19, 2004

As he sits outside shelling peanuts at a wobbly table, Mohamed is not outwardly troubled by the arrest of several young Muslims from his neighbourhood on terrorism charges the day before. The president of the local mosque, he seems resigned to the suspicions that he and millions of French Muslims face every day.

"Sometimes the police call me up about young kids burning cars and want to know why they've done this, and I say, 'Mister, they've done something stupid, but it's not because they are Muslims'," he says.

Mohamed, who declined to give his surname, lives in Aulnay-sous-Bois, a suburb of medium-rise flats in Paris's north-west, near Charles de Gaulle Airport. In this area, the satellite TV dishes point to north Africa and the argot on the streets is Arabic and heavily-accented French. There is nothing pretty about Aulnay-sous-Bois.

To authorities, it is a "chaud" — or "hot" — area, a place where young Muslims, mainly of Moroccan and Algerian extraction, are turning to crime and radical Islam. The day before The Age visited, police arrested 13 suspected terrorists from Aulnay and a similar area, Mantes la Jolie, over alleged links to last May's Casablanca bombings, which left 45 people dead.

The French can intellectualize till the cows come home, but come April in Paris the sauvages will come out to play, and they'll make the French les miserables.
Photo Credit: fr.altermedia.info/index.php?m=2004&w=48

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