Monday, December 03, 2007

French Still Life with Running Commentary

From The Sunday Times
December 2, 2007

France stunned by rioters' savagery

Matthew Campbell, Villiers-le-Bel

IN retrospect, it was not a good idea to have left his pistol at home. Called to the scene of a traffic accident in the Paris suburbs last Sunday, Jean-Fran├žois Illy, a regional police chief, came face to face with a mob of immigrant youths armed with baseball bats, iron bars and shotguns.

What happened next has sickened the nation. As Illy tried to reassure the gang that there would be an investigation into the deaths of two teenagers whose motorbike had just collided with a police car, he heard a voice shouting: "Somebody must pay for this. Some pigs must die tonight!"

The 43-year-old commissaire realised it was time to leave, but that was not possible: they set his car ablaze. He stood as the mob closed in on him, parrying the first few baseball bat blows with his arms. An iron bar in the face knocked him down.

"I tried to roll myself into a ball on the ground," said Illy from his hospital bed. He was breathing with difficulty because several of his ribs had been broken and one had punctured his lung.

His bruised and bloodied face signalled a worrying new level of barbarity in the mainly Muslim banlieues, where organised gangs of rioters used guns against police in a two-day rampage of looting and burning last week.

Wow. The Americans on this board seem to have no idea of the racial / religious makeup of Europe. To say that "whites" will be the minority by 2050 is so far off the mark it's hilarious. The riots in France are not linked to religion. Its to do with the fact that France did not assimalate immigrates into their society. This is something that has happened in the UK, hence we do not have these issues. That is a testament to the British way of life. A tolerant society that is inclusive.... JJ, London, UK

Not far from where Illy was lying was a policeman who lost his right eye after being hit by pellets from a shotgun. Another policeman displayed a hole the size of a 10p coin in his shoulder where a bullet had passed through his body armour.

The flipside of the coin, of course, is the unspeakable barbarity, racism and viciousness of the French police. France is a notably racist country. In many small corners of the country shopkeeper will refuse to even serve black people, and the police have inflicted untold horrors on black and arab men and women in cells across the country. France is not a liberal society under attack from the beast within, it is a truly savage and bigoted one reaping its own personal whirlwind. John Ngobu, Paris

Altogether 130 policemen were injured, dozens by shotgun pellets and shells packed with nails that were fired from a homemade bazooka. It prompted talk of urban "guerrilla warfare" being waged on French streets against the forces of law and order.


Things were so tense in the suburbs, however, that the riots could easily erupt again with the prospect of deaths on either side setting off a much greater explosion and, conceivably, the deployment of the army to keep peace.

"Given the weapons being used, it was lucky that nobody was killed," said a policeman. Nearby were the charred remains of the local constabulary. The nursery school was burnt down. So was the library.

What is wrong with you people on here? The blatant, unashamed racism is absolutely disgusting. Hanging on to the one, hardly necessary and inflamatory, phrase "mainly Muslim banlieues" and ignoring the social problems in French society due to the employment situation. Has anyone even read about how grim life is in the bad banlieues?

So to just hang on to the religion aspect of it and blame everything on them because they are Muslim is ignorant. It is also ignorant to assume they must be there because they are new immigrants, or much be French citizens because they naturalised. I know it must be terribly shocking but Muslims can actually be born in Western countries!! I know this will also come as a shock, but people who identify as other religions as well as those obviously intellectually superior secularists also committ horrible crimes and riot!! Mindblowing isn't it. Lindsay, Lincoln, England

Rioting two years ago was widely regarded as a protest against poor housing, racial discrimination and unemployment of up to 40% in the grim housing estates surrounding most big French cities. But "Sarko" dismissed suggestions that nothing had been done to improve the situation, referring to the "Marshall plan" for the banlieues being drawn up by Fadela Amara, his urban development minister. At the same time he argued that, far from reflecting difficult living conditions, the violence was a result of the "thugocracy" of the suburbs, where drug-trafficking criminals held sway. "We shouldn't try to excuse the inexcusable," said the president in a television address to an anxious nation on Thursday, ridiculing the left's vision of rioters as "victims of social injustice". He pledged that those who fired at police would be tracked down, one by one, and tried on charges of attempted murder.

if anyone had had a fleeting glance at french history, they would know that the people living in these suburbs are mainly descendents of algerians and other french colonies brought over by the french to rebuild the country. Algeria was considered to be a french 'departement', just like normandy or britany, and its citizens french. I think i would be pretty annoyed if i was sidelined to some run-down banlieue, and it's very easy for the relatively well-off who have no idea what it is to live in these conditions, myself included, to class these rioters as 'savages'. Violence should never be condoned, but how are these people, neglected by the french education and social system, meant to have the capability for an alternative method of showing their contempt? natasha, brighton


"It felt like they were out to kill us," said one of the officers in Villiers-le-Bel last week. "We knew that there were weapons in the suburbs, but they have never been turned against us like that. The kids were shooting at us at close range, loading and reloading their weapons. I've never seen anything like it."

What extraordinary ignorance and complete incomprehension from the majority of commentators here. Keep reading Mark Steyn and stocking up on guns, guys. The boogyman's comin' to getcha !

I guess all the riots in America and elsewhere were "evil Muslims that hate your freedom" too ? No ?

The root causes are NOT religion or immigration, but because they don't sell headlines as well as the "fearrorism" that so many of the more right-wing leaning "Law und Order" papers rush to sell to a fearrorised public, they get ignored. Shame, really. Pierre, Nimes, France


As for Illy, he says he is not feeling vengeful but has identified one of his attackers from police photographs. He is certain to be able to pinpoint the rest. "Fortunately," he said, "I've got a very good memory."

Click here for a video of the Paris riots

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