Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Background to the Paris/France events this past week

Naima Bouteldja has written an article explaining the reason behind some of the unrest that has manifested in violence and anger these past 12 days in France:
"Clichy-sous-Bois, the impoverished and segregated north-eastern suburb of Paris where the two men lived and where the violent reaction to their deaths began, was a ticking bomb for the kind of dramatic social upheaval we are currently witnessing. Half its inhabitants are under 20, unemployment is above 40% and identity checks and police harassment are a daily experience."
"Four days after the deaths in Clichy-sous-Bois, just as community leaders were beginning to calm the situation, the security forces reignited the fire by emptying teargas canisters inside a mosque. The official reason for the police action: a badly parked car in front of it. The government refuses to offer any apology to the Muslim community."
Trevor Phillips looks at the situations political implications and the problems of race/class relations not only in France but across Europe and the US..
"Prime Minister Dominique Villepin called emergency cabinet meetings, met the bereaved parents and urged a moderate response. His rival for the presidency, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, having denounced the rioting youths as 'scum', ordered a police lockdown. Whoever wins this power struggle will instantly become the frontrunner for the top job.
"Our French neighbours are giving us the loudest alarm call they can. Wake up, everybody."
Maybe the Gulf should be listening too..How long will the majority in this country for instance accept to be denigrated and left to substandard existence by the minority? tick-tock...
"The Sydney Morn. Herald has an interesting article called Hooded children of the revolution which situates the riots within a youth movement that has taken it's cue from the race issues in American culture as opposed to from their Muslim background:"
"Although many of the rioters come from Muslim backgrounds, "these guys are building a new idea of themselves based on American street culture. It's a youth riot - they are protesting against the fact that they are supposed to be full French citizens and they are not."
As black Americans in the 1960s objected to police using the word "boy", so today's French rioters want police to stop insultingly addressing them with the familiar form of you, "tu"."
For those of you who speak French:
Le Monde: Les violences urbaines au jour le jour (this is worth a look even if only for the photos. It's a day-by-day of the events)

Words of the day:

Banlieue:It means suburb, but has come to be more often used to mean the equivalent of a ghetto or what would be 'the projects' in the US.. Clichy-sous bois is this type of banlieue. The word splashed onto the global mainstream with the film 'Hate', but even before that, the Banlieue was represented in films like 'The Sound and the Fury' and Tea in the Harem.

Les Flics: The Cops (french)


nazzal said...

I read Bouteldja too , at CounterPunch , and there where another article by Ralph Nader , a related subject to
your comment of "Maybe the Gulf should be listening too "


kwtia said...

Hi Nazzal,
Thanks for the link..I don't read counterpunch very often but whenever I do, I have to go through all the articles in one go..the headlines on the left hand column are always eye-catching..