Skip to comments.How the French riot
Posted on 11/03/2005 2:34:49 PM PST by 1066AD
Thursday 03 November 2005
How the French riot Theodore Dalrymple
Les Vans, Ardèche
For a patriot like me, it is a great consolation to know that other societies are undergoing precisely the kind of decomposition, if a little more slowly and with slightly more resistance to it, in which we so clearly lead the world. This reassures me that, eventually, nowhere will be better than Britain, and then I will be able once again, like George III, to rejoice in the name of Briton.
In France, for example, it was not many years ago that people with tattoos were infrequently to be seen, but now they are everywhere. The small bourgeois town near my house boasts not one but two tattoo and piercing studios, inscribing indelible kitsch on the skins of the dim and tasteless young. The latter hope thereby to achieve an individuality of which a total immersion in popular culture deprives them: therefore a scorpion above a nipple or a snake over the deltoid provides them with a unique character that they would otherwise lack.
Though the term Anglo-Saxon is one of reprobation, often but not always rightly, in the French press, the fact is that they the French follow us in the end, especially in our foolishnesses. They have followed our teaching methods, for example, in the state schools, to the great detriment of the poor and the great advantage of the bureaucratic elite. Anglo-Saxon means modern, and modern means the latest thing; and in a nation of the fashion-conscious the latest thing means the best thing, to be without which is to be ...well, démodé.
They even have small riots like ours. This proves that they are up to speed on the latest social developments. A few days after the attempted pogrom in Lozells, Birmingham, there was a two-night riot in the charmingly named Clichy-sous-Bois, where you might have imagined that many Britons had bought properties for a song, about whose improvements both in amenities and monetary value they so boringly boasted at dinner parties.
Alas, property in Clichy-sous-Bois is probably quite cheap, but not because the original inhabitants have fled its rural isolation. Its a suburb of Paris, social housing territory, and social housing, in modern societies at any rate, means antisocial behaviour. Such areas are, in effect, riots waiting to happen.
The cause of the riot, apart from the relatively clement weather for the time of year that is a necessary but not sufficient cause of such rioting, was the death of two youths and the severe burns of another. They apparently formed members of a group of 15 who were peacefully breaking into a workshop when the police arrived and arrested six of them. Unlike the 14-year-old girl in Lozells who was allegedly raped by the friends and associates of the shopkeeper from whose shop she had been peacefully shoplifting, the three youths of Clichy-sous-Bois were incontestably real.
They fled and took refuge in an electricity transformer by climbing over two walls complete with eloquent notices that millions of volts were bad for you, where two of them were electrocuted to death and one suffered severe burns. The two dead were of Turkish and Malian extraction; perhaps the new methods of teaching had left them unable to read, at least at speed.
The police felt it politic, in order to calm the situation, to issue a statement to the effect that the three were not being chased physically at the time of their sanctuary in the installation of Electricité de France but, as the good book says, the guilty fleeth where no man pursueth.
Alas, the polices sensitivity did not calm the situation; it was too late. Rioting at the terrible injustice done to the three youths ensued, kindergartens and schools were stoned in natural consequence of their martyrdom, and 28 cars were burnt. The fact that the cars probably belonged to poor inhabitants of the quartier did not inhibit the rioters, or even give them pause; in such a situation it is self-expression that counts. A shot was fired at one of the armoured vehicles carrying the forces of law if not of order, and pierced its armour: a testimony to the increasing fire-power of the slums.
The imam of the area said, on one of the days following the rioting, that arrests in Clichy-sous-Bois were often strong-armed, and that therefore youths felt humiliated by them. I accept, of course, that the French police are not universally appreciated for their tact or delicacy; nevertheless, this seems to be taking the doctrine of every youths inalienable right to self-esteem a little far. It is surely stretching credibility to suggest that strong-armed tactics are never required, and that the youths of Clichy-sous-Bois always come quietly, with a frank acknowledgement of the fairness of their arrest.
The headmistress of one of the stoned kindergartens said that Clichy-sous-Bois was not a particularly bad area. It was generally peaceful, but there was petty theft, and cars were sometimes festively burnt on Christmas and New Years Day, but that was all. The parents of her pupils were shocked by what had happened.
According to Le Monde, they marched in homage to the deceased on the day following the rioting. Were they heroes of the resistance, then? If so, resistance to what? To social security, social housing, and the mobile telephones with which some of the rioters were reported to have called in reinforcements from elsewhere? To the inflexibility of Frances labour laws, which protect those already in employment but prevent the unemployed from finding work? The deaths of the two were a tragedy to those who loved them, of course, and it is tragic also that youths feel that breaking into workshops gives meaning to life, but even allowing for the impetuosity of youth it is difficult to see anything in their conduct worthy of homage.
How widespread is disorder in the suburbs of French towns and cities? The interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has built a career on emphasising its scope. In an interview with Le Monde, he once said that 9,000 police vehicles had been stoned in the previous ten months, and that between 20 and 40 cars were burnt out every night in France. Certainly, the latter figure is not an exaggeration: every suburb worth its salt is littered with the carcasses of burnt-out cars. If Britain is the car-theft champion of the world, France is the vehicle-arson champion.
In defence of French social underdevelopment, however, it must be said that arson is much less likely to bother members of the French bourgeoisie than is car-theft to bother members of the British bourgeoisie. In France, your car will not be burnt out unless you are at least teetering on the edge of relative poverty. Despite the animadversions of the French press about savage liberalism, therefore, Britain is a much more egalitarian society than France, where criminality is so much better zoned.
He also wrote the prophetic piece "Barbarians at the gates of Paris" http://www.city-journal.org/html/12_4_the_barbarians.html
...don't tell me they hold out their pinkies
Number of cars burned in Baghdad this year = less than 8000
"cars were sometimes festively burnt on Christmas and New Years Day"
"between 20 and 40 cars were burnt out every night in France"
WTF. What's the statistics for nightly burnt cars here in the US?
He is very good.
Great article, and thanks for mentioning his earlier piece. It's spot on.
".... a group of 15 who were peacefully breaking into a workshop when the police arrived ...."
Nice - just the right amount of sarcasm.
I agree with you. My understanding was the rioters were Muslim Anyone know for sure?
Actually, the French are revolting.
Yeah, what's the author talking about?
The French aren't rioting; the Muslims are.
Revolting? They stink on ice.
Not to take anything away from the article, but maybe the irony of the whole situation is becoming so obvious that it is easy to do so....
This guy has a way with words!
How does one pronounce the authors last name? Looks like a joke to me.
"They're always pronounced
Throatwarbler Mangrove. That's how
Euro names function.
Those stupid kids that went into the electrical enclosure sure got reVOLTed!
Got it! :)
It's first and second generation North African-French Muslim immigrants.
That would be pronounced "Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr".
Actually Dalrymple is a real name. Clay Dalrymple played baseball for the Phillies in the 60s. Batted .172 in 1967. http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/dalrycl01.shtml
Yeah, I'm happy to hear they got a charge out of it...
He's a prison doctor in the UK tho' I thought I read he'd retired and was going to use his real name now. He can get very wordy but is almost always worth the read. A lot is here:
Then the w on the end must be a typo. It was that darn w that threw me!
Pretty much like people in urban US cities do--blow up stuff in their own neighbourhoods and make the economic conditions afterwards 100% worse. Think of Watts, etc.
Someone posted on another thread that we have better riots than France!
Yeah, I too saw the 'w' version of it but after I sent my post. If you look, there are two spellings of it and the 'w' must be the wrong one. It does look weird.
BIG BUMP !!!
Burn down the grocery store, the gas station, the car dealer, the hardware store. In a few months they will be screaming, "Discrimination! We have no stores to shop in!"
C'mon France, open up your doors and let some more muzzies in. Don't you want to show the world how tolerant and politically correct you are? At least you can smile and feel good while they are killing you.
Yah, we know, now what's going on?
We know what to do:
Well, the ones who got zapped were certainly heroes of resistance.
For a moment. I thought it was the Welsh spelling; but, IIRC, that would be "Dylrympwyllw."
(1) Terrorists who use explosives are called "bombers."
(2) "Youth" means Muslim youth.
(3) Rioters are apparently not to be called rioters anymore
Which is pretty much what happened after the riots in Watts and South Central and other such places.
That's probably the first 12 letters in a 50 letter town name.
If Britain is the car-theft champion of the world, France is the vehicle-arson champion.
Hense the term,"Autoflambe".
A short history of French surrenders table of contents
Alésia, Gaul, 52 B.C. Vercingétorix surrenders to Julius Caesar. However, Astérix will always win.
Crécy, France, 1337, and Agincourt, France, 1415. The French surrender to the English, because they don't have the nuclear weapon (yet). A few battles are lost, but the war is not over: Joan of Arc will expel the English from France on her own. Almost.
Montreal, Quebec, 1760. the French lose Quebec. But who cares? What's important for us, French people, is that a Frenchman, Jacques Cartier, has previously discovered Canada.
Paris, France, 31 March 1814. Invading Europe has been a piece of cake for Napoleon Bonaparte (ok, 15 years earlier he abandoned his defeated army in Egypt, but he brought so many Egyptian treasures to France that it was almost a victory). He has brought good French laws, French civilization and the French idea of freedom to countries previously rules by stubborn and old-fashioned kings. But every story has en ending. Napoleon suffers from an illness called hubris, and he now surrenders to anybody who surrendered to him before.
Waterloo, Belgium, 18 June 1815. Napoleon, during his holidays on the island of Elba, gets bored. He comes back and takes over France on his own. Almost. Then he surrenders to Wellington in Belgium, probably because nothing interesting has ever happened there. Read Astérix in Belgium for details about the battle.
France, 26 February 1871. Bismarck's Germany defeats Napoleon's nephew. France loses Alsace and Lorraine. The French are really pissed off. This is only a temporary defeat. Pupils in schools learn that they will take revenge one day. Read on.
France, 1914-1918. France does not surrender. The nation proudly resists Germany during four years and leads an Allied coalition which, owing to the help of the United States and other countries, eventually defeats Germany. By way of consequence, millions of people die, national treasures disappear, large parts of the country are devastated. Pétain becomes a national hero because he has killed 300 times more people in Verdun than Ousama Bin Laden later in New York. France and the Allies force Germany to pay huge and unfair war penalties. The Germans are really pissed off. Read on.
Rethondes, France, 22 June 1940. Pétain is now an old and wise man. That's why he chooses to surrender to the Germans, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Then he sets up a soft fascist governement, which turns into a hard nazi government. The Jews lose their French nationality, and many of them are sent to Hitler before he even asks for them. Cowardice is not always good, after all. Of course, this is not really a French defeat. The real France is De Gaulle's Free France in London, which will eventually liberate Paris and help the Allies to defeat Germany. End of story.
Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam, 8 May 1954. General de Castries surrenders to the Viet Minh. It's difficult to turn that defeat into a victory, so we'll just try to forget about it. After all, even the US, who thought they had a hell of an army, were to be humiliated later in Vietnam.
Korea, June 2002. The French football team, just like Napoleon, are bored with winning every competition they take part in. So they bring their wives to the World Cup, lose their matches, and leave Korea soon. Then the French media support Senegal because the Senegalese are nice, they speak French and they play in French clubs, so their victories are almost a French success. Later Brazil wins the tournament owing to a stunning performance by Ronaldo. So the journalists remember that Ronaldo's health problems have been cured by French doctors. So, again, this is a kind of French victory, in a way.
2. A short conclusion table of contents
The foreign point of view: France loses wars. However, this country of losers, in spite of all the wars it has fought, has existed as a political unit for more than a millenium with only short interruptions. This is difficult to understand.
The French point of view, which is implicit in schoolbooks and in the media: France doesn't really lose wars. Defeats are temporary, or they are victories from another point of view. France loses when it's not really France. And when someone wins, there must be something French about it. For example, when a foreign movie is good and successful, there is often French money in it. France is a big country when you're inside.
Don't blame the French. National spirit, that warm and comforting sensation you feel when you waive a flag and congratulate yourself, is always based on overstatements and historical inaccuracies. Even in your country.
read later bump
My sympathy to our French confreres. What a shame, mes amis. Now stop pointing your fingers at us.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates:
In 2002, there were 41,000 intentionally set vehicle fires (up 3.8% from 2001).
Uniform Crime Reports: Crime in the United States, Annual, 2001
Table 2.32: Arson, 2001
[12,155 agencies; 2001 estimated population 222,587,680]
Classification: vehicles, 22,381
Average damage $11,098
When compared to French statistic of "30 to 40 per night", which would equal 10,500 to 14,600 annually in a population of (2001) 61,1000,000, which is one-third that of the U.S., their vehicle arson rate is higher. To equal France's, ours would have to be 30,000 to 43,000. To equal ours, theirs would have to be 7,400.
You remember correctly: I'm Welsh. Guess that spelling shouldn't have looked so odd to me!
Il n'y a pas d'honte être français. Il y a seulement l'honte dans rester de français.
(There is no shame in being French. There is only shame in staying French.)
LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)
Je vive pour servir!