Bloomberg.com has the best reporting I have seen so far on the war on the western front:
In the 12th night of rioting, French police said 1,173 cars were torched in 226 districts in cities including Toulouse, Lyon, Marseille and Avignon, bringing the total of burned vehicles to almost 6,000. The euro fell to a two-year low against the dollar as incidents of violence were reported in Germany and Belgium.
The rioting is the longest stretch of urban violence in France since a student uprising in 1968, reflecting tensions in neighborhoods marked by large immigrant communities and youth unemployment of more than 30 percent. It puts pressure on the government to better integrate largely Muslim communities, and sets immigration and equal opportunity at the center of the political debate 18 months before presidential elections.
They actually used the ‘M’ word but then they come to the conclusion that more socialism is needed:
In a bid to help cool tensions, de Villepin proposed boosting spending on training and education programs in poor neighborhoods and called for the country to step up its fight against discrimination of minorities.
De Villepin’s call for increased spending on training programs comes amid rising unemployment among immigrants. Last year, 17.4 percent of immigrants were unemployed, compared with 9.2 percent for non-immigrants, says Insee, the Paris-based government statistics office. For the same education level, immigrants are more likely to be unemployed, it said.
“Youth unemployment reaches almost 40 percent in some areas,” de Villepin said. He added that the goal of the government will be to give unemployed youth living in France’s “sensitive urban areas” a work contract, an internship or training in coming months.
De Villepin also said he will restore government subsidies to local associations scrapped by his predecessor and aims to triple scholarships and improve links between universities and students living in poor areas.
The prime minister said in the interview that students must be able to join vocational training programs at the age of 14 instead of 16. Almost 150,000 students drop out of school without a diploma or a skill each year, according to the prime minister.
De Villepin also called for businesses and the population as a whole to fight ethnic discrimination. The government wants to make sure that the riots aren’t used by “radical Islam,” which is not the “main” concern at the moment, he said.
That’s not entirely fair to all the French government officials. This one appears to have a clue and the strength of character to admit failure. From the Independent (UK):
The Socialist mayor of Noisy-le Grand, Michel Pajon, called for the army to be brought in. “I am sounding the alarm,” he said. “You can’t let things get as bad as this.” He said he recognised that for a Socialist to ask for military intervention was “an absolutely unimaginable admission of failure”. M. de Villepin said he did not plan to bring in the military at this stage.
Ever since 9/11, I’ve been gloomily predicting the European powder keg’s about to go up. ”By 2010 we’ll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on the news every night,” I wrote in Canada’s Western Standard back in February.
Silly me. The Eurabian civil war appears to have started some years ahead of my optimistic schedule.
This observation of Mr. Steyn was of particular interest to me:
The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America’s Europhiles, France’s Arab street correctly identified Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.
How interesting! I read in another article about 10% of the population in France is Muslim. That makes France’s response (opposition) to our war on terrorists a little more rational–they had their own people being held hostage.
I really should read some world history on this war that has been going on for the last 1300 years or so. Mr. Steyn gives us a short lesson:
The French have been here before, of course. Seven-thirty-two. Not 7:32 Paris time, which is when the nightly Citroen-torching begins, but 732 A.D. — as in one and a third millennia ago. By then, the Muslims had advanced a thousand miles north of Gibraltar to control Spain and southern France up to the banks of the Loire. In October 732, the Moorish general Abd al-Rahman and his Muslim army were not exactly at the gates of Paris, but they were within 200 miles, just south of the great Frankish shrine of St. Martin of Tours. Somewhere on the road between Poitiers and Tours, they met a Frankish force and, unlike other Christian armies in Europe, this one held its ground ”like a wall . . . a firm glacial mass,” as the Chronicle of Isidore puts it. A week later, Abd al-Rahman was dead, the Muslims were heading south, and the French general, Charles, had earned himself the surname ”Martel” — or ”the Hammer.”
And he makes an frightening observation about the present and the future:
If Chirac isn’t exactly Charles Martel, the rioters aren’t doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They’re seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the ‘burbs gets you more ”respect” from Chirac, they’ll burn ’em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: ”The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.” Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages.
Ry and I were chatting yesterday and we were of the opinion that if it weren’t for the nukes France has we should just let France burn and serve as an example for the rest of Europe. There are many lessons to be learned from such an example: 1) The government can’t always protect you–there is a reason for the right to keep and bear arms, 2) The extremist Muslim culture must be destroyed, 3) Socialism is (again) proved a failure, and 4) Probably most importantly–appeasement is never a viable long term solution.
But because they do have nukes which we cannot let fall into the hands of the terrorists we probably will have to get involved as France falls. It’s possible that France will not fall but I’m not hopeful. There is no unity in their government and they are candidates for a When Prophecy Fails award with their proposed solution of more socialism to stop the riots. My initial heartless, cold blooded, rational approach to the problem of the nukes is to watch the situation carefully and when it becomes clear the nukes will fall into the hands of the terrorists to preemptively strike them with our own nukes. We don’t have the manpower to seize them so we must destroy them in such a way that the materials are not salvageable. That’s the ruthless, heartless approach. There may be another way. Perhaps we could make an offer to the French to transport the nukes and government officials to a safe location prior to them falling into the wrong hands. I’m thinking maybe Quebec would have them. I’m not sure I want Quebec in possession of nukes but it’s better than Islamic extremists having them.