France: Riots 'outbursts of hate and anti-French racism'

France: Riots 'outbursts of hate and anti-French racism'

Yesterday I posted an article about the French rioters, many of whom are disaffected youth from the ghettos. Today a reader sent me two more articles which point the finger at North-African Muslim youth.

Ivan Rioufol, of Le Figaro, wrote the following on his blog (FR):

All students are obviously not rioters. But the rioters of the past few days - and Wednesday morning again in the center of Lyon - are indeed students. They are, mainly, from the ghettos. The hooded people aren't marching to defend retirement at 60, or even the welfare system which enticed their parents or grandparents.

They're there to battle the Republic, its culture and it's most visible symbols: the security forces, the schools. That's why a school was burned down in Mans. The scenes of urban guerrilla warfare that they're reproducing are very similar to the images of the intifada of the young Palestinians confronting the Israeli forces. Comparisons are misleading, but these ethnic insurrections of youth who are often of Muslim culture, also reject the state seen as a colonizer and oppressor. These wild people, each time more intrepid and organized, remind us of the failure of their integration.

These raids contradict the lullabies which assure us that France controls immigration. "Integration works," says, for example former assistant of PM Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Hakim El Karoui (LeMonde, 10-11 October).

There are of course many success stories which should be further developed. But France, not to the annoyance of conservatives, is the only country in Europe to experience such identity fractures, which from now divides the youth and drives more and more to civil strife.

Germany, which recently acknowledge the failure of its multicultural approach, does not face such outbursts of hate and, in fact, anti-French racism. It is therefore urgent to open our eyes to this reality, which many want to deny as it gets more visible. What's happening with these thugs, is a refusal to integrate into a society that they reject culturally. This is a challenge that the Republic must tackle.

Le Progrès also looks at the rioters (FR):

"Who are the troublemakers who have been plaguing Lyon since Tuesday? In most cases until yesterday evening (when the population was much more heterogeneous), they were youths descended of the North African immigration, aged 14 to 18. Among those who were interrogated by the police, some where already known to the police, others not at all.

What characterized them: they are most often - but not exclusively - enrolled in vocational schools in greater Lyon: in the suburbs and neighborhoods of Oullins, Vaulx-en-Velin, Vénissieux, Bron, Lyon 4th, Lyon 8th, Rillieux, Saint-Priest, Villeurbanne, Décines and Dardilly, as we've seen in discussions with various groups, yesterday and today, at Bellecour Sqaure in Lyon.

An official of the SNES-FSU teacher's union refers to a climate which is more serious than in former years in the vocational schools, due to a reform which led to organizational problems: the students perceive stress in their teachers, and it reflects on them.

These agitators aren't all male. All observers were struck by the significant presence in the streets of young girls of the same age, also often educated in vocational schools. On a street in the 3rd arrondissement of Lyon, yesterday afternoon, we saw one of them pick up a stone, following her male counterparts who were throwing stones at shop-windows.

As for the motivation, there are various. While most want to get worked up and are there to battle the police, others (like on Victor-Hugo street) intended to fill their pockets by robbing stores. The pension reform is mentioned - but is it just words? The apprentice plumber and the young plasterer - who say they want to lay it into the police - also say that they don't want to work for the next 50 years, when they've already been working for 15.

On Tuesday, the students of the automotive school of Bron declared that these actions against the police were 'the only way to be heard', before 'the difficulty of finding internships and racial profiling." Many warn that it's not going to stop, and a teacher hopes: with these kids, something it's enough to talk for it to calm down.