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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 

The Rioting in France. by tucsonmike on 10 November 2005 2:04am
It has been all over the media. I remember being in France as a kid, not long after 1968 and the riot police had an almost permanent prescence on the Left Bank.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems what is happening in France today is similar to our 1960's and Los Angeles in 1992.

Re: The Rioting in France. by Clare on 10 November 2005 9:53am
From what I have heard on the news (and they had been rioting for four or five days before the British media really picked up on it) two teenagers were electrocuted trying to escape from the police. They died and it has sparked most of this. I think the two were immigrants but I'm not sure. There has been over the last few months several devastating fires in the poorer areas of Paris where a lot of immigrants are living (legally and illegally). Now there is a backlash, this is because a lot of people that have moved to France feel that they have not been accepted as part of French society - that's what has been reported not my opinion.

Re: The Rioting in France. by perfectbitch on 10 November 2005 11:18am
There is a quite a lot of racism in some pockets of France (as there is in most nations) and in parts of the south it is more like extreme nationalism. My friend's daughter spent a year studying in Bordeaux and was constantly harrassed by name calling despite being fluent in french. She lived in the suburbs which necessitated a bus ride. One one occaision, she was the only passenger left on the bus and was thrown off, late at night, 3 miles from home.
But this seems different and I agree with Mike that history is repeating itself with regard to 1992. However, the 60's saw a lot of civil unrest all over Europe but the main thrust was from the student movement and race was not the only issue - Vietnam, South Africa and social reform were also well up on the agenda. These days it seem to be all about race which is frightening and divisive. Linz
Re: The Rioting in France. by tucsonmike on 10 November 2005 6:54pm
The scary part about the name calling Linz, is the scholar of German history Gordon Craig talked about being in Germany in the 1930's and saying the same thing your friends daughter said.
I am not saying France is headed the way of Nazi Germany. Just saying that kind of nationalism can be scary.
I will also be honest about another thing. I am not completely sympathetic toward the Moslem population. I am Jewish, and suspect much of the Moslem population would not be too thrilled with me.
I do understand the Moslem population is poor and lives in the banlieues.
I had some good experiences in France. The irony? I enjoyed Provence the most.
I guess I'll close with the Mark Twain line when he was asked if he was Anti-Semitic.
"The Jews are human beings. Worse of them, I cannot think."
Re: The Rioting in France. by perfectbitch on 10 November 2005 8:25pm
Mike, I understand your lack of sympathy. I live in a particularly multicultural part of London with every contintnt represented. This country has a long history of the immigration of peoples from all over the world. My main observation is that, until recent times, nearly all immigrant peoples have been able to integrate into our society and yet retain their cultural identity. E.g. Jews, Sikhs, West Indians etc. However, the muslim peoples seem intent on gaining political power and influence to promote their "religion." This began with being active on school governors boards and local community groups. Most inner city schools now do not hold any daily assembleys because the (mainly) muslim factions object to their children being taught anything about christianity or any other creed. Yet, in humanities classes, the muslim religion is taught more than others. This has resulted in lip service being applied to non-muslim religious festivals with none of the spiritual truths being expressed.
The radical muslims have been active in educational institutions for more than 10 years and I expressed concern about this at the time. I was accused of racism but my concern was about public disorder. I was raised a catholic and went to a convent school until I was 11 but I am now an atheist who believes in the big bang, biochemical evolution and to "do unto others."
I think nearly all conflict is about lack of territory and resources. Religion is used to justify this selfishness and greed. My ancestors are French but from Brittany - more celtic than anything else. I just wish we could all recognise how similar we all are and stop concentrating on the differences. Linz.
Re: The Rioting in France. by Mr. Anchovy on 10 November 2005 11:44pm
Hello there,

just wanted to add a bit to the discussion here as I'm currently studying in France (I'm German). The thing in France is that it is actually not just the first generation immigrants that are not integrated but also 2nd or even 3rd generation. So even French citizens (non-European origin)that were born in the country have these problems. They are discriminated against just because they look a bit different than the French of European descent and because they live in the suburbs and that's not right in my opinion.
Re: The Rioting in France. by tucsonmike on 11 November 2005 1:07am
Yes Linz, I would be tickled pink if we concentrated less on our differences. I am fascinated by modern DNA testing and how Homo Sapiens originated in Africa and developed such different cultures.

You are right about religion being used to really go over territorial concerns and greed. I remember the Terry Jones series on the Crusades. Basically, Pope Urban saw the Crusades as:
1. A way to increase his power.
2. A way to get these knights to stop fighting each other and fight someone else. You couldn't kill Sir Guy of Normandy, but bashing Ahmed of Tyre worked quite well. Oh and if Jews got in the way along the route...
Later the Crusades became a license to steal. You do what works.
Like you, I am not religious. I consider the Jewish part more an ethnic origin. If "forced" to identify, I am an American, then a Tucsonan. I see differences as fascinating. If you want to make them a barrier, well your thing not mine.

I am proud of the United States, but if I venture into Mexico, I expect to try and use Spanish and live by their rules.
My point? When my ancestors came here from Eastern Europe, the entire purpose of the excercise was to live as Americans, participate and contribute to the society at large.

Now someone more knowledgable would have to answer this question for me. In France, are the Moslems shut out of the general society or have they CHOSEN this? Or is it some of both?

Keep in mind, fifty years ago in the United States, African Americans had LEGAL restrictions in some places. The culture also contributed. In many parts of the country, if I thought a black man looked at my sister wrong, I could have him killed. The sheriff would have stood aside or possibly even participated. The body might have even been displayed as a warning to the rest of the local African American community.
So things can be worse.
BTW, I am not saying we don't still have some problems in the U.S. I wrote this last paragraph because I remember as a young man being lectured by Europeans on how racist we nasty "white" Americans were.
So I am watching what is happening in France, mostly with sadness, but partly with "y'all should talk?"
Re: The Rioting in France. by perfectbitch on 11 November 2005 11:38am
It is difficult to know whether or not the muslim factions chose isolation or are pushed. It's probably a bit of both.
I realise that civil rights was a huge part of the american protest movement and I also applaud the students who faced the armed national guard by placing flowers down their gun barrels back in the 60's. We didn't face such danger here although many a protester was bludgeoned with the batons.
It seems that civil unrest is now the strategy of racists on both sides of the fence. Mind you, London saw 2 million on the streets in the anti Iraq war. That was now a long time ago it seems. We were told that our troops would be home by now. I am pleased that the government were defeated on 90 days internment - the terrorists win if we give up our civil rights.
I would love to see the US - I am interested in native american history as well as modern history. Your country is so vast geographically. One day....
Re: The Rioting in France. by George on 11 November 2005 10:38pm
It's very interesting to compare the riots in Paris with the Civil Rights Movement we had here. To me, all popular movements seem to have a beginning, middle, and an end. In the beginning was the murder in Mississippi of a boy named Emmitt Till by 2 drunken red-knecks in 1955, a story which barely drew a murmur at the time, was the beginning. In the '60's, Martin Luther King really added momentum to what was already a social unrest unrest it needed to become a popular movement. The vitual end of the Movement, as we once knew it, was the Rodney King incident in Los Angeles about 15 years ago. No one came out of this honor, or anything close to it.

Now, I realise we can all disagree on certain details, but, this is a very short version.

Whether, or not this Muslim unrest has any "legs" is yet to be determined. For reasons too murky for us Americans to comprehend, *Oh, the sarcasm*, 2000+ were killed, in the name of Islamo-fascism. The time for justifiacation? never existed. Why do we seem to reaching for their position??
Re: The Rioting in France. by tucsonmike on 12 November 2005 1:37am
Well Linz, if you ever come, many of us (myself included) would be happy to be your guide.
George. I'm too young to remember the beginning of the American Civil Rights movement but old enough to remember Dr. King's assasination. I was raised to believe all should have the same start. No affirmative action, but the same starting line at the race and the same starters gun.
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