Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Something to talk about

I really wanted to comment on this story, but it is too discouraging. It has long been known that certain Parisian "banlieus" or suburbs are unstable and unsafe, but the extent of the riots going on there now is shocking nonetheless. The fact that the riots are racially motivated only makes matters worse, as does the government's superior reaction. Hard line stances are not going to help the issues underlying this outbreak; the sheer speed with which the riots are spreading across France show that the racial relations there have been, for a long time now, an accident waiting to happen.

Can somebody please find something positive to say about all this?

I would really like to think that, like the riots of May '68, this violence could chance the fabric of French, and European, society in a positive way.


Blogger Drek said...

Sadly, we in the United States have too much experience with riots of this sort for me to be terribly optimistic. The reality is that while riots often signal a failure of government, and can bring useful attention to an issue, they also can magnify underlying racial prejudices.

Whether anything positive emerges from this will depend, I think, on how the French government and the E.U. more generally respond. If they recognize this as a symptom of poverty, then we may have a chance. If, on the other hand, they conclude that these riots are because of "undesirables," well, then these riots are probably not going to be the last of their kind.

Just my barely thought out notions. Feel free to smack me around.

Monday, November 07, 2005 9:36:00 AM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

sorry not much to add. but i was wondering, is this story being covered much in the american mainstream media?

Monday, November 07, 2005 1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuk, it's on the front page of the New York Times on-line. - D's SGf

Monday, November 07, 2005 4:50:00 PM  
Blogger TDEC said...


sadly it looks like the French government is dealing with the riots as a political inconvenience. The measures they are planning to use - like local curfews - are not going to do anything to diminish racial and/or class tension. The fact that the law allowing the French government to do this dates back to the Algerian war of independence also says much about their attitude to this unrest.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 1:48:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

Of course, in their defense, there's the short-term problem of restoring order, and then the long-term problem of preventing further riots. It's maybe not a worrisome sign that they're imposing curfews, as long as such practices are recognized as a band-aid and not a cure.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 9:42:00 AM  

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