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Insurrection, Part Two


With every night that France’s rundown suburbs burn, officials grow increasingly convinced that drug traffickers and Islamist militants are using frustrated youths to challenge law and order here.

It is the tenth night of the intifada in France.

As the battles drag on, their insurrectionary character becomes ever more stark. It is no longer a question of a few Parisian suburbs: every community in France with a significant Muslim population, “from Rouen in Normandy to Bordeaux in the southwest to Strasbourg near the German border,” is under threat. As that threat expands, so too does the rhetoric change:

One police-union leader, writing to Interior Minister Sarkozy, declared, “A civil war is unfolding in Clichy-sous-Bois. We cannot handle the challenge any longer. Only the Army, trained and equipped for this type of mission, can intervene to stabilize the situation.”

Why war? Warfare is distinguished from riot or disturbance by organization and aforethought. The evidence for this is mounting, as acts of violence are increasingly marked by careful planning and deliberation.

In quiet Acheres, on the edge of the St. Germain forest west of Paris, arsonists burned a nursery school, where part of the roof caved in, and about a dozen cars in attacks the mayor described as “perfectly organized.”

The mayor of Acheres is hardly alone in his realization that the troubles are moving swiftly toward an insurrectionary character:

Police trade union official Gilles Petit said the rioters would ‘stop at nothing’ in their attacks on state and council property: ‘They are organised into attack units that move around very quickly with tear gas and petrol to sow terror.’

And again:

“Without question what is taking place bears all the hallmarks of being coordinated,” Yves Bot, the Paris public prosecutor, told Europe 1 radio.

Why is this happening? Why would France come under attack from Islamists when it has played the dhimmi game so assiduously for so long? France stood firm against the war in Iraq — for amoral motives, surely, but the Muslim masses hardly care. Prior to the ascent of Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy, it has been more than accommodating to its Islamists at home, allowing the development of:

….a parallel society with its own laws in spite of the lip service that government officials continually pay to the notion of integration. Women are often forced to wear veils. In one district a municipal swimming pool was persuaded to offer a period of “women only” bathing each day to satisfy a fundamentalist imam.

The dhimmi act buys time, not respect, and certainly not friendship. Indeed, there is evidence that the pre-Iraq war pandering to Islamic opinion immeasurably harmed France in the eyes of the intended audience. Certainly it did nothing to help dissuade those Muslims now who set forth to transform the cities of la belle France into Baghdad.

Shamefully, the more debased elements of the French ruling class are seizing upon the abasement of the French Muslim leadership to attack their own political enemies. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, familiar to Americans through his vigorous defense of the Ba’athist regime in Iraq during the 2002-2003 run-up to that war, convened a ministerial meeting attended by the imam of the Great Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, after which the imam gave de Villepin what the latter wanted — a jab at de Villepin’s rival to the right, Nicholas Sarkozy:

….Boubakeur launched a veiled attack on Sarkozy’s outbursts, in which he has called the disaffected young men on housing estates ‘louts’. Boubakeur called on the government to ‘pronounce words of peace‘.

Sarkozy’s response was a model of cravenness. “We are trying to be firm and avoid any provocation,” he said. Who, in this tenth night of rampage and destruction, is provoking whom?

Meanwhile, the President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, who hates Sarkozy as his rival and probable successor on the French right, is content to be silent during the greatest domestic crisis of his too-long tenure. His silence is not mere apathy: it is more malevolent than that. Why speak when to do so would take the spotlight off Sarkozy? Why speak when one values political maneuvering so much more than one does one’s own countrymen?

The Fifth Republic burns. To become inflammable, first it had to rot.

Share  Posted by Josh Trevino at 11:53 PM | Permalink

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