France at night Ryan 08 Nov 2005

205 comments Latest by onesock

france riots

This is just the beginning. Immigration and assimilation will be the biggest issues of this century. It’s one thing to let people into your country when they want to be fellow countrymen, but it’s something completely different when they just want to live there. Living and being are significantly different, and France is seeing these differences right now — in flames. It will be interesting to see what the French government does about this — both short and long term (since this is more of a long term problem).

Or maybe this is simply about poverty and unemployment, but I think it’s far deeper than that. You?

205 comments (comments are closed)

warren 08 Nov 05

People who are different from each other are naturally prejudicial towards one another.

It was foolish of the politicians who ushered in such liberal immigration policies in the 1960s to let in so many immigrants when those immigrants are so poor and backward, and when the populace was likely to be prejudiced towards them.

Most of the people arrested in the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles were illegal immigrants. I don’t see why something similar couldn’t happen in America.

Darrel 08 Nov 05

No, it’s about poverty and unemployment. At least it’s related. Racial tension lines seem to run parallel to economic lines. And while the poverty issue may not have been *the* issue, it most likely was an itchy trigger finger.

those immigrants are so poor and backward

See, that’s the problem. Seeing immigrants as ‘poor and backward’. How do you expect them to react to that attitude?

I don’t see why something similar couldn’t happen in America.

It’s happened throughout our history. Race riots. Union riots. Civil War.

Don Wilson 08 Nov 05

Most of the immigrants, at least in Texas, aren’t here to be fellow countrymen.

tim 08 Nov 05

As a french who recently moved to Canada, I’d say that this bound to happen sooner or later. It may sounds stupid to say that _after_ the facts, but it’s something I and *many* people have experienced every day of the past 10 years.
Nobody can enjoy living in those suburbs. And people who managed to succeed in this environment are probably the most courageous people in the world.
The incidents will probably fade soon and unfortunately come back in the near future if nothing is done to stop the precarity and unemployment urgently…
There has been one victim so far, and let’s hope he’ll be the only one…

Andreas 08 Nov 05


Here’s what someone that knows a bit more about the situation has to say:

http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2005/11/why_is_france_b.html

Josh 08 Nov 05

Well, at least the French “Holier than thou” is finally properly losing steam. Unfortunate that it had to happen this way, but I say they’ve made their bed, and now it’s time to sleep in it.

Or is all this Bush / America’s fault as well? ;)

Seriously, though, I think you are completely right about the coming issues of immigration and assimilation.


It’s one thing to let people into your country when they want to be fellow countrymen, but it’s something completely different when they just want to live there

Are you saying that part of the problem is that people don’t want to assume the responsibility of a proper citizen? Just asking for clarification.

jperkins 08 Nov 05

Nothing intelligent to add regarding the situation in France and its history of immigration policies, the larger issue of cultural assimilation, etc… but I have a old, dear friend residing in Lyons with his wife and new born daughter and I’ve been unable to get in touch with him since last Saturday and I’m more than a little concerned.

Jean-Michel 08 Nov 05

I think we should keep things in perspective: this is certainly a serious issue, but from this graphic it looks like the whole of France is burning! It looks worst than Baghdad!

Alan McCann 08 Nov 05

There is quite a mix of factors at play in France
- failed socialist policies creating a stagnating economy with incredibly high unemployment while also enabling an idle population on welfare
- apparent racism within France that keeps outsiders from climbing the ladder despite the official line that all are citizens
- radical and not so radical muslim belief’s in their superiority that says that western civilization is evil and that says muslims should not assimilate

All three of these are working together to create an evil stew.

Jos 08 Nov 05

The riots are slowly spreading across countries.. In Brussels a couple of cars have been set on fire, windows of a journalist car have been smashed,.. Hopefully this isn’t an epidemic that is going to spread over whole Europe. I mean, France isn’t the only country where there are lots of young unemployed immigrants. They are pretty much everywhere. What if they all start to burn cars and kill people?

Instead of taking responsibility, and developing themselves, they prefer to blame everything on the government, and start riots at the expense of innocents.. Hopefully governments will quickly be able to contain the problem.

Kris 08 Nov 05

wretchard of the Belmont Club has good coverage:

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/

Bryan C 08 Nov 05

Your distinction between being part of a country and just living there is exactly right. Letting immigrants (particuarly illegal immigrants) form private city-state enclaves within your country is never a good idea. It’s the path of least resistance, but that path doesn’t go anywhere we want to be.

That policy doesn’t do the ghettoized immigrants any favors, since they’ll never be made to exert the effort necessary to achieve the success they really want. Without language skills and a working knowledge of the societal norms they’ll never be fully functioning members of society. They’ll be dependent on the charity of their “hosts” for everything, and nothing destroys ambition or self-esteem more completely than a few generations of that.

It doesn’t do your legal immigrants any favors. They’re personally victimized by the criminals and radicals who’ve decided to be their new masters, forced to compete against illegals for jobs and housing, and stigmatized by the poor example and illegitimate status of their unassimilated former countrymen.

And it doesn’t do the natural-born citizens any good, either. You may get cheap labor for a while without offending your sense of cultural inclusivity (or, especially in France, cultural purity). But you’re really only breeding an attitude of entitlement, seperatism, and futility. Sooner or later self-serving, powerhungry radicals will start recuiting, and there’s no easy and inoffensive way to stop them.

I think that letting this spree of arson and violence go this long is just another manifestation of the same problem: excessive sensitivity and insufficient enforcement of society’s rules. Being angry and poor is not an excuse for rampaging across the countryside setting peoples’ property on fire. The authorities need to stop this now and remove the ringleaders. Talk about fixing it can wait until after the worst of the lot is locked up or deported.

Fred C. 08 Nov 05

I’ve been living in the Paris suburb for 25 years and I can tell you that this situation is not new nor worrying. There has been riot and burning cars for years (even decades). At every new year’s day at least 100 cars are burnt each time in eastern France and Paris.

World news lacks of big stories these last days, that’s why France riots are in the spotlight.

But maybe I should rent a park lot for my car… just in case…

/Fred

Michael 08 Nov 05

I like Bryan C’s comments.

Jim 08 Nov 05

I think its more about poverty and unemployment - religion/race/assimilation are only serving to amplify the helping a large number of the disaffected to feel solidarity amongst themselves. I think you’re right about immigration/assimilation being one of the biggest issues of the century; I just don’t think it’s the biggest factor in this case.

As some others have said, the map is wildly misleading. Paris itself (as opposed to its satellite suburbs) is largely affected, and other regions are only seeing small amounts of unrest. There’s a big flash there over where I live, but perhaps only 5% of the city is affected, and as far as I know its in the order of a dozen cars burnt over the last 4 days.

I may sound blasé, but as an outsider living here, I’ve been surprised. French people, or at least those that I’ve spoken to, are even less immediately concerned (which is not to say they don’t recognise the deep-seated social problems).

Mark A 08 Nov 05

I think the opening comment was - perhaps unintentionally - a bit smug. The US is just as likely as anywhere to suffer these underprivileged community effects. I seem to remember LA having rioting a while back?

Telling immigrants they’re equal citizens (often as an excuse to coercing them to assimilate - by dropping long held customs) and then not giving them equality of opportunity is bound to have undesired effects.

If the only ‘opportunity’ you have is hanging around without a job, money, support, etc., rioting might appear no worse a way to spend the day. Arguably it beats sitting doing nothing and in winter the fires help keep you warm.

That’s not to condone what happens, but rather to say I’m just not surprised. Anyone saying “it couldn’t happen my country” is deluding themselves - unless, of course, no one wants to go to your country in the first place! I wish I had an answer to the underlying causes…but I don’t.

LapinLove404 08 Nov 05

I do like Bryan C’s comment as well.

But then, which country can pretends doing anything else that what he describes ?

And speaking about “insufficient enforcement of society’s rules”, I can only mentions the low tolerance of the French police and the higly repressive politics for the last 3 years…

Darrel 08 Nov 05

Well, at least the French “Holier than thou” is finally properly losing steam.

Hopefully America’s “Holier than thou” will start loosing steam.

- failed socialist policies creating a stagnating economy with incredibly high unemployment while also enabling an idle population on welfare
- apparent racism within France that keeps outsiders from climbing the ladder despite the official line that all are citizens
- radical and not so radical muslim belief’s in their superiority that says that western civilization is evil and that says muslims should not assimilate

I like how these statements can easily reflect the US:

- failed unregulated capticalistic policies creating a stagnating economy with incredibly high unemployment while also enabling an idle population on welfare
- apparent racism within the US that keeps outsiders from climbing the ladder despite the official line that all are citizens
- radical and not so radical christian belief’s in their superiority that says that easter civilization is evil and that says christians should not assimilate

Darrel 08 Nov 05

Being angry and poor is not an excuse for rampaging across the countryside setting peoples’ property on fire.

The problem is that, in many parts of the world, that’s the only option they have if they expect to be heard. It’s a shitty way to go about it (and I’m hoping not the only way in France). Perhaps others need to do more listening as well.

Darrel 08 Nov 05

And, to be fair, certain muslim sects’ teachings are part of the problem…just as certain [insert nearly any religion] sects’ teachings cause problems around the world.

FineJames 08 Nov 05

The French are paralyzed because they can’t figure out who to surrender to

RH 08 Nov 05

Here is how Switzerland handles this issue:

Conditions to be met before becoming a Swiss Citizen
1) You are integrated in the Swiss community.
2) You are accustomed to Swiss way of life and practices.
3) You comply with the Swiss legal system.
4) You in no way compromise the internal or external security of Switzerland.

Does anyone know if the riots have spread the this “Neutral” country?

Cyril 08 Nov 05

The news reports and these “flashpoints” maps are a bit misleading.

jperkins, you have nothing to worry about. I live in Lyon and everything is normal here. I read that a few cars were burned in the suburbs but nobody was injured.

These events happen in very limited areas. Saddly, the rioters burn their own neighbourhoods. In fact, the cars they destroy belong to their friends and parents.

To date, there was only one casualty. I wish it won’t get worse. Burned cars make spectacular images but don’t hurt that much …

Shane 08 Nov 05

This situation can very easily spread to the U.S as well. No one seems to adhere to MLK’s goals of unity and equality. Now its about separatism and no one is talking about it! There are TV channels (BET) catering to only black people. There are schools that only teach in Spanish for Spanish speaking communities. The media seems to cater to an increasingly specific demographic., i.e: FOX for republicans, ABC for democrats, WB for black kids. We need to start integrating, and actually LIVING the spirit of the 1st Amendment.

Oh, and for the guy who said that immigrants are poor and backward? You mean illegal ones right? We need to distinguish between illegal and non-illegal here. My parents were legal immigrants, and now my dad happens to be a CEO of a company, my mother is a teacher, my brother is in Law school, and I’m a pretty well-off software engineer.

s 08 Nov 05

Darrell wrote:
- failed unregulated capticalistic policies creating a stagnating economy with incredibly high unemployment while also enabling an idle population on welfare

Maybe you should do some research before making these types of comments (http://www.axcessnews.com/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=6447).

Even after all of the hurricanes, we’re still at 5% unemployment, and the economy is still growing.

- apparent racism within the US that keeps outsiders from climbing the ladder despite the official line that all are citizens

For the most part, this is perceived racism. If you can’t do things for yourself, then it must be racism.

- radical and not so radical christian belief’s in their superiority that says that easter civilization is evil and that says christians should not assimilate

I don’t get where you’re going with this one.

Ramanan 08 Nov 05

It’s one thing to let people into your country when they want to be fellow countrymen, but it’s something completely different when they just want to live there.

Where did you hear that the kids rioting don’t want to be a part of French society? From my understanding of the situation, the riots were sparked by the killings of two children running from the police, and frustration over the overt racism directed towards the Blacks and Arabs living within France. How many first generation children do you think don’t want to be a part of the larger French community? They speak the language, and probably have very loose ties to the countries their families are from.

Blaming immigration for a societies woes is not a new idea. If French society is not inclusive, whose fault is that? You need only look to Canada to see that treating immigrants like first-class citizens does wonders for a society.

I think this post is one of the most ignorant, racist, piece of shit posts I’ve seen on your site. And I’ve been reading this site for a very long time.

Joe Grossberg 08 Nov 05

warren:

“Most of the people arrested in the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles were illegal immigrants”

Given the racial makeup of the rioters, I find that pretty hard to believe. Do you have any attribution for this claim or is it just something you “know”?

Thibaut 08 Nov 05

Another french input : these guys are not protesting. If you protest, you stand for something, you get yourself together and you go ahead with a clear voice, words, and why not actions, even violent actions.
Ok, there are big social problems in french suburbs, and the non integration of frenchies with african origins to the other frenchies is somehow almost non existant on most of the territory.
These guys are just having “fun” at night, they are kids experiencing the limits of authority, and most of all they have no respect at all but for violence. When they are interviewed on tv about the reason of their acts, it’s hard to see a real and anchored motiv.
The only I could see is a real anger towards police, which is to my point of view justified, because of their daily and unjustified agressive attitude, reasonably often racist too. White people leaving in the suburbs are not asked for ID where black people are asked for it 3 times a day by policemen they meet everyday. This would turn me insane too. But I’m not sure I would burn my neighbour’s cars because of this.

They don’t seem to realize how the extreme right is having a great time looking at this, a big smile spreading on its face. Next elections are going to be another big slam on our faces, and when you see how the actual government is lurking at these electors, you can understand the lack of actions there is from their part in front of such a situation.
If the rich and touristy parts of Parisland where the place of the riots, it wouldn’t have last so long and spread over, I’m pretty sure.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

Do you have any attribution for this claim or is it just something you “know”?

Well seeing as how Warren thinks all immigrants are poor and backwards, I am guessing he’s talking out of his ass.

Dean 08 Nov 05

I was surprised to see a copyrighted image from the Telegraph used in this weblog post without attribution. It is also being served directly from 37 signals. The image was taken from the following article:

http://telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/11/08/wfran08.xml

John Revel 08 Nov 05

Most of the immigrants, at least in Texas, aren’t here to be fellow countrymen - Don wilson

What in the world is a “Fellow Countryman”?

Jocke 08 Nov 05

“France seems to be slowly coming apart… even more worrisome than the lackluster economy, structural rigidity and persistent social problems that Mr. Camdessus described is the absence of hope among the French people—a complete lack of faith that the future might bring something better in what has become the last collectivist nation in the Western world…

From early childhood on, a Frenchman walks into a centralized universe worthy of the late Soviet regime. Public schools boast a rigid structure inimical to learning, where all creativity and ambition are killed off…

Then there is our chronic unemployment, which for the past 20 years has oscillated between 8.5% and 12%. The main victims are our youth, those between 15 and 24. Only 25% of this age group is employed, compared with 54% in the U.S. People stay unemployed over 16 months on average in France, while in the U.S. it´s less than five months. No wonder the young feel so insecure and vulnerable.”

- The young French liberal Aurélien Véron in Wall Street Journal, 28 April 2005.

http://www.liberte-cherie.com/scans_art.php?id=157

(I got this link from: http://www.johannorberg.net/?page=displayblog&month=11&year=2005#1351)

mrod 08 Nov 05

France Burns For Its Sins

Darrel 08 Nov 05

Maybe you should. The way the US measures unemployment is MUCH different than Europe. Our method hides a lot of unemeployment, and also doesn’t include the fact that they’re simply measuring jobs. Not the quality of jobs.

For the most part, this is perceived racism. If you can’t do things for yourself, then it must be racism.

This is typical ‘I’m an american so all these problems don’t actually happen here because’ ignorance. Yep. Some people are lazy. Yep. We still have racism in this country (though it’s becoming more economic based than skin color based)

I don’t get where you’re going with this one.

Merely that there’s radicals everywhere.

Michael 08 Nov 05

I always find it funny that people feel government is the solution to racism and discrimination. Government tends to be the primary implementation of racist and discriminatory policies. In the US, the South used laws and police to enforce racism. In Germany Hitler used the government to execute millions of jews. Additionally, every step of government regulation adds another point of potential discrimination. A racist restaurant inspector could fail minority restaurants more frequently than non-minority ones. A racist liquor board could deny most minority requests, preventing them from selling profiting from liquor sales.



When a company engages in discrimantory behavior it opens up a market for a competitor. However, when government engages in discrimanatory behavior there is often little recourse. In fact, governments are responsible for the most heinous acts of discrimination in our history. So why does everybody look to the government to be their protector?

s 08 Nov 05

This is typical ‘I’m an american so all these problems don’t actually happen here because’ ignorance.

Actually, my parents are hispanic and came to this country (legally) with nothing. Only through hard work, and not depending on the government, were they able to be successful. So I am a little jaded - you have to work hard to get anywhere in this country. Sitting around and waiting on the government won’t do it for you.

My problem with your statement is that although there are situations of real poverty here, there are far too many cases of people conditioned to wait for the government to do things for them. When they don’t get what they want, it must be racism.

Alex Bunardzic 08 Nov 05

I agree with the original post. There is a difference between becoming a member of the community and simply looking for a place to live.

Regarding the question why couldn’t it also happen here: I moved to Canada from Europe 15 years ago. We moved with the intention to settle in Canada and to embrace Canadian ways. Not even once in the 15 years I’ve been here have I felt any hint coming from my fellow countrymen that I’m a foreigner, or a second-class citizen. I’ve always been treated as if I was born here, simply because I’ve shown utmost respect for the local ways of living from the day one.

Most people living here are in the same boat. There is no feeling of divisiveness, hence the stability is much larger than in those highly divided countries, such as France, where if you’re not a born Frenchman, well, you’re going to forever be stigmatized as a second-class citizen. That can’t end up well, no matter how you put it.

Dude 08 Nov 05

> When a company engages in discrimantory behavior it opens
> up a market for a competitor. However, when government
> engages in discrimanatory behavior there is often little
> recourse. In fact, governments are responsible for the most
> heinous acts of discrimination in our history. So why does
> everybody look to the government to be their protector?

Do you know about the relations of the words “democracy” and “minority rights”? Apparently not. Please go look it up:

http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/principles/majority.htm

mtara 08 Nov 05

Journalists, philosophers and other thinkers wonder what will be the biggest issue of tomorrow. Needlessly. Jason knows the answer just now! It’s immigration.

Back to writing about usability and other fields familiar to your brain.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

Michael, if you want to live in a democracy, then you need to protect the rights of the minority within that democracy.

“The will of the people, moreover, practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people; the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority; the people, consequently, may desire to oppress a part of their number; and precautions are as much needed against this as against any other abuse of power.” — On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

s 08 Nov 05

Maybe you should. The way the US measures unemployment is MUCH different than Europe. Our method hides a lot of unemeployment, and also doesn’t include the fact that they’re simply measuring jobs. Not the quality of jobs.

According to the OCED’s standardized unemployment calculation, the US is still looking pretty good:

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/41/13/18595359.pdf

Michael 08 Nov 05

Obviously, we need to protect the right of the minority. However, often that is best done by having a smaller government. If Germany’s government had not been so powerful, perhaps we would have six million jews. If the governments of Mississippi and Alabama, elected by a majority of the people, had not been so powerful the Black minorities would have been much better off.

Your principles of democracy rely on the following tenet: “Minorities need to trust that the government will protect their rights and self-identity.”

Why would you trust a power hungry politician to do the right thing? I guess the problem with the Jews and Blacks is that they just didn’t “trust” their government enough. Let’s be honest most of the time government is not the solution, it is the problem.

Don Giannatti 08 Nov 05

I have first hand experience in the ‘non-assimilation’ mindset. My wife has taught in inner city schools here in Phoenix for more than 29 years. She has treated it as a calling - doing as much as she can for those who need a little help. She is retiring soon as she has had enough.

In recent years it has gone from “We are from (x) and we are trying to learn” to “We are here and do not want to be a part of this country.” There are faculty and student groups who wear their countries flag. There are groups that meet on campus who only speak their countries languages, and think of themselves as citizens of their home country, while being here illegally.

Now the most vile thing that one kid can say to another is “You white girl.” In this case, ‘white’ generally means “American”. The American culture is under assault as they begin to speak of it as a ‘salad bowl’ instead of a ‘melting pot.”

She has many, many Bosnian students, and they are aghast at ‘multiculturism. They want to be Americans. They have seen first hand what Balkanism can do to any society.

I love a melting pot of cultures, food, celebrations and heritages. But what we are seeing now is a division of the same. Not celebrating our differences and our sameness, but balkanizing against ‘them’ cause they aren’t like us.

My experience in France told me that there were no plans for assimilation in the Muslim areas. They do not respect French law, preferring Sharia in many areas, and simply demand their culture take center stage. Most in those areas do not speak French, and many of them are illegal immigrants as well. Respect for the culture of France is denigrated as they bring all of their culture (good and bad) with them.

This attitude is not ‘assimilation’, it is occupation.

Just my buck3eighty worth.

Cheers,
Don

Kyle 08 Nov 05

This has nothing to do with two kids getting killed, protesting, etc.

It’s a Holy War. Islam vs Christianity. Bottom line. Everyone is afraid to stand up and admit it. They (Muslims) are the first to admit it, but the politically correct in the world refuse, labeling it everything but what it really is. A WAR against the west and Christianity. America will wake up once it’s spread over on our own soil and our own government is paralized to protect us because of the fear of “offending” the “religion of peace, Islam”.

Looks peaceful to me, wow look at that car burn!

ramanan 08 Nov 05

Glad to see so many American experts are weighing in on Frances immigration problem.

Kids are rioting in the streets, and they are to blame for that. However, to pretend that these children haven’t tried to blend into French culture is laughable at best. These are first generation French children who are treated like second class citizens because they aren’t white. There are plenty of news reports on the subject, and several have been linked to here.

I think it is much easier to pretend this is simply a matter of “Us” vs. “Them”. It really goes to show that even those posting in this thread don’t consider the children rioting to be French. They are immigrants, no matter where they were born, what language they speak, and what clothes they wear.

I think there are few countries in the world more afraid of foreigners than America.

Darrel 08 Nov 05

Actually, my parents are hispanic and came to this country (legally) with nothing. Only through hard work, and not depending on the government, were they able to be successful. So I am a little jaded - you have to work hard to get anywhere in this country. Sitting around and waiting on the government won’t do it for you.

I agree. That doesn’t change the fact that there is still a lot of racism/prejudice in our society.

My problem with your statement is that although there are situations of real poverty here, there are far too many cases of people conditioned to wait for the government to do things for them. When they don’t get what they want, it must be racism.

That’s fair. And my problem with your statement is that it brushed of racism as simply being an excuse for lazy poor people. ;o)

According to the OCED’s standardized unemployment calculation, the US is still looking pretty good:

It does. But I’m not sure how the OCED standardizes those stats, either.

Let’s be honest most of the time government is not the solution, it is the problem.

Let’s be honest, most of the time it’s the problem because we don’t allow it to do what it should. At least in the US, we are the government, so any finger pointing that the government is really reflected on ourselves.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

I think Kyle has it figured out. It’s always those damn Mohamedans. If only the true religion of peace, Christianity, would stand up and protect us all. Kyle, you can recruit those guys that shoot abortion doctors and beat up homosexuals to help you out.

Michael 08 Nov 05

“I think there are few countries in the world more afraid of foreigners than America.”

I would just like to call bullshit on this. My wife moved from Russia to Germany when she was 12. She graduated from a German Gymanasium 3rd in her class. One of the reasons she came to America is because “In Germany you’ll never be considered German if you are an immigrant.”

Furthermore, almost every European country has historically had much tighter controls on immigration than the US. Someone mentioned how great Switzerland hasn’t had any riots. Well, they also hardly have any immigrants. In fact look at the Demographics for European countries, most have them have tiny immigrant populations. The reason these issues are finally surfacing in Europe is because the European Union requires these countries to open up their borders much more than they have done in the past.

Don Wilson 08 Nov 05

What in the world is a “Fellow Countryman”?

I was using Jason’s term. Ask him.

GB 08 Nov 05

After living in France for three years and returning every year since that time I must say that (after ramanan’s comment) I have seen quite a bit to the contrary of “blending in”. Compared to most countries around the world, this group of people are one of the most assisted AND catered to. Granted, there are those who would like to integrate and “become French”. The north african community has asked for AND relieved, in France, many exceptions (one of the most detrimental being allowed more than one wife). They have remained angry over issues of the Algerian war that the present french youth had nothing to do with (like the US and slavery). (Will our great-great grandchildren still be paying for something that we ourselves had nothing to do with?) Culturally speaking, from what I have seen first hand, they have not tried to integrate into this society and the north african youth have been single-handidly changing school standards (by not correctly learning the language and being delinquent) and quietly but forcefully changing the face of France by repressing their own culture. Lastly, on Marketplace (NPR) last night the author of a book twisted Sarkosy’s words to make it look like he was a fascist monster who wanted to kill off/”get rid of” all north Africans. The media needs to grow up and stop adding fuel to the fire by lying to increase sympathies and raise the level of hatred.

Me 08 Nov 05

There’s always more than meets the eye to these types of involved issues. But I’ll say this much - The United States of America became the greatest country in the world because the immigrants that came here saw themselves as *Americans*.

They did not see themselves as Italians living in another country. They did not call themselves Irish-American. And they, for the most part, came her in poverty. As someone said earlier, they worked themselves to the bone to make it.

But they saw themselves as Americans - as part of the country and not as some alien living in it, wanting it to be something that it wasn’t.

Sure there were, and are economic and social differences. But those things are far less of a problem when you feel like they are issues that can be handled on common ground among countryman - and not a “we vs. they” mentality, instead.

Furthermore, when an immigrant comes into a country where their moral beliefs see the naturalized citizens as “infidels” who ought to be, literally, destroyed - don’t be fooled into thinking these people are going to assimilate in any way, shape or form that you want them to. While that is painting with a broad brush, it is nevertheless far too true. And we don’t want to admit this is the case, because it’s “insensitive” and not “politically correct.”

In any event, the original post is pretty spot on.

Kyle 08 Nov 05

I agree with Ramaman to a degree, and Michael to a degree.

I don’t think this is so much a racial issue as it is an economic one. No matter where you go in the world, it’s the economically disadvantaged that are more likely to have factions of violence within them.

It seems obvious to me that the low-growth, socialistic policies of many of the European countries, combined with the high immigration is going to naturally lead to tensions. Like it or not, capitalism provides a natural growth of jobs when combined with immigration, whereas a more socialist approach only serves as a tool for suffocation when combined with immigration. As more and more immigrants flood into western countries (a good thing, IMO), the more socialist governments are going to tend to buckle under the pressure of trying to provide welfare and other services while these immigrants search for a work.

In addition, I find it odd that while so many of the “web 2.0” people who tend to want information to be free, and to tear down barriers and decentralize the web, are so quick to want to centralize the government, and throw up walls in their communities.

Francis Wu 08 Nov 05

As a second-generation immigrant (from Hong Kong to Montreal, Canada), I understand the challenges of good immigration policy. Despite the Star Trek-like utopian ideal of diversity, the reality is that immigration only works under certain conditions.

For one thing, you can’t just let anybody into your country without strong integration programs, especially to support 1st generation immigrants who aren’t familiar with the local language, and especially if they have low education. To this day, I continue to deal with consequences of this. I still have to proxy for them, and I still have to be present when my mom visits a doctor.

Another problem with loose immigration laws is how it affects the local labour sector. When locals cry out, “they’re taking all our jobs”, I understand where they’re coming from. Immigrants (including teens and seniors) make up a large labour market simply because they’re easier to exploit. Although my dad had a highly-skilled trade, my mom worked in textiles. Both my parents worked incredibly hard to make ends meet.

When my mom’s doctor (typical old white French Canadian) learned that she didn’t speak French or English even after nearly 30 years in Montreal, he was appalled. What most locals don’t understand is that one of the primary reasons for immigration is to escape poverty. So when I say “make ends meet”, it includes building the financial foundation to ensure their children’s highest education possible… with the misguided notion that it would ensure their wealth. My mom did some crazy hours and didn’t have time for education. I, however, got all the education I can bare and consequently, I’m fluently trilingual and well-integrated thanks to a pretty beefy immersion program in local education.

Interestingly enough, if there were poverty-related riots in the States, I’m not sure who’d participate. Would it be the immigrants because of an exploitative labour market? Or would it be the locals who want those shitty jobs? Or would it be almost everybody in a collective freak-realization that a trickle-down economy doesn’t work and only serves to concentrate wealth at the top?

I think I’ve begun to ramble now :P. In the end, what’s happening in France is a consequence of half-baked immigration policy.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

The children rioting are not immigrants. Well, unless not being white makes you an immigrant till the day you die. Reading this thread, I get the impression it does.

Will 08 Nov 05

I think Kyle has it figured out. It’s always those damn Mohamedans. If only the true religion of peace, Christianity, would stand up and protect us all. Kyle, you can recruit those guys that shoot abortion doctors and beat up homosexuals to help you out.

Cheers Ramanan. I was about to say roughly the same thing in response to Kyle’s lunacy.

Kyle 08 Nov 05

Also, I just want to comment on this notion of wanting to be American. I haven’t given this much thought, but there seems to be an underlying thread that the immigrants who don’t come to these western countries somehow don’t want to adopt to our cultures, and that this is somehow a new phenenomon.

A few things:

a) I think that’s a fairly significant generalization that does a great disservice to the majority of immigrants that do want to adopt to a certain way of life.

b) What does “becoming an American” mean these days? I’m not a religious person, and I hate to see the day that “becoming an American” was a euphemism for becoming Christian. So what does it mean? To a degree, the amount of diversity in America (again, a good thing), leads to an increased ability to allow various immigrants to come to America and continue to live within the norms of their culture. I have a great deal of Ethiopian friends who speak English and Amharic, but still congregate to common Ethiopian areas of the city. We should be mindful that having a cultural identity is to a certain degree, comforting for many immigrants.

c) The idea that every person that came to America wanted to become an American, and wasn’t just as opportunistic as many immigrants coming today is laughable. Simirarly, the idea that it was all hard work and fair play that made our arrival to America a success is again laughable. We had our fair share of corruption, civil disruption, etc.

That’s all I can think of right now. I just think this notion of “becoming American” maybe a bit less meaningful than it sounds.

Lisa 08 Nov 05

What’s wrong with being an immigrant?

The definitation (from m-w.com) is: a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.

What’s so bad about that?

Mike P. 08 Nov 05

While I’m in no place to comment definitively on France, I can say that the issues of immigration and assimilation, poverty and unemployment are huge in many European countries and are issues that, as seen in France, can and will get out of hand.

Lets hope something good comes from what is happeneing there, and other European countries open their eyes before this situation manaifests itself elsewhere.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

Lisa, from what I’ve learned from reading this thread, that definition is out of date. An immigrant is someone who comes to a country to subvert it from the inside, as part of a grand plot to ruin the world for everyone.

Greg Macoy 08 Nov 05

When did this become a political blog? I thought 37signals were supposed stick to doing the things they know about, and keeping out of the things they don’t. Did I miss something?

Mike P. 08 Nov 05

but it’s something completely different when they just want to live there

This case does exist, and while I have no idea to what extent it exists in what is happening right now in France, I can cite quotes from people (family, no less) that are filled with angst towards immigrants whose main goal is not to be fellow countrymen, but to get into a country where maybe they can work under the table for a cheap, cheap wage, but more than they can get elsewhere.

This of course undermines the opportunities of the unemployed “natives”, and you can pretty much guess that those people aren’t too happy about things.

And comparing France to Canada, especially given it’s economic performance, is a bit ridiculous and uninformed.

mario 08 Nov 05

all political issues are about power/wealth (or lack thereof). Racisn, classism, sexism, homophobia, nationalism…all symptoms of a global populace who can’t come to accept equality. everyone is scared of suffering and therefor need someone, anyone, to blame/hate for their problems.

all you need is love.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

.. immigrants whose main goal is not to be fellow countrymen, but to get into a country where maybe they can work under the table for a cheap, cheap wage, but more than they can get elsewhere.

I read somewhere that all the Mexican migrant workers in Texas are happy — damn happy — to do crap work for crap pay. This is their dream, the almost-American dream.

Oh wait, that sounds stupid. Maybe things aren’t that simple.

And I would love Jason to define what a “fellow countrymen” is exactly. Do you need blonde hair and blue eyes to join the club.

Lisa 08 Nov 05

ramanan said…
Lisa, from what I’ve learned from reading this thread, that definition is out of date. An immigrant is someone who comes to a country to subvert it from the inside, as part of a grand plot to ruin the world for everyone.

That is so sad that people would feel that way.
The few bad apples are spoiling the bunch.

Original Kyle 08 Nov 05

Ramanan-
Funny thing is, those lunatics you mention aren’t Christians. They’re just that, lunatics using Christianity as a front. Same category as David Koresh and the Waco incident years ago. Now you’re going to say “Yes, but these terrorists aren’t true Muslims either”.. but you’re wrong. The fundamental base of Islam is manifesting itself in exactly what’s happening. Kill the infidels. That’s the foundation it’s based upon. Islam as the only dominating religion in the world, at all costs. High contrast vs Christianity, which is based peace and love. If a Christian converts to another religion, they’re not beheaded.

This isn’t all baseless uninformed prejudice on my part. I’ve seen true Islam. I’ve been on the ground in these countries (afghanistan, iraq, india, uae, etc). It’s more serious than the liberal media is telling you.

This is just fact, believe or not.

Kyle 08 Nov 05

@Greg:

From the top of the blog:

This is Signal vs. Noise, a weblog by 37signals about design, customer experience, entertainment, politics, Basecamp, products we like, small business, ourselves, and more. Established 1999 in Chicago.

Chuck McKinnon 08 Nov 05

Will, Ramanan:

I don’t subscribe to Kyle’s view that Islam is solely responsible for the current troubles in France (in my two-year experience, most of those kids are about as Muslim as the rest of France is Catholic).

However, while most Muslims are not terrorists, it is a sad but undeniable fact that most of the world’s terrorists, today, are Muslim.

You taunt Kyle with references to attacks on abortion doctors and homosexuals; that’s a pitiful straw man, easily demolished. Simply compare the percentage of self-described Christians (practicing or not, liberal or conservative, sane or insane) who shoot abortion doctors and beat on gays with the percentage of self-described Muslims (practicing or not, etc.) who claim religious justification for killing others not of their faith.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

Kill the infidels. That’s the foundation it’s based upon.

I had always thought the main tenents of Islam were: to accept Allah as the one true god, Pray, give alms to the poor, make a pilgrimage to Meeca, and fast during Ramadan. Thanks for clearing things up for me.

Chuck, keep defending Kyle. He obviously knows what he’s talking about.

Mike P. 08 Nov 05

Ramanan: Maybe things aren’t that simple.

Not quite sure where you are going there, but my point was that I don’t think Jason’s comments were racist. While I can’t speak for him, “it’s something completely different when they just want to live there” is something that is happening, and yeah, it is because of economics, not because of bad people. Survival, not luxury of choice.


Me again 08 Nov 05

Chuck hit it on the head, square. There are always extremists. The majority voice in the media from Christianity is that Christians would like a return to fundamental morals that our country was founded on. We’d like to not be hassled.

The majority voice in the media from Islam is kills the Jews, and eradicate the Christians.

If Islam is something else, then why don’t the leaders of this religion say otherwise? Sure you’ll hear one or two say something different, American Muslim professors perhaps, a moderate in the middle-east who doesn’t want to ruin his trade agreements. But their voice pales in comparison to the hate from virtually every other muslim leader.

Case in point: Iran’s president stating Israel should be destroyed. Where was the outcry from Islam? Non-existant as far as I could tell.

We’re getting slightly off topic here, but the truth is the truth.

Mark Haliday 08 Nov 05

Quick! Let Germany invade AGAIN, I’m sure they can stop the rioting.

Me again 08 Nov 05

I had always thought the main tenents of Islam were: to accept Allah as the one true god, Pray, give alms to the poor, make a pilgrimage to Meeca, and fast during Ramadan. Thanks for clearing things up for me.

Funny, the message we get from Islam world leaders is - destroy the infidel. Remove “zionism” - and rid the world of any infidel (i.e. Christian) religion. Do many muslims agree with your statement - sure they do. But the movers and shakers of said religion are NOT those people. They hold no power, they hold no public opinion and they do not appear to appeal to a younger generation of Muslims.

If that is Islam’s message, it would be great if they practiced it, instead of just proclaimed it.

Original Kyle 08 Nov 05

Great point. The mullahs and islamic elders in France could stop the rioting in an INSTANT with a decry or order from the mosques to the muslim community, but they sit silent… most likely basking in the glory in their “day of reckoning”

Michael 08 Nov 05

“That is so sad that people would feel that way.
The few bad apples are spoiling the bunch.”

Lisa,

I can’t beleive I have to say this. Most people have no problem with immigrants. There is nothing inherently wrong about immigration.

HOWEVER, many people have a problem with how immigration can affect their country. If a government provides many social programs then having too much immigration will reduce the quality of those programs. Furthermore, when a society artificially inflates labor prices, through previous immigration policies or minimum wages or unions, too much immigration will cause a decline in wages and make finding a job more competitive. Usually, citizens of the country who have grown accustom to their artificial wages get angry when this happens.

Furthermore, people become concerned that immigration may affect their freedoms. When people look at governments in the middle east that preven women from driving or going to school, they become concerned that the immigrants from those countries may try to change our laws to reflect those customs.

Finally, ramanan is just a troll. He is a canadian who hates america for who knows what reason, who will say anything to try and make america look bad. If he were american he would run around calling canadians a bunch of godless, communist hockey fanatics.

Francisco 08 Nov 05

This has nothing to do with immigration, the rioters are criminals, and that’s all there is to it. They continue destroying property because the police has not done enough to stop them. If the police were to take down the leaders of each rioting mob, after properly warning them to desist or be killed, the riots would quickly end.

The problem with Europe, and with America, is the lack of moral certainty to defend what is right. If those riots were led by white supremacist neonazis instead of black muslims, the police would have already dealt with them. But in our current era of political correctness individuals are no longer criminals, instead, it is groups that are “oppressed”. So we are afraid of dealing properly with criminals who happen to be members of one of those “oppressed” groups.

What we need is a zero-tolerance policy towards breaking the law. I can peacefully assemble with my group to complain about whatever it is that I want to complain, but as soon as I start destroying property, that’s it, I should go to jail, or be killed if I resist arrest.

Kyle 08 Nov 05

First of all, I just want to make clear, that the first Kyle who posted in this thread, is different from myself, the one who posted the last 3 posts by Kyle. :-)

Secondly, @Chuck: Again, one of the key differentiators between the Christians and the Muslims that you mentioned, is the economic gaps, as well as the Tyranny of Place that many muslims encounter.

A white, Christian fundamentalist living in the suburban U.S. is going to have several economic (and to a lesser degree, social) incentives to keep him from making the sort of decisions that you believe are more common in the Islam religion. In addition, the white Christian fundamentalist living in the U.S. is generally going to have a more stable, and more respected rule of law, which is likely to keep him/her from seeking a form of “vigilante justice”, for lack of a better term at the moment.

Similarly, a Muslim living in a economically and politically depressed, and corrupt environment is much less likely to have these same incentives keeping him/her from poor judgement and a sense of desparation.

One last tidbit, please do not take my use of the term Christian as a line of thought that I think Christians are somehow on equal footing with terrorists. Just going tit for tat in the discussion here.

Original Kyle 08 Nov 05

exactly. Politically correctness has handicapped and paralyzed governments from taking action for fear of “offending” someone. Not exactly the best way to keep your citizens safe.

Me again 08 Nov 05

The problem with Europe, and with America, is the lack of moral certainty to defend what is right. …

Oh, AMEN. I could not agree more. And it is only getting worse.

Michael 08 Nov 05

I think Francisco needs to run for office.

ramanan the troll 08 Nov 05

Finally, ramanan is just a troll.

So, let me get this straight. In this thread, we’ve all learned that immigrants travel to a new country in order to get the crappiest jobs they can, for the crappiest pay they can, in order to spite the ‘natives’. We’ve learned that Islam is built on a foundation of hate. We’ve learned that all immigrants are poor and backwards. We’ve learned that America needs to get back to its Christian roots. We’ve learned that the president of Iran is somehow representative of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world. We’ve learned that if a Muslim converts to another religion, they must be beheaded.

And I’m the troll? Maybe, since I don’t seem to agree with everyone else who posts here.

He is a Canadian who hates America for who knows what reason, who will say anything to try and make America look bad.

Well that’s half true. I am Canadian. But, reading this thread, I obviously don’t need to do anything to make America look bad. Many of you are doing a great job all on your own. Keep the ignorance up.

Michael Koziarski 08 Nov 05

Simply compare the percentage of self-described Christians … who shoot abortion doctors and beat on gays with the percentage of self-described Muslims… who claim religious justification for killing others not of their faith.

I’m sorry, but you’re comparing apples with oranges. How about we compare the percentage of self-described Christians who shoot abortion doctors with the percentage of muslims who commit suicide bombings.

My guess is that you’ll find the percentages are around about the same. Whacko nutjobs are whacko nutjobs irrespective of their religion.

zane 08 Nov 05

“It’s one thing to let people into your country when they want to be fellow countrymen, but it’s something completely different when they just want to live there. Living and being are significantly different, and France is seeing these differences right now — in flames. “

So no immigration without assimilation else your country will burn!

This may be the post/thread that kills 37s for me. I’ve been reading for a while, but I think I’m done now. I agree with Ramanan when he says “I think this post is one of the most ignorant, racist, piece of shit posts I’ve seen on your site. And I’ve been reading this site for a very long time.”

Peace.

original Kyle 08 Nov 05

Not true. you hear of whacko christian nutjobs once in a blue moon. Muslims blow themselves up daily, all in search of those virgins in paradise.

Michael 08 Nov 05

Ramanan,

Your previous post perfectly explains why you are a troll.

People move to new countries for opportunities. Often times, so that their children have oportunities.

Islam is not built on a foundation of hate.

Not ALL immigrants are poor and backwards.

The president of Iran is not representative of the 1.3 billion muslims in the world.

If a muslim converts to another religion in america they will not be beheaded.

HOWEVER

Many terrorists are muslim.

Many immigrants are poor and don’t understand local customs.

The president of Iran is in charge of a rather large military and may be close to obtaining nuclear weapons.

If someone trys to convert a muslim to another religion in Iran they will be punished by death.

RFontaine 08 Nov 05

The only reason this same thing is not happening in the United States is the drug problem. With much of our disillusioned population on drugs, in jail, on the run, there is less chance of open riots in the streets while they are thusly pre-occupied. That is why America is losing the war on drugs - the powers that be do not want to win it, only keep it the problem simmering.

Already 10% of Americans own 90% of its wealth, and that figure is worsening day by day. One day the have nots of America will explode.

Anonymous Coward 08 Nov 05

Ramanan, sad but true, but many of your points the beginning of your post reguarding Islam are the sad facts of life. Each of these points is pure truth.

John 08 Nov 05

Yes Rfontiane, this is true. Much of the wealth and power in
America is held by people who DID NOT EARN IT. Accident of birth (inheritance) is NOT a great way to select who will run the country.

WealthyMan 08 Nov 05

Show me one modern country where the majority of the wealth is NOT held by a minority. Such a country does not exist.

Furthermore, it is worse in third world countires. How much wealth to you think Somali peasants hold vs. their controlling warlords? More like 99.99% to 0.01%.

Share the wealth! How’d that work out for the USSR - oh yeah, not too well.

Michael 08 Nov 05

John,

“Much of the wealth and power in
America is held by people who DID NOT EARN IT”

Bullshit. Take a look at the list of Forbes 400. Most of them started businesses and earned their money. And their is a funny trend to. The people who inherited their money tend to slowly fall off the list. Here is a link so you can see yourself.

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2005/54/Worth_1.html?boxes=custom

zane 08 Nov 05

One last thing…

Anyone remember this site before it went off? I mean before the roadblocks and decks and appless web apps? And before this sensationalist, seemingly racist, political post?

Could we go back to talking about defensive design again? Honestly, I’d take the appless app over this nonsense.

Ok I’m done.

Kyle 08 Nov 05

Bingo wealthyman and Michael. Not only the Forbes 400, but speaking anecdotally, my family came from very poor backgrounds, and have succeeded wildly, as have most of my friends who come from poor backgrounds.

Also, again speaking anecdotally, the majority of my friends who are in the same age range as myself, and come from poorer backgrounds than myself are now making significantly more money than I am. I don’t think this is actually all that uncommon of a phenonmenon, and am beginning to see it as a natural benefit of capitalism.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

Many terrorists are muslim. Many immigrants are poor and don’t understand local customs.

And many aren’t. That’s a totally vacuous statement; you aren’t saying anything at all. What exactly do you mean by many?

The president of Iran is in charge of a rather large military and may be close to obtaining nuclear weapons. If someone trys to convert a muslim to another religion in Iran they will be punished by death.

You don’t see people judging Christianity harsly because it’s practiced with such fevour and fundamentalism in the United States. Similarly, one shouldn’t assume that Iranian government and the clerics are somehow the gold standard of Islam, it’s true representatives. The clerics in power wish to stay in power. It’s as simple as that. Abusing relgion is an easy way to do that.

Crawler 08 Nov 05

Zane, what is racist about this post? Immigration and assimilation are real issues every country faces, not racist issues. Labeling them racist makes them irrational to discuss (which may be your goal).

JF 08 Nov 05

Anyone remember this site before it went off? I mean before the roadblocks and decks and appless web apps? And before this sensationalist, seemingly racist, political post?

1. There’s nothing racist about this post.
2. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been around here on SvN since the beginning and we’ve always posted on political and current event topics. We even say so in the description at the top of the screen:

“This is Signal vs. Noise, a weblog by 37signals about design, customer experience, entertainment, politics, Basecamp, products we like, small business, ourselves, and more. Established 1999 in Chicago.”

That’s what we do here. That’s what we’ve always done here.

Original Kyle 08 Nov 05

You don’t see people judging Christianity harsly because it’s practiced with such fevour and fundamentalism in the United States.

You don’t see Christians lining up muslims and sawing their heads off either.

s 08 Nov 05

You don’t see people judging Christianity harsly because it’s practiced with such fevour and fundamentalism in the United States.

Maybe that’s beacause they are not blowing themselves up and taking civilians with them? If they were, I’m sure you would see Christianity judged in the same light.

Face it, Islam has a PR problems on its hands. Those few who kill themselves and other innocent people around them are those who make the news. Were more Islamic leaders to publicly denounce and decry these acts, I think more people would be able to separate the extremists from the regular Muslims.

My closest friends since high school are Muslims (I am not one). They are as hard working as anyone I have ever met, and I feel sorry for them when they are discriminated against. One of my friends looks like the classic terrorist, and he has all sorts of problems. Muslims need to take care of these extremists before things will change. There’s no other way around it.

huge 08 Nov 05

Well, some information and pieces of thinking :

(Disclaimer : here, French guy, living in Paris)

* The map is _very_ misleading: the “PARIS” in large caps with a big fire, the dark background, sorry for all France-haters but this is not (now) Irak. Come on, there has been less that 50 cars burnt _in the center of Paris_.
* On the Black African people with several wifes: it is illegal. It happens. Social workers tries to seperate the wifes in different flats and have success so far. And also, this not the majority, only a few percent of black people.
* 95% of people in the suburbs aren’t troublemakers. These 95% work, found companies, help in community, no problem with them.
* In the media, you never see the 95% people from this suburbs trying to live normally, you don’t view them. You only view them and their positive side now, when there is problem. Don’t be surprised then by the events. Shame on the media.
* In the media, reality TV and stupid games only show you superficial things, easy money, stupid people, no more hard work, no more passion, no more altruist gift. Of course, all youth (not only youth from the suburbs) want the easy way if you aren’t be showed the hard way or you’ve seen your big brother make study, try and failed.
* Rioters are in symbolical suicidal mode: they destroyed, have of course a message but not in political tone, they can’t express it in political tone : in the 80’s some people tried (‘La marche des Beurs’) but where fooled by left-wing.
* French Black and North-African people have their ID checked several time a day for some. Me, white French, has _never_ been checked by police in street. I can’t be a bad guy ? But not all can be rooted to racism.
* Left-wing have a responsability: social peace buying with State-money, it’s necessary but also make people childish and doesn’t cure the problem to the root and didn’t stop the 5% which were causing troubles.
* Right-wing also have a responsability: ideological politics based on repression only, with less money gave to people who made social things, helped kids with scolar problems.
* To stop entire suburbs being turned into ghettos, a law called ‘SRU’ was passed to do 20% of social flats (called ‘HLM’) in each city. Lots of cities (read, cities with right-wing mayors) don’t apply this law and the burden for not applying it isn’t enough hard.
* Chirac & Villepin (PM) tried to play a very dangerous game: don’t do anything, Sarkozy will shoot in his foot with this but unfortunately, it failed, and now, rioters know their strength. Shame on Villepin & Chirac to play this game to try to stop Sarkozy for 2007.
* Sarkozy is happy. His master plan worked perfectly. Expect +10% in popularity for him.
* Le Pen, de Villiers and far right-wind are more than happy. Also expect +5% and “I told you so, there is too much immigrants, etc”, the same old extremist things.
* Islamists are also more than happy. They are very cool and don’t go in the game. Also, no need for them, they will get the jackpot after events : “French people don’t like us, they don’t want us, etc etc”.

So … everyone loses, extremists people win.

Now, the solution ?

* Media : the public media should be reformated and stop the spreading of fear.
* Apply the SRU law : put HLM in rich cities, no more ghettos.
* A bit more repression but targeted and hard and clear rules: keep your kids under law or you parents, will suffer (UK has some very effective and gradual laws like this). Seems too rude ? No, sorry, 95% of immigrants are OK, we can’t anymore be cute with 5% of troublemakers.
* Total war against the islamists, no more compromise with people like UOIF, shame on you Sarkozy who bought social peace with these people.
* Maybe a social service ? Send 18 years old people from rich cities to these suburbs to see what their parents didn’t solve and make them do some scolar help. It will open their eyes. Send people from the suburbs work in a farm to show them hard work, get up a 6 in the morning, animals, country or to the sea. Some of them never saw the Eiffel Tower even if they live at 20km from it !

PS: it’s really funny to see the coverage of foreigners press (they’re overreacted and inflacting) and it makes you thinking on coverage of for example US problem by French press …

Wolfgang 08 Nov 05

I’m quite amazed by the amount of overt ignorance and barely hidden racism showing in (some of) these posts. This is the last thing I would have expected on Signal vs. Noise.

Firstly, the riots in France are above all the result of misguided integration and urban development policies. The dangers of segregating the underprivileged into the banlieus have been known for years, as has been the serious lack of perspective for so-called immigrants. But throughout the eighties and nineties nothing has been done to remedy this situation.

Secondly, being proud of being a secular nation built on the values of liberté, egalité, fraternité just isn’t enough if these values are being held in high regard when celebrating war heroes, but neglected when it comes to so-called immigrants - who are in fact, as mentioned by ramanan, first-class French citizens. Latest example: calling the rioters ‘vermin’ (Sarkozy) instead of acknowledging the aforementioned problems.

To be sure, I’m not trying to defend people who burn schools and kill old men as being justified to do so. But to suggest that they do so because they are Muslims or immigrants unwilling to integrate is just plainly stupid.

In my country (Germany), we had similar discussions for a few years, and right now, everyone is asking whether a situation like the one in France could arise here. And again I here people talking of a ‘Leitkultur’ (leading culture) to which immigrants have to assimilate to avoid such a development. But at the same time studies show that in no other industrialized country educational success is as determined by one’s social background (family income, parents’ educational background etc.) as in Germany. Do they never learn?

Living in the city of Hamburg, I know pretty well about drug-dealing immigrants, Russian or Albanian gangs and problems of so-called parallel cultures. But in Germany, we also have regions suffering from excessive right-wing extremist violonce, with by any standard German culprits. The one thing violent outbursts in France, Los Angeles or Germany have in common: These violent acts are committed by seriously disorientated people lacking a perspective in life.

Again, by no means I want to justify those violent acts. But we have to know about the real causes to provide a cure.

Maybe some of you will say “So, it’s the government again”. It isn’t that easy. It’s up to us to take liberté, egalité, fraternité at face value. That means to demand respect for life and liberty from anyone - from the immigrant, from the Muslim, the Christian, the extremist, from my neighbour, from my friends. This isn’t about habits or religion, it’s about the basic rules of democracy and free societies. This means to speak up against Islamist ideology, but it also means to speak up against WASP arrogance and racism. And, yes, it means to make our governments do their best to provide everyone with an equal opportunity for education and social mobility.

Only when these opportunities are for real and still an immigrant (or anyone, really) doesn’t want to do his or her best to use them are we in a position to condemn.

RamanansConcscience 08 Nov 05

You don’t see people judging Christianity harsly because it’s practiced with such fevour and fundamentalism in the United States.

Fervent practice of fundamentalist Christianity - how does that manifest itself? Outside of a few wackos, it manifests itself in moral behavior and a conservative outlook on politics, foremost. Maybe they don’t celebrate Halloween and probably aren’t in favor of many liberal movements. They vote for a president that you don’t like.

Fervent practice of fundamentalist Islam - even if I give you the guys who flew the planes into the WTC were wackos - which many Muslims don’t agree with (ask most anyone in Palestine, Iran or Iraq - or even Saudi Arabia for example) what about the daily suicide bombings? What about the daily hate spewing forth? What about the fact that mainstream Islam does NOT decry this behaviour 99% of the time? Where are your clerics on this issue? I’ll tell you where, they’re behind the scenes, pouring gas on the fire. Don’t tell me this isn’t a problem in France either, because it is.

You are a troll, and you have NO idea what you are talking about - specifically about Christianity.

Anonymous Coward 08 Nov 05

The difference between Muslims in America and France. Answer: They are far better off in the US. They have jobs, they have an education, they have opportunity, they want to be Americans.

p8 08 Nov 05

“What about the fact that mainstream Islam does NOT decry this behaviour 99% of the time?”

Making up facts makes you a troll.

Ramanan the Troll 08 Nov 05

Kyle: You don’t see Christians lining up muslims and sawing their heads off either.

Kyle, you got me. Christians are the bees knees. Christians never do anything bad, and if they do, they aren’t actually Christian. Muslims on the other hand are always Muslims, whether they do good or bad. The Koran can talk about the murder one person equaling the murder of all mankind, but that’s just bullshit — the kill the infidels part is the only part of the Koran worth paying attention to.

Am I over simplyfying what you think? Probably. I’m guessing not by much.


RamanansConcscience: You are a troll, and you have NO idea what you are talking about - specifically about Christianity.

Yes, because the people talking about Islam here are obviously experts on the subject.

Jason: There’s nothing racist about this post.

Well thanks Jason. I had been confused for much of this thread. Just so we don’t misunderstand one another, I think your post is a racist piece of shit because you start off making the assumption the kids rioting aren’t French, which they are. Does not being being White make you less French? Apparently so. The French didn’t let any of these kids into their country. The kids were born their. They are French. If they lived in America, they would be “Your Fellow Countrymen” as you like to put it, whether you like it or not.

Original Kyle 08 Nov 05

Making up facts makes you a troll.

Hardly made up. You surely don’t see Islam mullahs crying for the stop to violence, and that’s just a fact, like it or not. Nope, they’re in their Mosques praising allah for this great blessing of jihad against the infidels.

original Kyle 08 Nov 05

Kyle, you got me. Christians are the bees knees. Christians never do anything bad, and if they do, they aren’t actually Christian.

Oh sure they do. No Christian is perfect, in fact that’s the basis of Christianity. Jesus came to forgive our shortcomings as sinning mortals here on earth. Your point is ignorant however because if you compare the common “bad” a typical Christian does, which is in America most commonly personal sins (adultry, etc), against muslim “bad”, it’s not even in the same ballpark.

Garri 08 Nov 05

I predict(ed) a riot

Kyle 08 Nov 05

@Ramaman:

I think you’re inferring more from Jason’s post than is actually there. I reread the initial post after Jasons comment, and I can see no comment that would imply racism. I think you’re automatically making the conversion: anti-immigration = racism.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Jason’s post is wrongheaded (though a good question), but I don’t see any racism in it.

JF 08 Nov 05

Ramanan, I never said anyone wasn’t French. They are French (as long as they are legal French citizens, of course). If they aren’t legal then they absolutely are not French.

But being French in label and French in spirit are different things. Just as terrorists use Islam as a label, Islam obviously doesn’t mean terrorism. I don’t think peaceful Muslims identify brutal Islamic terrorists as “fellow Muslims.”

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe these rioters want to pledge allegiance to France and become proud French citizens. Maybe this is their way of showing it. But if you listen to their religious leaders, they consistently denounce the west. I don’t see how you can denounce the west and want to be proud French citizens living a French way of life. Something doesn’t seem to fit.

JF 08 Nov 05

I’m not even saying anti-immigration. I’m just saying immigration and assimilation are serious issues facing all western countries at this time. There’s nothing racist about suggesting these are issues facing these governments.

Kyle 08 Nov 05

@JF:

You’re right, Jason; I apologize for the mischaracterization. I inferred:

“It’s one thing to let people into your country when they want to be fellow countrymen, but it’s something completely different when they just want to live there.”

to mean that you somehow thought the only people who should be allowed into a country are those that are predisposed to behaving to a certain preexisting set of norms within a culture of that country.

Again, my apology.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

Jason:

You say, “Living and being are significantly different, and France is seeing these differences right now — in flames.” You say as much right after stating, “It’s one thing to let people into your country when they want to be fellow countrymen, but it’s something completely different when they just want to live there.”

So France is learning what lessons exactly? That they shouldn’t have let who into their country? Who is a countrymen in France, and who isn’t? Your post suggests that those rioting are the very people you wouldn’t want to invite into your country, nevermind the fact they have as much right to be their as any other citizen. Nevermind that they weren’t invited period, that they were born there. From the offset you treat the rioters as second class citizens, which by the sounds of things is how they are probably used to being treated.

Your post is poorly thought out at best, and at worse racist. I think it’s ignorant.

Now I don’t think violence is going to solve anything; really, it only damages your cause. However, the riots have got the children world wide attention. And this isn’t a new problem. It’s sad that it takes fires in the streets before people decide to give a damn.

Kyle:

I don’t think this post is anti-immigration per-say. I actually agree that a productive immigrant is going to be one that wants to be a part of the society they are moving to. However, if you live in a society that doesn’t want to have anything to do with you, where do you place the blame when things don’t work?

Original Kyle:

You can keep your overt racism to yourself. Christianity is awesome. You win. You truly are a champion of the 37signals cause.

ana 08 Nov 05

Just a Reminder, Most of those immigrants are from north africa, France colonisied Algeria for 125 years… Using their natural resources… manpower, soldiers… after the independance, that’s when most of those immigrants got their, they grew up under the frensh govt…

Paul 08 Nov 05

I’m with FineJames (see above)

>FineJames 08 Nov 05
>The French are paralyzed because they can’t figure out who to surrender to

viva la french toast 08 Nov 05

even while burning… france brings the p0rn! we love you france!

JF 08 Nov 05

ramanan, I’m suggesting that countries should not allow people into their borders if those people do not want to assimilate, yes. This isn’t racist or anti-immigration. It’s immigration of the right people with the right motives.

And yes, there are people that aren’t right for a country and don’t have the right motives. There are billions of people, but not all are the right fit for a specific situation. For example, I wouldn’t be a good fit for Iran — I don’t believe in their system or their vision. I shouldn’t live in Iran and they shouldn’t want me there.

I’m not basing this on color, race, religion, class, or economic standards. I’m basing it on a desire to be part of the society at large. You can be black or white or any shade in between, you can be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, you can be rich or poor. But you have to be French. Or American. Or Italian. Or whatever country you want to be a part of.

Groups that head into another country to set up their own closed off societies are dangers to the host country. This goes for white supremacists as much as it goes for Muslim extremists.

But, whatever. I’m not going to have a conversation with someone labeling me a racist. Your head is already in the wrong place, and your blood is already boiling, to have a rational discussion about this.

huxley 08 Nov 05

Original Kyle: The mullahs and islamic elders in France could stop the rioting in an INSTANT with a decry or order from the mosques to the muslim community, but they sit silent… most likely basking in the glory in their “day of reckoning”

On November 7, 2005, the Union of Islamic Organisations of France issued a fatwa condemning the ongoing violence. Your apology to French “mullahs” is eagerly awaited.

Anonymous Coward 08 Nov 05

Original Kyle:

You can keep your overt racism to yourself. Christianity is awesome. You win. You truly are a champion of the 37signals cause.

ramanan-
My friend you are ignorant. If you’ll re-read my posts, I say nothing at all about the color of anyone’s skin. My posts are reguarding religion. There are black, white, yellow, and brown muslims, just as likewise there are Christians. Your “racist card” usage only furthers your point that you are a lost troll in a big scary forest of common sense.

Francisco 08 Nov 05

Ramanan, you are evading the fact that while all men are created equal, not all belief systems and cultures are created equal. Secular reason gave us the airplane and the skyscraper, it took us to the moon, it mapped the genome, and it cured smallpox among other things. Islamic fundamentalism stole our airplanes and smashed them into our skyscrapers, gave us the suicide bomber, televised decapitations, and the burka.

So the desire to restrict the immigration of Islamic fundamentalism does not make one a racist. Martin Luther King said once “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. Jason, Kyle, Michael, myself, and the other posters are not judging the islamist rioters by the color of their skin, we are judging them by the content of their character.

Your race is your unchosen hardware, but your culture is your chosen software. So racism is unethical for the same reason that culturism is ethical. Race is unchosen so it cannot be judged, but culture is chosen, so it must be judged.

p8 08 Nov 05

Apparently 99% of muslims are inheritently evil:
Original Kyle: “What about the fact that mainstream Islam does NOT decry this behaviour 99% of the time?… You surely don’t see Islam mullahs crying for the stop to violence, and that’s just a fact, like it or not. Nope, they’re in their Mosques praising allah for this great blessing of jihad against the infidels.

99% of christians are evil too, but that’s just part of their religion:
Orginal Kyle: “No Christian is perfect, in fact that’s the basis of Christianity. Jesus came to forgive our shortcomings as sinning mortals here on earth.

So you can sin. You just have to be a christian, not a muslim.


Orignal Kyle: “Your point is ignorant however because if you compare the common “bad” a typical Christian does, which is in America most commonly personal sins (adultry, etc), against muslim “bad”[ Which is what? A typical suicide bombing?!? ] , it’s not even in the same ballpark.

Yes, the US showed the muslim world it’s moral superiority by invading a ‘muslim’ country while knowing the justification was based on lies (and in the process killing a whole lot of innocent civilians).

huxley 08 Nov 05

JF: I don’t see how you can denounce the west and want to be proud French citizens living a French way of life. Something doesn’t seem to fit.

I know what you mean, Pat Robertson and the fundamentalists are perpetually denouncing the way of life in the West, yet I’m having no luck getting them thrown out of the country! It’s a shame that “those people” don’t understand that freedom means believing exactly what you and I believe.

Kyle 08 Nov 05

@JF: First of all, I admire your willingness to continue to partake in this conversation, even after, as you pointed out, being incorrectly labeled a racist, not to mention the unnecessary cursing. I truly don’t know how you find the time to do so, and run a successful business. My hats off.

The only problem I have with your last post is that, most poor people in economically disadvantaged, and politically corrupt countries don’t really have the luxury to pick and choose which country they immigrate to. Like it or not, the U.S. and those in the European Union have more lax immigration policies.

My only stipulation for incoming immigrants is a willingness to work hard and be considerate of others. I consider all the interesting cultural differences to generally be a benefit for this poorly traveled anglo-cracka.

“Groups that head into another country to set up their own closed off societies are dangers to the host country. This goes for white supremacists as much as it goes for Muslim extremists.”

I do agree with this sentiment, and I generally think group self-segragation is intimidating no matter who is doing it.

BIG POPPA 08 Nov 05

Who cares

Anonymous Coward 08 Nov 05

Who cares

You will when you’re being shoved into an oven or gas chamber someday after Islam defeats america.

huxley 08 Nov 05

I call Godwin’s Law!!!!

p8 08 Nov 05

Yes, just like in all those other countries islam ‘defeated’.

Spike 08 Nov 05

Guess who is going to Paris for NYE :/

Truly selfish, but I’m more concerned about the prospect of some, uh, ‘real’ fireworks around the Eiffel Tower at midnight, than I am about the intolerant atmosphere in France. Anyone dare to suggest France haven’t been staring this in the face for a while now?

Anonymous Coward 08 Nov 05

Yes, just like in all those other countries islam ‘defeated’.

You’re right, the Crusades put a stop to that.

p8 08 Nov 05

I’m learning something new every day.

Apparently the crusades put a stop to the muslim gas chambers.

Kyle, could you post a link, so I can share this newly found ‘knowledge’?

Original Kyle 08 Nov 05

for the record, anonymous wasn’t intentional.

p8- my response was the fact that the crusades put an end to muslim conquerors, just incase you wanted a reality check.

original Kyle 08 Nov 05

and p8, you infer the crusades didn’t stop the muslim oppression. In actuality, the crusades were responses to Muslim invasions on what was once land occupied primarily by Christians. From approximately 200 A.D. to approximately 900 A.D. the land of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, etc. was inhabited primarily by Christians. Once Islam began to spread and become powerful, muslims invaded these lands and brutally oppressed, enslaved, deported, and murdered the Christians living in those lands. In response, the Roman Catholic Church and “Christian” kings / emperors from Europe ordered the crusades to reclaim the land the Muslims had taken.

Anonymous Coward 08 Nov 05

Seriously, people, I think that some of you are oversimplificating things.

@kyle (not the original one)
What makes you think that muslim leaders are any more representative of a muslim majority than are christian ones of a christian majority? (Would you have agreed to having Chavez killed?) And, again, if in muslim communities there is more willingness to follow radical doctrines, we have to think about the real causes instead of blaming it all on the religion.

@Francisco
Maybe you should think about this, too. Christianity has given us such wonderful things as witch hunt, crusades and torture of heretics. The only reason why these practices are (hopefully) not accepted anymore is a history of religious wars and enlightenment. I am the first to admit that Islam hasn’t underwent this kind of history treatment yet (although I’d like to point out that there was some kind of Islamic enlightenment without which we wouldn’t have any knowledge of Aristoteles’ thoughts, e.g. - in the time of christian crusades!), but this isn’t about religion, it’s about history and politics. And reducing character to ‘adherent of religion x’ is not very far from racism, to be honest.

@JF
True, your post wasn’t racist. But ‘assimilating’ has, to me, a ring of ‘live your life as we would like you to do’. Here I would like to differentiate between following certain cultural habits and following the basic rules of democracy and free societies. If you meant ‘Follow the rule of treating everyone as being equal’, I would agree - who doesn’t follow this rule (e.g. by forcing women to wear burkas) is to be critized or even condemned. But if you mean ‘Live exactly as we do’, I would strongly disagree. Democracy and free society are not built on conforming behaviour, but on respect for the basic civil rights.

Andreas Climent 08 Nov 05

Sadly, I too feel that this post is ignorant.
As I interpret the text, Jason says that the rioters do not want to be french. I would like to see what facts that statement is based on.

Sure, me and some other commenters might interpret to much from the text. But when I first read it, I felt angry because you guys usualy post good content, and this felt ignorant and stupid.

Of course religion can be part of the problem as some commenters imply. But radical religious movements are problems independent of the religion they are (more or less) based on. Somthing interesting in this thread is that everyone says that the majority of “terrorists” are muslims. You should all consider that a terrorist and a freedom fighter can pretty much be the same thing, it just depends on from whoes perspective you look at him/her.

I do agree that imigrants should learn the language and follow the laws, but what exactly defines a “fellow countryman”. Do you need to fit into the stereotypes?
What exactly says that your view of a country, and the factors you need to pass to be a fellow countryman is what most people agree with? Everyone will have different opinions because we are all different. That is something we should embrace and use to it’s advantage instead of trying to fit everyone through the same ideals of a good citizen.

As someone said above, I believe that a great part of the problem is how media handles immigrants, and news in general. If you are fed images of everything bad everyone does and everything bad that happens on a daily basis, sooner or later you will think that those images reflect the reality. So if immigrants are shown as pushed down in the media, they will probably also feel pushed down after a while.

Of course there is some truth to the things we see in media, but if they instead of just showing everything bad that happens, also showed everything good, I believe we would have a better society.

Andreas

Wolfgang 08 Nov 05

Just to clear things up - the latest anonymous post was mine. Sorry for the missubmit.

ramanan 08 Nov 05

Here is my issue with this whole thread, which I feel i’ve repeated a few times already. I’ll do it once more, and then try my best to shut up because no doubt I have crossed over from being outraged to being obnoxious.

Jason, what bothered me about your post is the suggestion that France’s current woes are due to France letting immigrants who don’t want to be there move in. You used the phrase, “… France is seeing these differences right now — in flames.” You have taken two seperate issues and mixed them together in a way that is offensive. As Huge — whose comment is one of the few gems in the thread — and others have pointed out, the problems in France were bred in France. It ceases to be an issue of immigration when the children rioting are in fact French citizens, children born in France. By framing the riots as an immigration issue, you suggest that the children rioting are outsiders. And no doubt they are, as this seems to be how they are treated.

Even parts of your follow-up comment are objectionable. Obviously the rioters are unhappy with the situation they are in. They aren’t happy with France. Does their violent dissent make them less French? If you somehow ended up in Iran, would you feel compelled to be quiet in the face of all the oppression? Is the will of the majority always right? I would argue no. In the case of France, you have disenfranchised youth who were not considered a problem till they started burning cars in the streets. The majority had no interest in them, or their problems. Reading your comment, this would appear to be a non-issue. The rioters don’t want to be French. I wouldn’t either if I was in their shoes.

I called you racist because your words suggest that those rioting aren’t French. They are angry Arabs and Blacks first, and French citizens second. It’s one thing to write you don’t care about whether someone is Black or White, it is another thing to actually mean it. I’m probably reading way more into what you’re writing then perhaps you would have people read. We can’t talk face to face, and short comments aren’t an ideal way to communicate. But this website is read by thousands of people, and I felt compelled to say something after reading your post.

Was that more level headed? Maybe?

Christophe 08 Nov 05

FineJames & Paul, please go back to school.

Lisa 08 Nov 05

I have a serious question…I’m not trying to be a smart ass.

Ramanan, you say: The rioters don’t want to be French. I wouldn’t either if I was in their shoes.

Well, if they don’t want to be French, why don’t they leave France?

ramanan 08 Nov 05

Lisa, if you are a teenager and poor, where would you go? I don’t think leaving is an option persay. If you are poor, it is hard to immigrate period. France is part of the EU, so presumable you could move around Europe, but I imagine this is prohibitively expensive for most. Furthermore, if you feel that there is injustice in the society you live in, perhaps that is worth staying and fighting to overcome. (Mind you, I get the impression the children rioting are just frustrated, and probably aren’t contemplating the politics of what they are up to.) Also, it seems like a failure of the state when your citizens are disenfranchised. A country like France should not have people fleeing its borders.

warren 08 Nov 05

Wasn’t able to keep up with the discussion until now.

See, that’s the problem. Seeing immigrants as ‘poor and backward’. How do you expect them to react to that attitude?

They come from countries where women are treated like dirt. They don’t speak the language of the country they’re in. They’re largely uneducated and unskilled. Forgive me for pointing out the obvious. You can go do surveys of immigrants and calculate average income with a spreadsheet and if they make much less than most people, you call them poor. You call a spade a spade instead of pretending everyone is so great and wonderful like most liberals want to.

It’s not my fucking problem to fix. It’s not problematic that I plainly observe that people burning down fucking cars while screaming “Allahu akbar” in France are backward and poor. So no, it’s not a problem. I expect them to react by making the best of the situation and working hard for a better life.

Hint: Turning the area you live into a miniature Muslim shithole the way the north African immigrants have does not constitution working for a better life. I’ll spare you the trouble of typing it and reply: “it’s not the immigrants’ fault, it’s always whitey’s fault. More handouts are necessary.” I know, I know.

Hubris Sonic 08 Nov 05

liberal immigration policies in the 1960s
Most of the people arrested in the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles were illegal immigrants
don’t want to assume the responsibility of a proper citizen
idle population on welfare
protect the right of the minority. However, often that is best done by having a smaller government.
They do not respect French law
this group of people are one of the most assisted AND catered to.
that can be handled on common ground among countryman
I’ve seen true Islam. I’ve been on the ground in these countries
fundamental morals that our country was founded on
Islam is kills the Jews, and eradicate the Christians.

I thought I would pull out some of the lies posted in this thread. Just to highlight the ugliness. Those of you who are appalled at the

pathetic little minds at work here. should be aware, this is the next wave of hate we can expect from these people. Bush’s policies have

failed, They have clearly sent the message that “immigration” and the brown skinned peoples are to blame for the faux persecution of the

religious right and all else that ails them. well that and people who have healthy sex.

pay attention to the noise, you can hear their message, their codewords. e.g. “Fellow Countryman”

Its funny how the same people who criticize the Chirac goverment for its incompentant response (and it is incompentant) to this unrest,

are the same people who failed to find fault with the Bush government’s response to hurricane Katrina… funny that…

Operation Hate and Kill the Brown people in full effect. All lickspittle, syncophant boot licking lackeys to your keyboards!

Alan 08 Nov 05

A couple of points

1. If a lot of commenters here are correct and it is all the fault of significant institutionalized French racism, then France is not a country to be emulated or agreed with in any way.

2. Ramanan said “Does their violent dissent make them less French?”. Yes, absolutely, if they believe that the foundational beliefs of France government are incorrect (as radical muslims do).

3. Anonymous said “if in muslim communities there is more willingness to follow radical doctrines, we have to think about the real causes instead of blaming it all on the religion.” Name a real cause outside of Imams preaching around the world that Muslims must fight the Jihad until the umma has established its leadership in every country. Show me another religion - not a politician - another religion saying these things and then following up with action. Radical Islam is a problem around the world. If moderate muslims are not prepared to support the fight, then the world will suffer.

4. Moral relativism is leading the western world down the path to self destruction…

Hubris Sonic 08 Nov 05

Moral relativism is leading the western world down the path to self destruction…

missed this lie, but then it was posted after my post.

Kyle 08 Nov 05

Speaking of trolls… Wow… I comment further, but somehow I can imagine it being worth it.

Alan 08 Nov 05

Original Huxley: On November 7, 2005, the Union of Islamic Organisations of France issued a fatwa condemning the ongoing violence. Your apology to French “mullahs” is eagerly awaited.

If you read more…

UOIF’s chairman Lhaj Thami Breze cast doubt over the parties behind the accelerating violence.
He accused several parties, including far-rightists and Zionist lobby, of fishing in the troubled water to “smear the image of Muslims and Arabs”.
The Muslim leader said many of the incidents involving the burning of public properties remain ambiguous.
“The rioting, which started as a spontaneous reaction, is not like that anymore. Some parties are feeding these incidents,” Breze charged.
“The perpetrators of such actions can never be Muslims,” he averred.

So why issue the Fatwa then…hmm?

huxley 08 Nov 05

Alan: So why issue the Fatwa then…hmm?

Well, I’m sure you can interpret the comment quite well enough on your own, but I can explain it if you’d like: the fellow is saying that the rioting has spread outside the Muslim youth groups. He is saying that he believes the actions are un-Islamic and if any Muslim youths are involved they are doing the work of the enemies of Islam. You and I might use a similar expression when we say someone is un-Christian and doing the Devil’s work.

He is off in conspiracy land but, in the end, he is issuing the fatwa — I think — because he wants Muslim youth to know that destroying the vehicles of innocent people is unjustifiable regardless of their rationalizations or justifications.

I think he is paranoid and scapegoats Zionists. I do however think he is right that the fires are being set by more than just Muslim youth, I just don’t think it’s part of a conspiracy, I happen to think it’s part of the chaos that happens during riots.

Alan: Moral relativism is leading the western world down the path to self destruction…

Moral relativism isn’t a philosophy that is held by Islamic fundamentalists (or really fundamentalists of any religion or creed) … so wtf is your point?

Vaughn 08 Nov 05

An exercise in clarity: Explain what’s happening in France in 15 words or less.

Mark John B. 08 Nov 05

I don’t think it’s logical to easily implicate the cause of the problem of immigration to what France is facing right now.

The reason that they are rioting is due to a single incident and the exact tone this blog post is on. Concluding that immigration is the cause of the problem and that the immigrants are sparking these problems is exactly what will flame these kind of riots.

If only everyone just thinks how these immigrants lived before they arrived in your “better” country, you would think twice before you make your comments that immigrants are the cause. These people migrate for one reason, and that is to live a better life. And the last thing they want to migrate to is to be part of a riot. And they are in no way violent, and to say that they are already violent even at the thought that they are immigrants, is wrong.

The riots are clearly a result of discrimination, and the far extent on how some (most of us prefer peaceful means) of the segregated react to an unwelcoming society. This is what Rosa Parks have been figthing for, the moment she refused her bus seat; and she thinks immigrants are not the problem. And majority of us thinks immigration is not the problem. Also, Parks never condone voilence as the mode of reaction. The problem is brought by the increasing separation between the rich and the poor, brought about by unemployment, lack of opportunities, and a lot of other things, which are better discussed on another forum.

And the more people think and label that immigration is the root the problem, the more they will discriminate, and the more these problems escalates.

I am from a third world country (I am a Filipino to be exact), and i see a lot of my friends, neighbors, who has nothing left, or has spent their last ounce of hope to survive, to migrate to greener pastures. And it pains me to hear that they are being viewed as the cause of the problems of the country that they are migrating to — and they are being instantly and deliberately discriminated because of that assumption.

So I hope everyone who’s been to this blog will think differently as what Jason has pointed out on his post — and consider that the cause of the problem is not of what we are, but of what we do. And i beg to differ that what we are (immigrants, foreigners, 3rd world migrants, asians, arabs, poor) will always likely result as the problem.

Here’s a thought, what if you were born on our side of the world, and in our race? Would you have felt the same way, and have probably done the same things? And what really makes a difference between us, when we’re all born the same way.

MH 08 Nov 05

Moral relativism isn’t a philosophy that is held by Islamic fundamentalists (or really fundamentalists of any religion or creed) … so wtf is your point?

The point is that moral relativism means trying to “understand the feelings” of terrorists and other criminals, and appease them, rather than punish them. This is the absolute worst thing to do.

Hubris Sonic 08 Nov 05

no, the point is that NOONE is trying to “understand the feelings” of terrorists.

Thats just another strawman. in just another hate spreading post in another blog.

can i suggest, http://www.goarmy.com to help get out your frustrations.

Original Kyle 08 Nov 05

An exercise in clarity: Explain what’s happening in France in 15 words or less.

Beginning of islamic jihad against Christians and the western world.

I am from a third world country (I am a Filipino to be exact), and i see a lot of my friends, neighbors, who has nothing left, or has spent their last ounce of hope to survive, to migrate to greener pastures. And it pains me to hear that they are being viewed as the cause of the problems of the country that they are migrating to — and they are being instantly and deliberately discriminated because of that assumption.

While I sympathize with immigrants looking for a new life and new opportunities, the sad truth is far too many (speaking on America here) immigrants enter this country and suck the system dry like leaches. Government handouts, welfare, free health care, education, etc all at the expense of tax paying citizens. (even illegals get this!?) There are some who adapt and do great. I can think of some I know who work hard, and earn a good life. It’s the majority who come here and EXPECT a good life, yet are unwilling or unable to earn it, that only earn the contempt of native citizens toward them for this leach-like behavior. That’s their choice. Work hard and become a productive member of the new society they’re in (including learning the native tounge), or buck the system and suck it dry, never really living up to any potential you may or may not have. It’s shame on the government for even offering these handouts in the 1st place, instead of just letting the willing work for it.

Original Kyle 08 Nov 05

no, the point is that NOONE is trying to “understand the feelings” of terrorists.

NOR SHOULD THEY! Oh wait, I understand what you’re after. Let’s all hold pinkies in a circle and sway while singing KumBaya. Then we can all sit back and bask in the wonderful utopia we’ve created by politically correctness and equality for all, no matter what their violent agendas may be.

Its a different world, wake up.

MH 08 Nov 05

no, the point is that NOONE is trying to “understand the feelings” of terrorists.

Except Villepin. And most of the news media. Anyhow, that certainly was NOT Alan’s point.

MH 08 Nov 05

can i suggest, http://www.goarmy.com to help get out your frustrations.

Like all the other cross-eyed trigger-happy moron warmongers, is that what you’re saying?

Hubris Sonic 08 Nov 05

who would your jesus bomb MH?

pp 08 Nov 05

I’m with Zane and Ramanan here. The post is a classic example of current popular racism. I’ll try to clarify why I think JF is indeed propagating typically racist views. You have to consider how far-right political groups recruit nowadays. The classic image of hood-wearing racism is socially unacceptable to most people and is at best preaching to the converted. This has been a problem for some decades and the right have been increasingly associated with, well… a bunch of nasty old white men basically - not babysitter material for sure. So they have been desperately trying to rebrand themselves as a matter of political survival. Finally they have hit upon the meme of ‘assimilation’ which sounds like something that people who like to think of themselves as respectable and educated can debate at dinner parties (much as the ‘Jewish problem’ used to be discussed but I won’t get into that here). This is absolute nonsense when you think about it because of course a country is simply the sum of its inhabitants. To discuss ‘assimilation’, you first have to divide the ‘original countrymen’ from the ‘new applicants’, as it were - and this is precisely the point at which you have become a racist - in most cases without even knowing it! Now, if you point out the important fact that a country is the sum of its inhabitants (this bears repeating), some more um..experienced racists may like to try and muddy the waters by saying something like a country is defined by its history and traditions - they might even use the code word ‘culture’. Again this sounds fine until you apply some critical thinking. History is a living thing - it really just means what happens and of course everybody is equally a part of that, regardless of their views or hairstyle. As for ‘culture’ - in this context there is a clear implication of ‘our’ culture and ‘their’ culture - again the seed of racist thinking. I find it really astonishing to read this kind of brain-dead ultra-conservatism from people who are supposed to be looking at problem-solving in a progressive and creative way.

It’s well-known that there is a tendency that the most intelligent people are the easiest to brainwash because they love to extrapolate and once they have accepted an idea, their pride finds inventive ways to protect it in the face of all logic, common sense and decency.

MH 08 Nov 05

Who would your jesus bomb MH?

Jumping to conclusions aren’t we?

Hubris.Sonic 08 Nov 05

nice post pp.

did i touch a nerve MH?, hmmm…

pp 08 Nov 05

> original kyle:
>
> It’s the majority who come here and EXPECT a good life, yet > are unwilling or unable to earn it,

and what data is this based on? or is that just how you imagine it to be?

MH 08 Nov 05

I think ALL religions have serious problems; that’s why I don’t subscribe to any.

MH 08 Nov 05

(pp) It’s well-known that there is a tendency that the most intelligent people are the easiest to brainwash because they love to extrapolate and once they have accepted an idea, their pride finds inventive ways to protect it in the face of all logic, common sense and decency.

Speaking of logic…lucky thing you’re so highly brainwash-resistant :)

Original Kyle 08 Nov 05

and what data is this based on? or is that just how you imagine it to be?

See, that’s your problem. You can’t think for yourself. “Give me data! I want the numbers! blah. If you rely on libreal propoganda to give you your worldview, that’s sad. Get out and observe for yourself, form an opinion on how it really is. I see the world and how it is, and that’s what I form my opinions and comments on, not some poll or stuffy study done by socialist professors on left wing campuses. How do i see the world? Certainly not through our left slanted media. I travel it. I’ve been to 9 countries this year alone. I’ve seen these places, lived in them, traveled them. The fact with America is that immigrants come here expecting to have a better life (why the hell would they come here if they didn’t). There’s also something to be said for why that expectation has a strong connection with the handouts our government gives out to these people. You wonder why mexicans smuggle themselves across. “Hey, go to america and you get free food, free housing, free education for your kids, free healthcare, all at the taxpayers’ expense!”

THAT is my data.

Hubris Sonic 08 Nov 05

thats the other prevelant lie told by these racists. they surely have never left the white neighborhoods they live in.

lies backed up by other lies.

original Kyle 08 Nov 05

hey surely have never left the white neighborhoods they live in.

If you’ll kindly read, i’ve seen the world. Both my next door neighbors are minorities. Don’t give me this “white man neighborhood” crap. Talk about racist.

All I can do anymore is sit back and laugh at ignorant fools such as yourself. In the end perhaps you’ll awaken from your left wing dream.

Hubris Sonic 09 Nov 05

Its not 15 words, but the Professor weighs in here.

Jay 09 Nov 05

A lot of you don’t seem to realize that these ethnic-minority enclaves were created because the ethnic-majority would not allow them to be integrated into mainstream society.

For example, Chinatowns in the US arose because there were laws prohibiting Chinese from owning land—and not to mention the Chinese Exclusion Act and anti-miscegenation laws.

Sure, it’s a lot better now, but the remnants of hatred and prejudice still exist.

I predominately hang around other Asians because I’m tired of having to explain that I don’t know kung fu and that I won’t eat your dog.

Of course I’m not saying that all non-Asians are prejudice like this, but after 30+ years of living with these constant questions and stereotypes, sometimes I just want to be myself. And it’s a lot easier to be myself when I’m around others who will let me.

indi 09 Nov 05

I agree with original kyle to the extent that life experience can be worth a lot. On the other hand not everyone on the right or left are ignorant fools. I appreciate the social and political positngs on SvN precisely because of the varied responses, strong opinions, well thought out and supported arguments as well as (a guilty pleasure) the out and out crazy talk. I find that the postings I don’t agree with do tend to make me think more critically about my own views and why I have them.

So anyone who doesn’t want to see political postings here, please feel free to change the channel :-)

Lau T. 09 Nov 05

These are people put into ghettoes and “taken care of” by the government.

If the government had not taken the responsibility for their own life away from them, they would probably wouldn’t have time to burn stuff, because they would have to work to support themselves.

The problem is not poverty. If you are too poor to be able to buy food, you would probably try to improve your situation. In the meantime a poor person would beg or steal food, not waste money on matches to burn cars.

Unemployment? If there were no minimum wage or rules to prevent employers from laying off people in the future, employers would be more able to hire people.

Even though though government policies worsen these peoples lives, that of course does not make it OK to attack random people or burn their property.

Wolfgang 09 Nov 05

Good to see some reasonable comments after all. Especially, thanks to Mark John B., Huxley, Jay and PP for at last bringing up some arguments.

As to ‘arguments’:

Alan: Name a real cause outside of Imams preaching around the world that Muslims must fight the Jihad until the umma has established its leadership in every country.

You keep confusing what some religious leaders demand and why people are following them. No one would deny that extremist Imams are a problem, but that doesn’t tell us why there are now (1) more of them and (2) more people willing to follow their doctrines than a few decades ago. Again, this isn’t about religion, it’s about politics and hsitory.

Original Kyle: I see the world and how it is, and that’s what I form my opinions and comments on, not some poll or stuffy study done by socialist professors on left wing campuses.

See, that is exactly the reason why you won’t get any understanding of political problems and possible solutions: You rely on anecdotal evidence, and everything apart from your (and probably your fellows’) opinions has to be socialist or left wing or whatever.

Analyzing these problems properly isn’t that easy. It requires data, and handling data scientifically means avoiding biases, not creating them. Your rant against universities shows that either you have no idea of scientific research and analysis or generally like to look at the world as a big left wing conspiracy.

While I think it’s futile to try and understand the feelings of bombers and terrorists, I think we can’t do without understanding the causes of extremism and terrorism. Just telling me again and again “it’s their religion, man!” without any supporting argument won’t convince me. And anecdotal evidence is as bad an argument as is pointing to the sheer fact that “they’re all muslims after all”. Have Germans been Nazis because of their German nature? I don’t think so.

Original Kyle: In the end perhaps you’ll awaken from your left wing dream.

Another misguided judgement: From what I read I would infer that most people who argued against your and some others’ end-of-the-world right wing hysteria aren’t left wing dreamers, but people who like to analyze and discuss problems soberly and thoroughly.

Anton Borzov 09 Nov 05

have you personally seen photos of rioters?
of people on the other side?

pp 09 Nov 05

(original cartman) I’ve been to 9 countries this year alone. I’ve seen these places, lived in them

Which qualifies you as what? A tourist? You claim to know what the majority of immigrants think - it’s an astonishing claim that needs more than a travel itinerary to back it up.

Andreas Climent 09 Nov 05

I would just like to point out that ‘jihad’ does not mean ‘holy war’. It means struggle, refering to both the greater jihad, the spiritual striving towards perfect faith, and the lesser jihad, war to protect islam. Take note though, that Islam does not encourage attack war like some here seem to believe.
More info on Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihad

Remember that christianity is no peaceful religion either, a lot of people have been killed in the name of God.

Regarding the comments on it being futile to try to understand the thoughts and feelings of “terrorists”, I believe you are wrong. First of all, like I said before, a terrorist is a terrorist in your eyes, but other people will see him like a hero. In the same way, there are people who believe your heroes are terrorists.

If we say “No they’re terrorists, I won’t even try to understand why they are doing what they are doing” and decide to kill them because they have caused us harm, what happens when the families and friends of the people we have denominated “terrorists” think of us as terrorists? Nice spiral of hate and suffering there, I bet Yoda would be happy with you…

Trying to justify calling someone a terrorist by saying that they ‘started’ being evil is stupid too, because fighting between people has gone on for thousands of years and noone really remembers who started.

You should also remember that the idea of countries is pretty young, check wikipedia for more info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalist

I agree with most of what ramanan has said in this thread.

For reference, I live in Sweden and am agnostic.

Eric 09 Nov 05

I have friends in France, and have spoken with several people about what’s going on. Here’s what I’ve heard:

1) The rioters are mostly second- and third-generation residents (and usually citizens) of France. They haven’t assimilated, in part, because of heavy discrimination. Basically, people from certain neighborhoods are rejected outright from most jobs.

2) The rioting, while very crippling for the current government, is not an earth-shaking matter for the French—it mostly occurs in immigrant neighborhoods, and it’s less severe than some American riots in the past 30 years.

You have to understand, France has seen some bad sh*t in the past hundred years, and the current rioting doesn’t really compare against the Germans, the communist revolutionaries, the Germans (again), or even the student riots of 1968. Similarly, after the blitz and IRA, London really just can’t excited about a few nutters with bombs.

The Europeans are too polite to say it, but lately, they’re starting to see America as whimps and crybabies.

Christophe 09 Nov 05

As a french, I think this article that Hubris Sonic pointed out is really near of the reality. Riots are the results of economic and racist problems, cult of violence in this suburbs and power of “I can burn more cars than you” between young people.

There is not only “one” problem and “one” solution. And saying that this is a “holy war” is false. A lot of these rioters are not even muslims !

It’s a complex problem that french society is facing since 30 years, and did not take enought seriously (contrary to UK).

(sorry for my bad english)

Wolfgang 09 Nov 05

Andreas, I agree with most of your comment. As I tried to point out earlier, we absolutely need to understand causes and reasons for extremism and terrorism. Anything short of that will, as you said, lead into a spiral of hate and suffering.

Also, I have tried to make clear that I think extremism isn’t a feature or an effect of a certain religion. As you rightly say (and as I noted above), Christianity has its own record of cruelty.

The only things we obviously disagree about are
- whether or not it is right to label someone as a terrorist at all and
- whether or not we should try and understand a terrorist’s feelings.

As to the first point, for me it’s hard to see acts like suicide bombings as a legitimate means for freedom fighting for the simple reason that innocent people are being killed. (The same is true of wars, of course, and that’s why I don’t see wars as a legitimate means of politics. But I guess we have to live with both.)

On top of that, I don’t see how acts like the WTC attacks are on the same level as Palestinian suicide bombings: The latter are being committed by unfree, underprivileged, mostly unemployed young people that have lived their lives under constant oppression. Therefore, although I would call the bombings terrorist acts rather than freedom fighting, I can see the causes and a legitimate interest behind them. On the other hand, many of the WTC attackers were well-educated men from richer countries who lived a life completely different from the lives of the people they pretended to fight for. Their acts were symbolic politics to promote an imperialist, radical Islamist ideology that went much further than demanding freedom from oppression. With this in mind, I think it’s quite unfair to freedom fighters to put them on the same level as hatred-fueled extremists with aims like “death to all non-believers”.

This brings me to the second point: I had in mind exactly these people when I claimed it to be futile to try and understand their feelings, because this leads almost inevitably to show understanding for an unacceptable ideology.

To be sure: I’m not advocating ignorance or “killing them because they have caused us harm” as a solution. Quite the contrary. If my comment suggested otherwise, I’m sorry for being unclear.

However, in order to understand extremist movements of any kind, we have to take into account that sometimes their aims and the aims of the people they pretend to represent are completely different. This is another level of complexity in the issues discussed here, and I think ignoring it is dangerous. But, of course, nothing beats the lot of simple-minded and stupid comments posted here to which your comment is a much needed rebuttal.

And, for reference, I’m a German (Catholic-turned-) Agnostic.

huge 09 Nov 05

Some more others comments:

* The rioters are for some young, very young for some of them, 15 or even below. They don’t have a political agenda, it’s only riot, they is no proof of a “Muslim” explanation or “Muslim” political agenda.
* Not all rioters are Muslims or coming from Afric. Reading the French newspapers, you found first names typically French, Italian or Portugese, people from Asia, with also lots of African and North-African immigrants rioters.

With this elements, I find it very doubtful to view these riots as a episode in the new Muslims-Occident war that some people (not the more peaceful) in Occident and elsewhere since 9/11 want to see coming to justify their evil actions or their “superiority”. Remeber: this behavior, from the two side of the so called “Clash of civilization” will only bring war and hate and will make happy the more extremists people. It won’t cure anything or bring some help to find a solution.

There is of course lots of others problem with Islamists in France: mosquée construction with money from others countries, no alcool or pork sold in some suburbs (well, when 90% of the suburbs is Muslim, who will buy pork ?), veil, etc but I don’t think they are the major starting point here.

History has showed that poverty and economical problems made people turn to nationalism (we know this with great pain in Europe) or religion as a sort of refugee, problem is not in national proud or religion at first.

Oh and BTW, I took the tube at lunch time on Champs-Élysées and saw a North-African young guy having his ID checked and the policemen looking at his pocket to find I don’t know what. I would like to know which law give them the rights to do this.
Ashamed for “my” country, and you know, being a French native, I can’t feel “French” and proud of being “French” when I see this sort of attitude from State police paid with my tax. Of course, all police is not racist, but there was more than one act of racism from the police and racism from the police is one serious problem.

Jan Korbel 09 Nov 05

History has showed that poverty and economical problems made people turn to nationalism (we know this with great pain in Europe) or religion as a sort of refugee, problem is not in national proud or religion at first.

I second that. There are far more economic incentives and youthfull foolishness than radical Islamism in play.

anonymous 09 Nov 05

thank you to those of you who are close to this situation whether living in/have lived/have friends who live in France for giving historical background to this situation and helping people like me to understand what is going on over there. i, personally, am not easily led to opinion based on some graphic as jf as posted nor to quick snappy soundbites.

i’ll be the first to admit ignorance and am not going to pretend to have an opinion on this despite being a religious person and being a american born and educated son whose naturalized parents immigrated from what was once considered a third world country.

one can only hope man learns from history. again to those thank you.
anonymous american

Felipe Bachomo 09 Nov 05

It’s about poverty and unemployment… it’s about racism

Andreas Climent 09 Nov 05

Wolfgang, I agree with what you said. Maybe freedom fighter / terrorist is not the best comparison, but I think you got my point.

Like you, I believe suicide bombings and other acts against civilians can be classified as terrorism, and no cause defends harming innocent people.

I guess what I meant was pretty much the same thing you said above my post, that we need to understand why people commit terrorist acts.

Anyway, I agree with most of your points and I’m glad to see that atleast some commenters here are open-minded about things.

Kay 09 Nov 05

Wow, this post was just as silly as the godaddy post where the founder advocated toture.

Anyway, I’ll soon be cancelling my paid subscription to basecamp and backpack.

I refuse to support small-minded bigots—especially those small minded bigots who don’t realize they are.

Kuan 09 Nov 05

Watch the film “La Haine” to get more of an idea about whats going on.

Thomas Maas 09 Nov 05

If you want people to be your fellow countrymen you should treat them as your fellow countrymen: France to deport foreign rioters.

Eric 09 Nov 05

150,000 Demonstrate Against Al Qaida in Morocco

Just a guess… but FOX News probably didn’t report that!

US fired phosphorus in Iraq, TV reports

The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

Where are the terrorists? They’re in caves in Afganistan and bunkers in Washington DC. The rest of us, Muslims and Christians alike seem to be caught in the middle. There is nothing “Holy” about any war. Just holes.

Niti Bhan 09 Nov 05

As a recent immigrant, I can empathize with what Darrell says here,

>>See, that’s the problem. Seeing immigrants as ‘poor and backward’. How do you expect them to react to that attitude?

It is this attitude that is the hardest to take …imho.

Consultant 09 Nov 05

Jason: Your anti-muslim stance is well noted. Thanks for the 2005 update that, in fact, you still are a prejudiced, small-minded man.

Isn't it time... 09 Nov 05

Buy Basecamp!

ramanan 09 Nov 05

Consultant, thanks for the link. I was right with my first comment in this thread: this post is one of the most ignorant, racist, piece of shit posts I’ve seen on your site.

You should do design work for Little Green Footballs.

Jeena 10 Nov 05

“poverty and unemployment” how deeper can you go besides death? Personally, I think it’s really a “rich vs poor” issue since the middle class is/has been eroded. When middle class is gone, where do you think we would we be? Perhaps it’s not a “black or white” at all.

Andreas 10 Nov 05


Racist or just ignorant, either way this blog is off my list.

jean zaque 10 Nov 05

“poverty and unemployment” how deeper can you go besides death?

jeena => exactamundo

Ben 10 Nov 05

I think race and religion play a part, but the overall problem is French socialism and citizenship being next to impossible to obtain if you are foreign born. What incentive is there to become a productive member of society when the state maintains such consficatory taxation levels (which still do not provide a lavish enough lifestyle to satisfy the “leisure” class)? European socialism will die because it is no more economically viable than Communism.

As Americans are finding out with Mexicans, you can’t create a class of people in legal limbo and then extend social welfare benefits to them because it is a recipe for slow motion economic disaster. And don’t think even for a second that immigration can be controlled, because even the totalitarian Iron Curtain countries couldn’t manage it.

The odd thing about these angry rioters is that I doubt even they are aware of the underlying problems of government meddling in the French economy and how it has had all these dastardly unintended consequences. These angry people would gladly vote for more handouts (higher taxes on working schmucks) rather than approach the idea of true economic reform, which would force them all to challenge every one of their Marxist beliefs (which is just another religion, in my experience).

I figure the gilloutine will return before the French wise up politically.

Kyle 10 Nov 05

Well said, Ben. I wholeheartedly agree, and that’s why I think assimilation is not the vile term that Ramaman understands it to be. Assimilation has as much to do with how our own government prepares our economy for incoming immigrants (of any race, creed, or religion) coming from poorer countries.

I am not saying these poor immigrants are backwards at all. Indeed, many Ethiopians I know were highly educated in their own country. However, no matter what, it takes time to find footing and gainful employment when entering in a new country. Especially when that country has created artificial barriers to in the job market.

As I mentioned earlier in the thread, socialist government policies are only going to serve more quickly suffocate economies dealing with high immigration, legal or otherwise.

Niti 10 Nov 05

Why take this blog off your list for bringing out in to the open an issue that impacts people around the world? Instead, give it kudos for starting this important conversation.

Best,
Niti

DIrk 11 Nov 05

this post is one of the most ignorant, racist, piece of shit posts I’ve seen on your site.

You should do design work for Little Green Footballs.

Amen. I mean. Allah.

Wolfgang 11 Nov 05

Kyle, I think that while you are right that lowering barriers for immigrants (which not only means access to the labour market, but also possibilities for education etc.) is crucial, assimilation is the wrong term for that. See e.g. Wikipedia:

[Assimilation is] the process whereby a minority group gradually adopts the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture.

I still believe that it is much more important for a peaceful society that all its members speak the official language, participate in political and economic life and respect the core values of the country’s constitution, than that they adopt a certain lifestyle.

And my apologies for mixing up the Kyles in my second comment on this thread.

Wolfgang 11 Nov 05

Oops, a bit too much emphasis on my last claim. Blame it on SvN omitting a <p>-tag.

zed 11 Nov 05

I just came across this page from another article, but I have never heard so many racist, ignorant comments from a non-kkk sort of website. Just to give you a bigger example of the worlds situation: I was in afghanistan and there were people working in restaurants from Nepal and other asian countries. Things are so bad in countries they are willing to work in a war zone. So get over your smug self and try to care about other people than yourself.

ilya 11 Nov 05

Woohaha,
Most of the immigrants, at least in Texas, aren’t here to be fellow countrymen.

To hear a guy from texas say that. Don Wilson, you really are a dumb cowboy. Damn it man, you are an immigrant yourself. Are you respecting the early indian, tex/mex lifestyle?

If you refer to the immigrants from mexico, from a historical perspective they are probably more native, and less immigrant then you.

The riots in france arise in ghetto’s. It started when two kids escaped from bullying policemen and got electrocuted. From that point on it was just a game to see which neighborhood could get on the 8pm news; who got most cars.
Don’t be so friggin judgemental people, and above all, don’t make bold statements about large groups of people that really don’t hold up.

my 2 cents (from holland, oh, that is in Europe).


Original Kyle 11 Nov 05

To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII).

The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means.

First, let’s examine a few basics:

1. When did the threat to us start?

Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer as far as the United States is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001 with the following attacks on us:

* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
* Beirut, Lebanon Embassy 1983;
* Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
* Lockerbie, Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
* Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
* Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy 1998;
* Dares Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
* Aden, Yemen USS Cole 2000;
* New York World Trade Center 2001;
* Pentagon 2001.

(Note that during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide).

2. Why were we attacked?

Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter.

3. Who were the attackers?

In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.

4. What is the Muslim population of the World? 25%.

5. Isn’t the Muslim Religion peaceful?

Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests). (see >http://www.nazis.testimony.co.uk/7-a.htm )

Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian or any others.

Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way — their own people or the Spanish, French or anyone else. The point here is that just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing — by their own pronouncements — killing all of us “infidels.” I don’t blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was shut up or die?

6. So who are we at war with?

There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don’t clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.

So with that background, now to the two major questions:

1. Can we lose this war?

2. What does losing really mean?

If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions.

We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean?

It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about our business, like post Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get.


What losing really means is:

We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us, over the past 18 years. The plan was clearly, for them to attack us, until we were neutered and submissive to them.

We would of course have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see, we are impotent and cannot help them.

They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn’t matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do will be done. Spain is finished.

The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don’t win, they are finished too, in that they can’t resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast!

If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us, if they were threatened by the Muslims.

If we can’t stop the Muslims, how could anyone else?

The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We better know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.

Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take that 100% effort to win.

So, how can we lose the war?

Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by “imploding.” That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose, and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win!

Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don’t comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation.

President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently.

And don’t worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory and in fact added many more since then.

Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?

No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness, and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head.

Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose. I hasten to add that this isn’t because they are disloyal. It is because they just don’t recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause.

Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war, perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue, involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our military police. These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.

And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type enemy fighters, who recently were burning Americans, and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq.

And still more recently, the same type enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of American prisoners they held.

Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the “humiliating” of some Muslim prisoners — not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but “humiliating” them.

Can this concern be for real? It is patently ridiculous.

The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this doesn’t show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can.

To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned — totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude, of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us, for many years.

Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels! That translates into ALL non-Muslims — not just in the United States, but throughout the world.

We are the last bastion of defense.

We have been criticized for many years as being ‘arrogant.’ That charge is valid in at least one respect. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world!

We can’t!

If we don’t recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive, and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.

And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone — let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.

This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self-inflicted fall of the Roman Empire. If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read.

If we don’t win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach little by little, on the established French traditions. The French will be fighting among themselves, over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn’t that sound eerily familiar?

Democracies don’t have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically correct piece.

And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide, that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power.

They have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who will be the few who control the masses. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct, about the “peaceful Muslims”?

I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about! Do whatever you can to preserve it.

ilya 12 Nov 05

Hmm, nice lunatic ravings.

just a few things, because I don’t have the time to read all this stupidity:
1) Who, or what, are Themuslims?

2) Didn’t many of the presidents you named supported or directed mission s in the middle east (to influence countries, and secure the oil production?) Isn’t it normal then that people feel “attacked”, “influenced”, “bamboozled”? (pick one).


3) Fighting religious wars is something so retro, (middle ages), it would be daft to think that this (fighting the muslims) is the solution.
4) is there another kind than brutally killing? I suppose you mean a lethal injection is not brutal? Or fosfor bombing? Or depleted uranium shells?
5) How do you fight a religion.

To be honest, i have to say that it is not like nothing is going on. But the terminology you use, and the direction you advocate is wrong, shortsighted and dumb.

The real solutions, i think, lie in the direction of restoring balance. (why do the US each and every year don’t live up to their obligations of the United Nations poverty programs?)

Wake up and smell the stupidity. Don’t go primitive on me.


jeena 12 Nov 05

Actually, he’s right about the biggest issue since our leader(Bush) says “you’re either with us or against us”. Sounds like assimilation to me. What’s that saying? “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”.

jeena 12 Nov 05

Bravo! Original Kyle. You are the ideal for being fully assimilated! How can you trust our government and fight for a cause not your very own? Do you really think you know the full story? The U.S. polices have created this mess. We need to stop meddling and forcing our ethnocentric perspectives. And yes, it’s too late to turn back now (regarding the war). Personally, I’ve already thought about which country I’m going to just in case we lose. I’m not going down with Captain Ahab.(Bush). Aww… O.. I better watch what I say…or I can be construed as a Terrorist!! Just like the fears they instilled about being a Communist during the Cold War in the 50’s and 60’s. Freedom my ass. What we think of as freedom is really just brainwashing. If our government wants support, they better learn to get the trust and respect back. And NOT by fear!! As an American, I am not proud of our legacy.

Original Kyle 12 Nov 05

Bravo! Original Kyle. You are the ideal for being fully assimilated! How can you trust our government and fight for a cause not your very own?

A cause not my very own? How about survival? I’d say that’s a very personal cause! This isn’t about just winning on paper, this is about the fall of our great country. Wake up.

..and you two are just the people mentioned who are going to tear this country apart from the inside out. I only hope you will learn in hindsight. Granted that hindsight will be from behind a burka in your case.

It’s no longer a time for whining and finger pointing. This is the real world, like it or not. BELIEVE me, I wish there was no fighting, poverty, terrorism, etc. But, the sad truth is that in the world we live in, it’s a reality. It’s just something we have to deal with. We have to wake up, put aside the pipe dreams of world peace and pinky holding, and stand up to take care of business. Our country is on the line. If you don’t like it or feel comfortable standing up for what’s right, feel free to go to the country you mentioned you already have picked out. Madonna did.

pp 12 Nov 05

wow! hope 37s like their new compadres… pass the tinfoil…

To return to the original subject, we all know that rioting and similar forms of physical protest are an entirely traditional way of getting better political representation in France, from farmers to fishermen to students. It would seem that these kids have been observing the country’s traditions and are very well ‘assimilated’.

sosa 14 Nov 05

Most of the immigrants, at least in Texas, aren’t here to be fellow countrymen - Don wilson

Yeah, I remember now when that gringos invaded the region they weren’t here to be fellow anything. Maybe it’s time now to take it back, culturally at least.

Poor and backwards

You are such a fascist.

Eric 14 Nov 05

Isn’t it just a little bit ironic to hear the French govenrment, a “former” imperial power, talk of assimilation?

How about Algeria?

Assimilate or Die

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1114-27.htm

onesock 17 Nov 05

we try to create the “land of prosperity” and are upset when other people want to partake. Between the HAve and havenots and the believe and believe nots situations we are completely screwed. how many ways has humanity found to annihilalate itself? Where there is a will there is a way!