Seven Nights and Counting

Parts of Paris are burning. Have been for seven nights in a row. This would seem to indicate a problem, and not a small one.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Minorities and integration and tagged by Doug Merrill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

21 thoughts on “Seven Nights and Counting

  1. Riots like these, the murder of Van Gogh a year ago and numerous other events like them in Europe related to muslim immigrants, coupled with continued slow growth in Europe and an aging population, will lead to a backlash. Today anti-immigration parties are largely kept out in the cold in mainstream European politics. In the future I think events like these will lead to these parties being able to come in from the cold.

    Unfortunate for muslim immigrants and their children, unfortunate for all Europeans.

  2. I think the debate in Europe has to move beyond pro- and anti-immigration stances and just become more practical. Since immigration isn’t going to end (the economic and societal needs for it on both sides are too great), there needs to be a discussion of what type and level of immigration is needed. This is going to be a very difficult discussion to have.

    I’ll throw out an example. Danish immigration now does not allow a Danish citizen to marry a non-Danish citizen under the age of 24 to get them to reside in the country. This has imposed burdens and pain on people, but has also lifted burdens on many immigrant communities who were previously expected to bring in people through arranged marriages. What do people on afoe think of this law? I’m actually undecided at this time.

  3. Uh, no, parts of Aulnay-sous-Bois, Le Blanc-Mesnil and Clichy-sous-Bois are “burning”.

    Ok, still a problem.

  4. What do people on afoe think of this law?

    It is of questionable constitutionality in much of Europe. Eg. in Germany it would be clearly unconstitutional.

    On a practical level, it smacks of actionism.

  5. Like it or not, gird yourselves for Le Pen, boys!

    And don’t think his UK counterpart isn’t too far behind. Give it 2-5 years as Europe’s intifadah gets cookin.

  6. “This would seem to indicate a problem, and not a small one.”

    Try this, published earlier in the year before the riots started:

    OECD Economic Survey of France, 2005: Policy Brief
    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/57/55/35006471.pdf

    Quote:

    “France has high productivity per hour worked and a sophisticated social welfare system, but it also suffers from low labour force participation and high structural unemployment. This poor labour market performance contributes to a persistent budget deficit which is exacerbating, rather than alleviating, the fiscal pressures arising from ageing.”

    “The unemployment rate is currently 10% and has not been below 8% for twenty years, even at the cyclical peak of the late 1990s. There is room for discussion about the precise quantitative effects of strict employment protection and the minimum wage. But these effects, combined with the uncertainty over the cost of dismissal to the employer, and the fact that the minimum cost of labour exceeds the potential productivity of a number of low-skilled workers, appear to be responsible for a large part of the high level of structural unemployment, especially among certain groups, such as youth and the long-term unemployed. . . ”

    “When comprehensive account is taken of all taxes on labour income (personal income tax, social security contributions including the supplementary social security taxes CSG and CRDS) and income-tested social benefits, it is seen that marginal effective tax rates on labour are very high in France. . . But increases in the minimum wage, the SMIC, such as those that resulted from the reduction in working time, work directly against measures to improve labour demand through reducing costs, although the further reductions in employers’ contributions offset the effect on labour costs, at the expense of public finances. Future increases in the SMIC should be limited to those necessary to maintain its purchasing power, in order not to reduce employability among the low skilled.”

  7. Also, compare the official unemployment rates at July 2005 among EU25 countries as published by Eurostat. The national average unemployment rate for the under 25s in France of 22.2% is high compared to most other EU countries:
    http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/PGP_PRD_CAT_PREREL/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2005/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2005_MONTH_09/3-01092005-EN-AP.PDF

    And remember that 22.2% is the national average rate for the under 25s so the corresponding rates in those housing estates at the periphery of the big cities in France is likely to be much, much higher.

  8. I wish I could cite where but I’m sure I’ve seen reports that minimum skill jobs are expected to become radically rarer in coming years. This will certainly not aid youth employment.

  9. This will certainly not aid youth employment.

    This is not an automatic given. If it is true, the education system must be improved.

  10. As usual, Bob B trots out the red herrings.

    All of Europe is having profound problems with it’s Muslims. All of that anecdotal economic evidence doesn’t answer the question of why. Britain, for instance, has good employment, yet has suicide bombers and riots( I’m sure the suicide bombers for France aren’t far behind.) Or the Danes for that matter.

    The response so far has been unenlightening. Sarkozy promises to restore law and order but is admonished for his ‘warlike’ words. The problem isn’t the Le Pen’s of Europe, but the supine, blathering idiots of Europe’s liberal establishment. I’m sure kind words will tame the beast. Perhaps Villepan will read some calming poetry.

    Theodore Darlymple had a magnificent article for City Journal in 2002 entitled ‘The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris’:

    The French state is torn between two approaches: Courbet, Fauré, nos ancêtres, les gaullois, on the one hand, and the shibboleths of multiculturalism on the other. By compulsion of the ministry of education, the historiography that the schools purvey is that of the triumph of the unifying, rational, and benevolent French state through the ages, from Colbert onward, and Muslim girls are not allowed to wear headscarves in schools. After graduation, people who dress in “ethnic” fashion will not find jobs with major employers. But at the same time, official France also pays a cowering lip service to multiculturalism—for example, to the “culture” of the cités. Thus, French rap music is the subject of admiring articles in Libération and Le Monde, as well as of pusillanimous expressions of approval from the last two ministers of culture.

    One rap group, the Ministère amer (Bitter Ministry), won special official praise. Its best-known lyric: “Another woman takes her beating./ This time she’s called Brigitte./ She’s the wife of a cop./ The novices of vice piss on the police./ It’s not just a firework, scratch the clitoris./ Brigitte the cop’s wife likes niggers./ She’s hot, hot in her pants.” This vile rubbish receives accolades for its supposed authenticity: for in the multiculturalist’s mental world, in which the savages are forever noble, there is no criterion by which to distinguish high art from low trash. And if intellectuals, highly trained in the Western tradition, are prepared to praise such degraded and brutal pornography, it is hardly surprising that those who are not so trained come to the conclusion that there cannot be anything of value in that tradition. Cowardly multiculturalism thus makes itself the handmaiden of anti-Western extremism.

    I also recommend his latest “The Suicide Bombers Among Us”.

  11. “I’ll throw out an example. Danish immigration now does not allow a Danish citizen to marry a non-Danish citizen under the age of 24 to get them to reside in the country. This has imposed burdens and pain on people, but has also lifted burdens on many immigrant communities who were previously expected to bring in people through arranged marriages. What do people on afoe think of this law? I’m actually undecided at this time.”

    All countries in Europe are bound to face tricky questions when it comes to immigration. The example cited above has been heavily contested in the Danish political discourse mainly because it has been considered to rigid; i.e. it hasn’t merely prevented arranged marriages but a whole lot of other “normal” marriages as well.

    In the case of the French riots I think that it raises general questions of how muslim immigrants (la maghreb) in France are being marginalised in areas of uemployment and high rates of criminal offences; these bottomless pits of France must be adressed, and I have my doubts that the baton of a policeman is the appropriate measure.

  12. Parts of Paris are burning. Have been for seven nights in a row. This would seem to indicate a problem, and not a small one.

    Took a hell of a long time for AFOE people to notice.

    I guess it’s only fun to bemoan catastrophes when they’re happening in the US.

  13. After these events, I suppose, the Front National will become the biggest party in France.

    “The political platform of the Front National is mainly focused on the control of immigration, the repatriation of illegal immigrants and the priority of French citizens over foreigners for access to jobs and social services: in a standardized pamphlet delivered to all French electors in the 1995 presidential election, Jean-Marie Le Pen proposed the ‘sending back’ of ‘three million non-Europeans’ out of France, by ‘humane and dignified means’. However, in the campaign for the 2002 French presidential election, the stress was more on issues of law and order – one of the recurrent themes of the National Front is tougher law enforcement and higher sentences for crimes, and the reinstatement of the death penalty.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Front_%28France%29

    Home Video Clip of Paris Police Shooting in Suburbs?
    http://joi.ito.com/archives/2005/11/04/home_video_clip_of_paris_police_shooting_in_suburbs.html

  14. Thanks what I take to be a fine, unprompted example of Neocon paranoia.

    It happens that I emailed a BBC radio news programme at the start of the riots – to complain about the truncated presentation of French policies for assimilation and express a hope that a more extensive presentation would be allowed on another occasion, preferably after a change of presenter.

    We all stand to learn from painful experiences in this. I am far from taking a “holier than you attitude” for we have had our own previous problems in Britain as this menu of news reports from 2003 shows:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk/2001/summer_of_violence/default.stm

    The hugely sensitive issue for Britain is about how and why some migrant communities seem better able to adapt and make their way than others.

    Least any here suppose that I am intent on making covert racist propaganda, I note that research studies here have shown that children from ethnic Chinese and Indian backgrounds have achieved better results on average in school leaving exams than white children from indigenous backgrounds. Girls from black African families achieve better school exam results than white boys so there are no simple racist generalisations to be made about superior abilities.

  15. I guess it’s only fun to bemoan catastrophes when they’re happening in the US.

    This is troublesome, but hardly beyond control as is typical for a catastrophe. Indeed the French administration is easily able to crush this mini-revolt by force of arms. What good that would do in the long run is another question. Although if nothing else works soon, exactly that will have to be done.

    On a personal note, if you stone firefighters, you are scum.

  16. Current reports in the British media divide between accounts of the continuing rioting – now into its second week – and analysis of the apparent causes. The latter are more illuminating:

    “Unemployment among young people has reached 70 per cent in France’s urban ghettos, he says, arguing that even with degrees, blacks, Asians and Muslims still have difficulty finding jobs. ‘The politicians no longer have the credibility to speak to the people, they must take action – and fast.’”
    http://news.ft.com/cms/s/24ff94b2-4d6b-11da-ba44-0000779e2340.html

    In depth analysis by the BBC:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4408972.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4405790.stm

  17. It seems to get overlooked by the young rioters that many or even most of the cars torched in the riots belong to other migrant settlers living in the neighbourhood.

  18. Took a hell of a long time for AFOE people to notice.

    Inquiries about donations for funding a full-time Paris correspondent may be made by e-mailing the editors.

  19. “Took a hell of a long time for AFOE people to notice.”

    True, but not for the reason you implied.

    BTW, you can analyze this while we are working for a living:

    “DANS LE COMBAT sans merci que se livrent Villepin et Sarkozy, ce qui vient de se passer marquera peut-être un tournant. Tant qu’ils se querellaient sur des concepts, la «discrimination positive», le «modèle français», l’affaire n’était pas si grave. Après tout, la politique, ce sont surtout des mots. Mais, cette fois-ci, il y a des faits, des morts, des voitures qui brûlent et des Français qui mesurent l’étendue des fameux «territoires perdus de la République».

    “Qu’a-t-on vu depuis jeudi dernier et l’embrasement de Clichy-sous-Bois ? Une gestion de crise faussée par les calculs et les arrière-pensées. A Clichy-sous-Bois ou à Argenteuil, fidèle à son tempérament, Nicolas Sarkozy s’empare à lui tout seul du dossier des banlieues. De bonnes âmes, à gauche, s’indignent des mots utilisés, «gangrène», «racaille», et lui reprochent de «lepéniser» les esprits dans la perspective de 2007. Qu’importe, le ministre de l’Intérieur en a entendu d’autres.”

    Lots of France bashing potential in there. I could translate the paragraphs, but it is 12.30 am right now and I still have 20 hours of work to do before Monday morning…

    PS: I hope you noticed nobody here took advantage of the continuing Plame scandal to do some America bashing. Lots of potential there as well, especially with Bush hitting painful approval rates (like Chirac, I might add).

  20. “I hope you noticed nobody here took advantage of the continuing Plame scandal to do some America bashing.”

    With recent and current coverage of the issues in the American press that hardly seemed necessary but allow me to repair the omission briefly with citations of reports in American mainstream media in case some in Europe haven’t noticed yet:

    “President Bush has ordered White House staff to attend mandatory briefings beginning next week on ethical behavior and the handling of classified material after the indictment last week of a senior administration official in the CIA leak probe.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/04/AR2005110402040_pf.html

    “For the first time in his presidency a majority of Americans question the integrity of President Bush, and growing doubts about his leadership have left him with record negative ratings on the economy, Iraq and even the war on terrorism, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/03/AR2005110301685_pf.html

    Watchers of American politics can but stand amazed and perplexed that an administration which makes so much of its profound affliations with the Religious Right should find it essential to order mandatory briefings on ethical behaviour for its staffers.

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