nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Oct, 2007 03:57 pm

Short(er) version:

Quote:
Clichy-sous-Bois gained an unwelcome iconic significance two years ago following the deaths of Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna, two youths from immigrant families who were electrocuted while trying to hide from the police.

The deaths set off rioting and civil unrest around France. Almost 9,000 cars were burnt, and dozens of buildings were set on fire. Close to 130 police and firefighter staff were injured, and nearly 2,900 people were arrested.

President Sarkozy, then minister of interior, promised to rid the impoverished suburbs that ring many French cities, the banlieues, of racaille (rabble), and clean them out with a kärcher (a high-pressure hose). Residents now ask if he will be equally vehement about addressing the chronic unemployment and prejudice that they say were at the root of the upheaval.

During his campaign for presidency, Sarkozy's tough language on crime in the banlieues and at times strident anti-immigrant rhetoric earned him the enmity of some residents. But since taking office, Sarkozy has created one of the most ethnically diverse governments that France has seen.

Secretary of State for Urban Policies Fadéla Amara, who grew up in an impoverished immigrant quarter in Clermont-Ferrand. is in charge of drafting reforms that will address joblessness and discrimination in the cities.

The government has announced its intention of conducting more than 100 public meetings on subjects concerning the suburbs. Sarkozy has outlined a plan to address the inequity at a December event at an as-yet-unnamed banlieue.

But for now, "the problems are just the same," says Mehdi Bigaderne, spokesperson for the Association Collectif Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, Ensemble (ACLEFEU), a community organisation formed in the wake of the 2005 unrest, and whose name is a pun on the phrase 'enough fire'.

"We see the same comportment of the police, the same discrimination, nothing has changed. The relations between the police and the citizens continue to be very, very negative. The big questions -- the question of work, the question of housing, the question of discrimination -- are still with us."

Following the 2005 "social eruption", the government of former president Chirac appeared to lapse into somnolence. Few steps were taken to address the fact that, in some suburbs, unemployment hovers around nearly 20% -- double the national average -- and higher still among 21-29-year-olds.

A study conducted in 2004 by sociologist Jean-François Amadieu and Adia, one of the largest human resource and temporary job companies in Paris, found that job applicants with a traditionally French sounding surname or a more desirable address code were five times more likely to be called in for a job interview than a prospective employee with an Arab or African-appearing name or an address in the suburbs.

France's economically deprived suburbs are bleak and depressing. Block after block of grey high-rises stretch on into the distance, and minimal services such as shops and restaurants are on hand.

In districts like Clichy-sous-Bois, the sense of isolation is also a product of a skeletal transportation system. A single bus route links Clichy-sous-Bois, about ten miles from the centre of Paris, to the train station in the more affluent town Le Raincy nearby.

Despite a more ethnically diverse government, flashes of tension appear between the new government's stated desire for social inclusion and the law-and-order and occasionally anti-immigrant rhetoric that helped elect it.

For example, Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Secretary Rama Yade, a 30-year-old immigrant from Senegal who is widely viewed as a Sarkozy protégé, received a brisk reprimand from an apparently piqued Prime Minister Fillon following her visit to mostly immigrant squatters who had been evicted from their dwellings in the Aubervilliers suburb.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Oct, 2007 04:03 pm
Around the same time that article appeared, I posted about an interview the Financial Times had with the new French Minister junior minister of urban policy, Fadela Amara, in the France and Sarkozy thread.

Very interesting woman, this former activist whom Sarkozy pulled into government. Read the interview or the summary I posted (below again).

One of the money quotes: "She says she was not surprised at the 2005 riots, describing the situation as a "pressure cooker waiting to explode". "It is difficult to ask young people to respect the values of the republic when the state has failed to keep its end of the social bargain. I am against all forms of violence, but if young people are lashing out, it is also because they don't know where to channel their frustrations."'

nimh wrote:
Quote:
Lunch with the FT: Fadela Amara

Financial Times
September 7 2007

Summary:

Quote:
The FT interviews Fadela Amara, the new French junior minister of urban policy. Previously an outspoken civil rights activist, she is best known for her work in France's tough immigrant suburbs. One of 10 children born to Algerian immigrants in a housing project, a high-school dropout and auto-didact, she is by her own admission an unlikely addition to the government. Amara credits her father for instilling her sense of solidarity. He worked as a day labourer on construction sites and sent money back to his home village in Algeria, while setting some aside for the poor in the family's neighbourhood as well.

Her political awakening came when her five-year-old brother was killed by a hit-and-run driver, and the police blamed Amara's parents "and treated us like dirt". She says she was not surprised at the 2005 riots, describing the situation as a "pressure cooker waiting to explode". "It is difficult to ask young people to respect the values of the republic when the state has failed to keep its end of the social bargain. I am against all forms of violence, but if young people are lashing out, it is also because they don't know where to channel their frustrations."

But she strongly disagrees with the idea that integration has completely failed. "We have made progress," she argues. "We have a middle class made up of second-generation immigrants." "The problem is they are not visible. It is a step-by-step process [..]. Today there are TV presenters who are black and Arab. But that was not the case three years ago."

In the cites, however, ghettoisation means that paternalistic cultures among immigrant families have become corrupted to create misogynistic codes. After high-profile cases of violence against young Muslim women in 2003, Amara organised a national march, and found herself head of France's noisiest new feminist movement: "Ni Putes, Ni Soumises" [neither whores, nor submissives].

Asked why a self-described die-hard socialist would join Sarkozy's government, Amara says, "Because I want things to change". Her main priority is to renovate decrepit housing estates in the poor banlieues, raise standards in local schools and bring jobs there. "I am a woman, a minority, someone from the poor banlieue and a socialist. Through me, there are many symbols. And if Mr Sarkozy wants to appropriate these symbols, all the better." When someone approaches her to sneer, "If you are really a socialist, then you should be helping the left, not the right," Amara rebuts him, saying the Socialists have become a sclerotic party, which "talked but did very little."
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 01:45 am
Quote:
Monday, 26 November 2007, 04:30 GMT

Riots break out in Paris suburb

Riots have broken out in a Paris suburb, after a police car crashed into a motorbike, killing two teenagers.

Dozens of youths clashed with police and set fire to buildings, injuring a number of police officers and firefighters.

The unrest is taking place in the suburb of Villiers-le-Bel, and neighbouring Arnouville.

In 2005, the deaths of two youths in nearby Clichy-sous-Bois led to France's worst civil unrest in over 40 years.

The two teenagers - aged 15 and 16 - were killed when the stolen motorcycle they were driving collided with a police car.

The teenagers were not being chased by police at the time of the accident, a police source told the Reuters news agency.

Burning cars

After the accident, looting broke out and the police station in Villiers-le-Bel was set on fire, as was a local petrol station.

Riot police were sent to the area, but youths blocked their way with burning cars.

A number of police officers sustained injuries, and at least seven youths were arrested.

Omar Sehhouli, the brother of one of the dead teenagers said that the rioting "was not violence but an expression of rage".

Correspondents say the scenes are reminiscent of the country-wide riots in 2005, triggered when two teenagers from another Parisian suburb - Clichy-sous-Bois - were electrocuted in an electricity sub-station where they had hidden in an attempt to escape from chasing police.
Source
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 01:45 am
http://i9.tinypic.com/85a95lk.jpg
http://i14.tinypic.com/7ymgs2g.jpg
http://i4.tinypic.com/6nt06fd.jpg
http://i11.tinypic.com/71ezlf4.jpg
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 03:29 pm
And tonight (21:00 UTC):

Quote:
French police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets during running battles with rioters in a suburb north of Paris where two youths died after a crash involving a police car.

During a second night of disturbances in Villiers-le-Bel, some 160 police in full riot gear were pelted with stones and large fire-crackers that exploded over their heads, a witness said.

Police replied with tear gas, rubber bullets and paint guns designed to identify troublemakers, and spent cartridges littered streets already strewn with rocks.

Around half a dozen injured officers received treatment in a local fire station used by police as a base. One officer, his face bloodied, had his arm in a sling.

Rioters torched a car, a refuse truck and a police vehicle.

Local mayor Didier Vaillant, who had earlier called for calm, claimed airguns had been fired. "It looks like it's going to be a long night," he said.

Unrest was also reported in three nearby districts.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 04:15 pm
Quote:
The two teenagers - aged 15 and 16 - were killed when the stolen motorcycle they were driving collided with a police car.

The teenagers were not being chased by police at the time of the accident, a police source told the Reuters news agency.

Burning cars

After the accident, looting broke out and the police station in Villiers-le-Bel was set on fire, as was a local petrol station.

Riot police were sent to the area, but youths blocked their way with burning cars.

A number of police officers sustained injuries, and at least seven youths were arrested.

Omar Sehhouli, the brother of one of the dead teenagers said that the rioting "was not violence but an expression of rage".


Unfortunate events for France, and I believe the excerpt quoted above captures the essence of the short term issue there. (One can ask himself just what might be the distinction between violence and "expressions of rage" that the unfortunate young man had in mind.)

To some extent such disorders are an inevitable byproduct of the social and economic cosequences of large-scale immigration. The underlying causes are likely not at all peculiar to either France or contemporary Europe. None of us is entirely free of the potential for this sort of thing.

I do, however, believe that overly protective social welfare systems and over-regulation of labor markets do indeed slow the process of assimilation and integration. More competitive societies are better able to manage these difficult processes. Low birth rates, labor shortages and immigration are simply not compatable in the long run with very permissive and protective government welfare systems.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 04:28 pm
Actually, Villiers-le-Bel (a small town with 26,000 inhabitants) is a rather ... not so quiet place. Police-technically spoken.

And these nicely photographed buildings http://www.ville-villiers-le-bel.fr/uploads/RTEmagicC_carreaux1970.gif.gif (photo from 1970, buildings from late 50's) look .... well, ugly, today.
0 Replies
 
Pamela Rosa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2007 02:51 am
Quote:
The two teenagers - aged 15 and 16 - were killed when the stolen motorcycle they were driving collided with a police car.


Two thieves less.
Very Happy Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2007 04:59 am
Police called the rioting "organised". By whom?

And if its organised, is it not more sinister than a spontaneous outpouring of "rage"?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2007 05:24 am
Steve 41oo wrote:
Police called the rioting "organised". By whom?


Really? The minister of the interior called it "phénomène inquiétant", the department's prefecture only published the number of cars involved (70( and policemen hurt (72, three more seriously).

Besides that, I think, any 'spontaneous demonstration' everywhere is organised in some way: you seldom find 200 rioters acted each on their own.

As far as I know, demonstrations, even if organised, aren't unlaw in France per se.


Meanwhile, the presecutor in Pontois opebed an investigation for 'manslaughter' and 'failure to assist a person in danger' against the four policemen in the patrol car.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2007 05:39 am
Sorry not the police, French interior minister

BBC wrote:
The French Interior Minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, said she believed the trouble was organised.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2007 05:44 am
perhaps "phénomène inquiétant" got mis translated as "organised"
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2007 08:41 am
Tomorrow we march on the Bastile. ready the Guillotines Evil or Very Mad
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2007 09:25 am
au1929 wrote:
Tomorrow we march on the Bastile. ready the Guillotines Evil or Very Mad


Question

-------------------

Last night, everything was (relatively) calm, and surprisingly only in Toulouse there were some minor riots as well.

Today, Sarkozy met the parents of the killed kids.
Prime Minister François Fillon said, 120 million Euros ($180,000,000) would be spend in Villiers-le-Bel alone during the next 5 years to improve the infrastructure. (Out of a total of 12 milliards of Euros for all urban renovation.) And he said, "Il n'y a pas de liberté, pas de fraternité sans sécurité" - 'there's no liberté, no fraternité without security.'
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2007 03:22 pm
Quote:
Walter Hinteler wrote:
au1929 wrote:
Tomorrow we march on the Bastile. ready the Guillotines Evil or Very Mad


Question

The French revolution
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2007 03:30 pm
And?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2007 02:16 am
Quote:
A French lesson we ignore at our peril

The riots near Paris have shown only too starkly that the young and their future must be at the heart of politics. Gordon, take heed


Mary Riddell
Sunday December 2, 2007
The Observer

In the night rain, it's possible to believe every story about Villiers-le-Bel. The riots are over, but hundreds of police officers loiter in shop doorways, ready to crush any whiff of trouble. Even by day, the suburb's high-rise estate is deemed so dangerous that camera crews are hiring local bodyguards at a cost of 30 Euros an hour without tax. Last week, Villiers-le-Bel was just another breeze block in the concrete townscape north of Paris. Then two teenagers on a motorbike died in a collision with a police car. In the clashes that followed, youths with shotguns and air rifles wounded more than 100 officers. Cars were ransacked, shops torched, a nursery school library set alight. Nicolas Sarkozy announced a zero-tolerance policy on the voyous, the 'hooligans' of the suburb now redesignated France's epicentre of violence.

It's only in the morning light that the real strangeness surfaces. Villiers-le-Bel is not Toxteth with croissants. It is the clone of a thousand other small towns that showcase France's civic pride. Festive lights hang over cobbled streets, baubles decorate the Christmas tree next to the Mairie and an advert in the Post Office appeals for the return of a missing cat. In L'Avenir bar, customers read newspaper reports impassively, as if the rubber bullets, teargas, blood and carnage belonged to some other narrative and some other town.

Villiers-le-Bel, roads swept, bins emptied and order restored, looks as improbable a war zone as Sevenoaks. Nor do the clusters of boys now venturing back on to the streets resemble France's lost generation. They walk heads down, hoods up and most of them say, politely, they know nothing. 'Nous ne sommes pas d'ici,' is their catchphrase. 'We're not from round here.'

Today, France is asking itself many questions about belonging. What streak of estrangement or malice makes boys as young as 11 shoot policemen and burn classrooms? What lies beneath the skin of this ordinary town? A young man who has lived here all his life gives me his answer. It is, he says, 'une ambiance de haine'

Hatred is where it all began. The 1995 film, La Haine, with its themes of racism, violence and disaffected youth in a riot-torn Paris suburb, has been played out many times for real. In 2005, the riots sparked by the deaths of two teenagers fleeing police engulfed France. The latest outbreak, though more contained, confirms a pattern of growing insurrection. No French or British politician should ignore Villiers-le-Bel.

Fading flowers mark the spot where Moushin and Larami, aged 15 and 16, died. A piece of cardboard bears the words 'On vous aime' (we love you). The tragedy was inflamed by resentment that the crash, its cause still unknown, was being written off as a road traffic accident by police. As Interior Minister, Sarkozy disbanded neighbourhood policing in favour of a more heavy-handed system, including riot squads. There is, one young man tells me, a mutual loathing between youths and officers seen as agents of state oppression. 'La police, c'est l'etat,' he says.

There are other explanations for what's gone wrong: the creaky train line to the outside world, for example; the fact that the area's 5,000 inhabitants in 1955 have now risen to 27,000 today. Many of them are North Africans and the victims of the anti-immigrant policies that Sarkozy has belatedly modulated.

So far, so predictable. But there are also factors to shake the beliefs of liberal Britain. Villiers-le-Bel has schools that look large and modern compared with British counterparts starved of the funding they need to cater for an influx of migrant children. The Martin Luther King College, an edifice of steel and glass, appears far more prosperous than any London sixth-form centre. Sarkozy, for all his flaws, has invested something in a lost generation, but he has not bought them hope or work. People here are twice as poor as in central Paris; up to one in three is unemployed.

Sarkozy, beset by strikes, riots and tumbling ratings, is in a mess that should dwarf Gordon Brown's black week. Yet, unlike the Prime Minister, the President has seized the initiative. Citizens, he orders, must obey his slogan: work more, earn more. In a national role reversal, France is being run by a get-ahead Thatcherite with a great clunking fist, while Britain's leader is trapped in the traditional Gallic shackles of sleaze and inaction. Brown might think enviously he has something to learn. He does. The lesson, though, lies not in the Elysee Palace, but in the town of Villiers-le-Bel.

Its riots belong on a rising scale of violence. Since 2005, police have been regularly attacked. In 2006, apparently a quiet year, 44,157 cars were burned. Last week, a not-bad town with quite nice schools offered a reminder of how the disaffected youth of France may yet wreck the career of a President who last week told police that yobs were the only problem. There was, he said, no social crisis. That, as he must know, is not true. France is facing its version of the Brixton riots of 1981, which left 50 citizens and 400 police injured and changed for ever what Lord Scarman called the 'arrogant and abrasive' abuse of power by the Met. While that stand-off may never be repeated here, the UK is incubating another crisis of the young. Britain has rarely been so afraid of alienated children. The government cannot rely on disaffected boys continuing mostly to stab and shoot one another, rather than the authorities. Nor can it imagine that criminalising failed and failing teenagers in record numbers will produce anything but a bitter underclass.

Exactly what Brown will do to stop children splintering from society is not yet clear. But it had better be about more than citizenship. In Villiers-le-Bel, Moushin Cehhouli was driven to his grave in a hearse draped in the Tricolour. His family had spurned the flag of Islam to demonstrate their allegiance to the Republic.

In the precarious calm that followed, I stood on a street corner and talked to someone who had grown up with Moushin. He said I could call him Jean-Claude, but no one gives their proper name round here. He had done many odd jobs before getting work as a technician and he had little sympathy for victim culture. He did not condone violence, but nor could he understand why the state had allowed estrangement to fester into a rift that threatens France's future.

If Gordon Brown is to recover from his crisis, he needs a crusade. Offering a future to all children is at the top of his agenda. So do it. From across the Channel, in a week when political battles featured the spilling of real blood, he has the starkest warning of what could happen if that mission fails.

[email protected]
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 04:08 pm


Summary:

Quote:
Mohammed El Rhazi calls the credit crisis the "new plague'' in his impoverished Paris suburb, after riots tore through there in 2005. "Suburban workers live on construction, small services and temporary jobs, and these are the first ones to go," adds Aziz Senni.

PM Sarkozy promised a suburban "Marshall Plan'', but with the recession and banking crisis, the plan is now taking a backseat. While 48 companies pledged to create 40,000 jobs by 2010, only 11,800 have been generated so far, and it is now unlikely the others will follow.

Last November, rioters in Villiers-le-Bel went on a rampage for a few nights, this time with guns: things were "much more violent than in 2005,'' commented the head of a police union.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2008 10:22 pm
@nimh,
Damned them pragmatists who prefer to solve one problem rather than multiplying others.

Not so Progressive/Liberal perhaps, and as such a target to nimhian rebuke, but practical.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2008 10:29 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

Quote:
Monday, 26 November 2007, 04:30 GMT

Riots break out in Paris suburb
Omar Sehhouli, the brother of one of the dead teenagers said that the rioting "was not violence but an expression of rage".
Source


You've really got to have the right frame of mind to make such a distinction.

<Yes, I know the story is a year old>
0 Replies
 
 

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