Monday, November 07, 2005

Widespread Rioting/Looting In France

Notable Absence of Global Panic and Outrage

As I make my way through my morning blogs and news, I am somewhat confused. No, I shouldn't say that - I know exactly what I'm thinking. I am, however, dumbfounded as to the reactions to the French riots as opposed to the looting after Hurricane Katrina.

Can anyone see the parallels between the two events? Let me try to illustrate the similarities.
  • Katrina: Impoverished and storm struck victims loot for food and material goods.
  • France: Disenfranchised North African immigrants loot for material goods, money and wanton destruction.
  • Katrina: Looters fired at police and rescue helicopters on Day 4.
  • France: Rioters/looters fire at police on days 2-11.
  • Katrina: Day 6 brings Nat'l Guard units and other police units in absence of effective NOLA response.
  • France: Day 11 dawns on continued inability to deal with crisis.
  • Katrina: Was a natural disaster that could not be stopped before it happened, only mitigated afterwards.
  • France: Civil unrest that could be stemmed but is allowed to run virtually unchecked by a powerless government and ineffective first responders who are more worried about offending Muslim sensibilites than preventing the rioters from burning cars and churches.
They're so similar it's simply astounding....

I find it ridiculous that the "ineffectiveness" of our federal response was globally criticized within 3 or 4 days of Katrina's landfall, but after 11 days of rioting in and around Paris, there is a noticable lack of outrage outside of the blogosphere.

Take, for example, this quote about Katrina, ironically from a French person:
Bush is completely out of his depth in this disaster. Katrina has revealed America's weaknesses: its racial divisions, the poverty of those left behind by its society, and especially its president's lack of leadership.
Let's change that a little bit, now.
Chirac is completely out of his depth in this emergency. This has revealed France's weaknesses: its racial divisions, the poverty of those left behind by its society, and especially its president's lack of leadership.
Wow, that was easy. So why can't I find the second quote anywhere? Why is the press billing the rioting "civil unrest" instead of looting, arson, assault and murder. These aren't "demonstrations" or "protests" - this is the wanton destruction of lives and personal property for no apparent reason.

Sure, there are plenty of reasons being invented for this mess. Hey, even Chirac has his excuses for the miscreants - She said Chirac "deplored the fact that in these neighborhoods there is a ghettoization of youths of African or North African origin" and recognized "the incapacity of French society to fully accept them."

Damn it, did I call them miscreants? See, it's gotten to me too. They're terrorists. It seems that anyone else burning cars and churches, beating old men to death, and generally causing mayhem in the streets would be deemed a terrorist activity. But not for these poor, misused black Muslim youths - they're just venting.

The French muslim community has succeeded in castrating their government. The French president cannot even issue warning without qualifying them with mea culpa statements afterwards. How many more countries are going to burn in Old Europe before they wake up?

It begs the questions - Would this fly with Americans? If this happened outside of a flooded and storm racked area where we could actually respond, like say Watts or Harlem, would we really let it continue like this? Would our leaders issue sympathetic statements instead of condemnations? Would our police respond by running away? Would Americans make excuses for this kind of behavior?