Wednesday, November 9


From this morning's edition of the New York Times (registration required):

France's storm of rioting lost strength Wednesday, with car burnings falling nearly by half, police said. But looters and vandals still defied a state of emergency with attacks on superstores, a newspaper warehouse and a subway station.

The extraordinary 12-day state of emergency, which went into effect Tuesday at midnight, covered Paris, its suburbs and more than 30 other French cities from the Mediterranean to the border with Germany and to Rouen in the north -- an indication of how widespread arson, riots and other unrest have become in nearly two weeks of violence.

The unrest started Oct. 27 as a localized riot in a northeast Paris suburb angry over the accidental deaths of two teenagers, of Mauritanian and Tunisian descent, who were electrocuted while hiding from police in a power substation.

It has grown into a nationwide insurrection by disillusioned suburban youths, many of them French-born children of immigrants from France's former territories like Algeria. France's suburbs have long been neglected, and their youth complain of a lack of jobs and widespread discrimination. Many of the French-born children of Arab and black African immigrants are Muslim, but police say the violence is not being driven by Islamic groups.

Don't you just love the disillusioned suburban youths rationalization for the murder, rioting, arson, looting, and unchecked general mayhem that has unfolded in France over nearly two weeks now, pulling back the stage curtains and turning up the house lights on France's failed immigration policies, its congenital penchant for appeasement and liberal hand-wringing, and the patently failed administration of Jacques Chirac.

France's refusal to join the global war on terror (GWOT), it's significant culpability in the United Nation's Oil-For-Food scandal, and it's all too slow response in protecting its citizens from Muslim-led street-rioting, put in bold relief the incongruity of its pretensions of being a major player on the world stage with the stunning reality of its pusillanimous government and its rotting, secular-nihilist culture.

A once proud nation appears helpless, pitiful, and a shell of its former self. It's a nation that in an age of terrorism and rampant Islamic fanaticism forsaked its allies, forswore its obligations to its citizenry, and incredulously claimed its prerogatives as a major player on the world stage while abnegating its international obligations.

The upshot: France is imploding from within from its own overweening hubris. It is both victim and victimizer. And a Vichy France has emerged again to show the world what appeasement, corruption, and progressive-secularism beget.

FOLLOW-UP: Here's ACE's inimitable take on France and the rioting.

FOLLOW-UP II: Betsy Newmark takes Jacques Chirac to task for empty campaign promises. And in another post, Betsy reminds us of the callous indifference of Chirac and the French government to its elderly when an oppressive heat wave struck in August, 2003, resulting in some 15,000 deaths.

FOLLOW-UP III: Captain Ed puts holes in the "disaffected youths' meme" that prevails in the MSM and among French government officials and links to his Daily Standard column on what the rioting is all about (i.e., "the Muslim aspect").