ALMOST TEN THOUSAND MORE police are in the street. A Muslim group has issued a fatwa against the rioters in the unrest. A curfew is called. Paris is cooling down some, but France now sees measures not imposed since the war in Algiers. Fifty years later colonial chickens come home to roost. The French who sent their legions to Algiers now contend with a legion of discontent of discontent over racial policy. [story]
The French Cabinet Tuesday authorized local officials to impose curfews in an effort to halt the riots that have inflamed poor neighborhoods in the Paris suburbs and 300 towns across the nation for the last 12 days. "We will now be able to act in a preventative manner to avoid these incidents," said Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. "The policy of the government is firm, level-headed and measured."
SARKOZY WHO IRONICALLY has viewed the French model of assimilation as a policy failure stands at the center of controversy for his hard line response. Division among Muslims burst forth on the fatwa issued. A man was attacked trying to put out a fire and later died.[AP]
The man was caught by surprise by an attacker after rushing out of his apartment building to put out the fire, [police spokesman] Alain Rahmouni said. . . . The growing violence is forcing France to confront long-simmering anger in its suburbs, where many Africans and their French-born children live on society's margins, struggling with high unemployment, racial discrimination and despair - fertile terrain for crime of all sorts as well as for Muslim extremists offering frustrated youths a way out. France, with some 5 million Muslims, has the largest Islamic population in Western Europe.
WHAT FRANCE NOW WITNESSES is the ghost of Algiers rising in flames around them. The country that would colonize now finds colonies of the disease of former policy spread around the body of France.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING THE FATWA [Reuters] France's main Muslim organisations feuded on Monday over a fatwa one group issued against rioting after officials suggested Islamist militants might be fanning unrest across the country. The Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF), a large group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, quoted the Koran and the Prophet Mohammad to support the religious edict issued late on Sunday condemning the chaos and destruction the unrest caused. But Dalil Boubakeur, head of France's Muslim Council and rector of the moderate Grand Mosque of Paris, denounced the move on Monday as equating Islam with vandalism and blaming all Muslims for the rioting whether they were involved or not. "It is formally forbidden to any Muslim seeking divine grace and satisfaction to participate in any action that blindly hits private or public property or could constitute an attack on someone's life," the UOIF fatwa said.
THE HERETIK NOTES the fatwa may have mixed effects. If violence decreastes, nativist French citizens will rest easier, but then point out the rising power of Muslim leaders.
THE FRENCH MODEL [Reuters] With every night of violent rioting that scars France's rundown suburbs, more and more French say their distinctive model of integration, based on the revolutionary ideal of equality for all, has failed. But President Jacques Chirac and his conservative allies are unlikely to join the critics, as that would mean accepting the approach France considers superior is no better than integration policies abroad. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is the only top politician saying France's "republican model" falls short and that the U.S. or British "melting pot" approach could help break the cycle of minority exclusion, unemployment and revolt. This desire to change the system lies at the heart of his rivalry with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who defends the supposedly colour-blind French model against the racial quotas and help for Muslim groups that Sarkozy advocates.
THE HERETIK NOTES in France as in the United States, the biggest mistake often is the inability to admit mistakes. Whether the mistakes most important are recognized as recent or more distant will play an important role sooner rather than later.
COMING HOME TO ROOST [link] France's role as a terre d'immigration in the history of migration movements from both within and without Europe has been significant. . . . It is something of a paradox that while most European countries in the postwar period were withdrawing from their former colonies in Africa and Asia and creating closer political and economic links with other European countries, the trend in migration movements as the opposite. France began to receive fewer and fewer immigrants from Europe and more and more from its former colonies in north and Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. Colonialism created the most effective channel for migration movements into France. As the major colonial power after Britain, France could call on a potential workforce from what is called the Maghreb (North-West Africa: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia . . .
THE HERETIK UNDERSTANDS the French will fight the symptoms of unrest and address the French model as policy. Whether a larger debate about colonialism and empire emerges is doubtful.
MARGINALIZED [AP] Years ago, France welcomed their parents as labor, often to do menial jobs most French did not want, they noted. And now, there are no jobs _ or no one willing to give them one, they said. . . .None of the youths said they have participated in arson attacks, but their sympathies are clearly with the rioters . . ."The 'elders' of the projects have tried to calm us down, but we don't care," said 20-year-old Karim . . . The target of their rage is Sarkozy, who angered many in the suburbs by calling neighborhood toughs "scum." "Before it was a gang warfare between different projects. Sarkozy's given us a common target _ the government," said Karim.
THE HERETIK SUSPECTS if the current underclass suspects a quick fix is in on a solution to their problem, the French are fixed for yet more problems in the future.
OTHER NOTABLE VIEWS FROM RIOT TO REVOLUTION? [Captain Ed] On the eleventh night of spreading and intensifying violence, French rioters shifted tactics as the French finally began to respond. Last night, the mainly Muslim rioters fired on French police, wounding 30 and transforming the unrest into something more overt . . . The police union has thrown in the towel and demanded that the Army supercede its own officers in enforcing the law. That voluntary surrender of privilege speaks volumes about the morale of French police and their willingness to participate in Nicolas Sarkozy's efforts to re-establish a rule of law in the so-called no-go areas in France -- areas which have expanded exponentially over the past twelve days. And what of this fatwa and the "official suggestions" that Islamists have led this unrest from its inception? The American media have studiously ignored any such suggestions.
THE HERETIK ACKNOWLEGES some see this as a far more broad Islamist rebellion on the edge of subverting order in society. Shifting tactics presumes the unrest responds to some central command. The Heretik sees inequality with a Muslim population for once a the center of discussion for a solution. With the conflict cast in such dramatic terms (riot or revolution?) here and in France, the larger question is whether the riot will be quelled and order restored, or whether there will be a revolution in how immigres are perceived in France, as well as the rest of Europe. The problem presented in fire each night is broad. The world will be watching to see how France negotiates the narrows.