THE SITUATION IN FRANCE continues unsettled as before. Some see improvement as the number of car fires is less. Interior Minister Sarkozy gets booed inspecting police. The internet and cellphones are tools for action. Copycat attacks hit Belgium and Switzerland. Copycat attacks hit Belgium and Switzerland. [story]
France's worst rioting since the 1960s seems to be nearing an end, the national police chief said Sunday as fewer cars were torched nationwide and Paris remained calm despite Internet and cell phone messages urging violence in the capital's streets. . . . A firebomb was tossed at a Lyon mosque but did not explode. . . For the first time during the unrest, youths and police clashed in the heart of a major city, trading tear gas and stones at Lyon's historic Place Bellecour. . . . More copycat attacks occurred in neighboring nations. Belgium had its worst night in a week of attacks, with 29 cars, trucks and buses torched, the government said. In the Dutch city of Rotterdam, youths burned four cars, police said. Two cars were set afire in the Swiss town of Martigny
. THE LID IS OFF THE POT Whether the stew is simmering or whether it boils depends on whom you ask. The Lone Elm has the most conspiratorial roundup and take from the right:
. . .all is not quiet in France. Don Surber comments on the French press's effort to influence politics by not reporting on the rioting. (Yes, they don't want the evil right to take hold.) Captain's Quarters has the quote from the interview with the French TV news executive that admits the French media are colluding to "skew" the news. CQ says: "Dassier told an Amsterdam conference of news broadcasters that he would rather lie about the riots than allow the truth to promote a right-wing agenda." This is quite a dynamite admission. Brussels Journal also reports on the media blackout, not only in France but Belgium and Denmark, where incidents also continue. Also see Sunday's report from Brussels Journal for a good wrap up of Saturday night's action.
THE “SKEWING” OF NEWS cited by Captain’s Quarters comes from the Guardian UK. It provides some opportunity for commenting on some problems we share closer to home. Is anyone ever neutral? Are we on th edge of a "Eurarabian" Apocalypse?
"Politics in France is heading to the right and I don't want rightwing politicians back in second, or even first place because we showed burning cars on television," Mr Dassier told an audience of broadcasters at the News Xchange conference in Amsterdam today. "Having satellites trained on towns across France 24 hours a day showing the violence would have been wrong and totally disproportionate ... Journalism is not simply a matter of switching on the cameras and letting them roll. You have to think about what you're broadcasting," he said. Mr Dassier denied he was guilty of "complicity" with the French authorities, which this week invoked an extraordinary state-of-emergency law passed during the country's war with Algeria 50 years ago. But he admitted his decision was partly motivated by a desire to avoid encouraging the resurgence of extreme rightwing views in France.
ARE WE NOT ALL victims of our pre conceived notions? How do we get around that?
THE HERETIK NOTES the same critics that attack Dassier and say he is “lying” for providing an incomplete picture have recently defended President Bush for providing an um incomplete picture of pre-war intelligence and attacked those who say he lies. Odd that. If any of these same commenters have asked to see more complete coverage of United States soldiers coming home in coffins, please leave a note here.
AMERICENTRIC? The New York Times goes with an odd lede: “The recent unrest roiling France continued to subside today without having touched the capital's tourist districts, as had been feared."
WaPo Duh Award: "Police said it was unclear whether the attack was linked to the other violence around the country. Many of the youths involved in the rioting are Muslim."
BOILING?[The Independent UK] Both the attack on the mosque in Carpentras in the Rhone valley - a known hot-bed of ultra-right activity - and the internet calls for an attack on Paris run contrary to a clear reduction in the level of violence over the last four nights. It appears that there some militant elements would like to see the violence continue.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING THE MYTH OF EARLIER AND EASIER IMMIGRATION [link] Behind the hostility to immigrants was often the fear of l'invasion, the invasion of France by large numbers of foreigners who were seen as briseurs de greve, pushing down the wages of the honest and hard-working Francais de souche, threatening the social order and the purity of French womanhood (Bernard: 1993 p.21). The other fear was of l'inassimilablit, the concern that these immigrants would not integrate sucessfully into French society. Italian and Polish immigrants, for example, were attacked for their religious devotion by a French working class that was no longer regularly attending Church (mass, confession etc.) and given the derogatory term Christos (mainly the Italians) or calotins (mainly the Polish). Their religion - Catholicism not Islam or Judaism - hampered immigrants' integration into French society. This hostility inevitably led at points to violence. The economic downturn that occurred in the late nineteenth century led to a rise in violent xenophobia and attacks on France's immigrants were frequent. Anti-Italian riots, for example, occurred in Marseilles in 1881 and Lyon in 1894. The most notorious attack on immigrants occurred in 1893 when a mob, inflamed by the assassination of President Carnot by an Italian anarchist, set upon Italian immigrants in the town of Aigues-Mortes in southern France killing eight Italians and injuring many more. The contemporary `problem' then of recognisably different immigrant communities that cannot or will not assimilate as opposed to earlier generations of immigrants who could and did assimilate, can be seen to be myth. At many points in French history, sections of the population and political �lites have felt threatened by immigrants and have responded with hostility to them, blocking their integration. The enforced and often violent repatriation of Polish miners in the 1930s is the clearest example of this.