Saturday, 12 November 2005

Paris brûle ?

A take on the French riots from a British student in Paris.

"As for the riots, they aren't even noticeable, I think foreign media is really blowing them up. Carl said that the British news makes it sound like the whole of Paris is burning to the ground in team America-like chaos, that however is completely not the truth.

"I mean obviously they are happening and I'm sure they're bad, but no one I know has actually noticed any rioting or change in day to day life, such is the way with these things in general I find. However, you want my personal take on the whole thing? The French government had it coming. They've had it coming since around the seventies I reckon, possibly earlier...

"Basically, you know suburbs in most places are generally white middle class areas that people commute from? Well in France they're completely different. After the war, France needed help rebuilding their cities and getting back on their feet, so they went to all the African colonies and imported loads of people; advertised the country as an amazing place where they would all become really rich etc, to get cheap labor basically.

"In order to house all these new immigrants they built mini ghetto-like towns outside all the major cities. So, the French people lived in the cities in their nice apartments, being French and doing their French thing and all the immigrants, who were being paid nothing to do shit work, were shoved in their own little areas to live completely separately to the French, so as not to infiltrate/affect French culture.

"Of course then the post-war rebuild was finished and these poor immigrants who had been promised, or led to believe anyway, a good life were left to fend for themselves. Because of this the banlieus (means suburbs but I find it more appropriate because French suburbs are like no other!!) have always had a history of violence, poverty and gang warfare.

"I'm sure you know racism in France is huge anyway, the French live in constant fear of their wonderful French culture being 'infected' for want of a better word and ruined by the integration of other cultures (we learn about this at university, apparently it all goes back to the revolution). The thing with France is that it's culture is pretty archaic because of that. It really hasn't evolved since the revolution, which obviously leads to a lot of problems, they don't seem to realise that the acceptance and integration of other cultures can actually enrich their own, not necessarily destroy it.

"So basically its no wonder that everyone's finally getting pretty pissed off at why they aren't allowed to be part of the country that most of their parents grew up in. They also don't give immigrants the vote over here as an example of how 'outside' they're made to feel, another thing is that France has always been up and down in giving people nationality. I think for about the last one hundred and fifty years they've been giving out, and taking back, French nationality, according to whether it suits them...(how you can give someone French nationality and then take it away again twenty years later is beyond me and surely in breach of human rights but who the fuck knows!!!).

"Anyway, the French government is, obviously, going about solving the issue all wrong, as in they're not solving it, they're trying to hide it...They've declared a state of emergency in over thirty cities and given the mayors emergency powers and introduced stuff like a curfew, which is completely ridiculous because as far as I can tell that's just going to piss everyone off even more! So that's my take on the issue, sorry if I went on a bit, but to make a long story short, France has had this coming for years and the government still don't get the point!!!"


  1. The uk did the same after the war years, remember the Windrush bringing people from the Caribbean with the offers of work, but really the jobs were the ones the people here didn't want to do.

    Its all part of a country's imperialistic past.

  2. That's a very good point. But I think that the UK has been more (NOT completly) sucessful at integrating and accepting the new imigrant communities.
    That's not to say there haven't been similar problems such and the Brixton riots and the trouble in Burnley a few years ago.
    Actualy thining about it now I'm not sure the UK has done all that much better...