Wednesday, November 09, 2005

And the jury is out

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin unveiled a raft of social and economic measures designed to improve conditions in France's tough, low-income neighbourhoods that have spawned unrest raging across the country.
I have to admit, the French do practise what they preach (to Israel):
The intiatives are:

- the creation of an anti-discrimination agency with special officials appointed to be in charge of certain regions, and making the fight against discrimination a national priority;

- 20,000 job contracts with local government bodies or associations paid a minimum wage would be reserved for those in the suburbs struggling to find work;

- an extra 100 million euros (120 million dollars) for associations that work in the neighbourhoods;

- 5,000 more teaching assistant posts in the 1,200 schools in districts designated as troublespots;

- the creation of 15 more special economic zones that provide tax breaks to companies that set up inside them as an incentive to boost local employment.
No official autonomy or sovereignty yet then. But Paristine is a lot closer to being born than it was 2 weeks ago.

On a lighter note, the riots in France are abating. Only 500 cars were burned last night. Oh, and this despite the
state of emergency that was declared.
The new emergency powers handed to local authorities have been invoked under a 1955 law.

The law was originally passed to combat violence in Algeria in its war of independence against France from 1954-62. It was also used in New Caledonia in 1985.

This is the first time the law has been implemented in mainland France.
Meanwhile, Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post has a new (to me anyway) insight:
One of the notable aspects of the violence thus far is the absence of murder. The militants have apparently decided to limit their campaign to property damage. No doubt this is because their objective is political, not military. As some Muslim leaders have explained, what they want is autonomy in their ghettos. They seek to receive extraterritorial status from the French government, meaning that they will set their own rules based, one can assume, on Sharia law.
This is true. There have been assaults on persons, and one has died sofar, but this seems to have been a rare exception: The rioters have clearly made up their minds (or had it made up for them) not to create an image of another Intifada, at least not with those on their side (the Left in France). And this demonstrates in turn that the riots are indeed not spontaneous, but ably orchestrated and led.

I would like to know what the average Frenchman thinks of his imported compatriots now. I would not be surprised if they still blamed themselves and their government for the violence, which after all is only an expression of frustration, a cry for help. Think of the brainwashing, the decades-long indoctrination it took to get the sheep to think like this.

I have a bit of hope the Dutch will do better when the riots arrive. I can feel it in the air.


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