Monday, October 23, 2006

Two solutions for France

Another day, another civil war battle in France. Sunday's skirmish involved a rebel band of approximately 30 "youths" having their way with French transit:

Youths set passenger bus alight in Paris

A band of up to 30 youths forced passengers out of a bus in a southern Paris suburb in broad daylight, set it on fire and then stoned firefighters who came to the rescue, a police official said.
District police chief Jean-Francois Papineau called Sunday's bus attack "deliberate". He said the vehicle was forced to stop at a road block at about 2 pm. Two youths then entered the back of the bus to clear out passengers before dousing it with petrol and setting it ablaze.
When firefighters arrived, the youths began stoning them, he said....The local prefecture said nearly 30 youths were involved in the incident.

[Now, a study in contrasts. First (from later in the same article), the reaction of the elites currently holding the reigns of power (well, officially, anyway): ]

...France's minister for social cohesion, Jean-Louis Borloo, called on citizens to act responsibly because "tensions are raw just as we're in the process of resolving the difficulties".

The government has since provided funds and enacted numerous measures in a bid to reverse the situation. However, the problem remains entrenched, and there are no concrete signs that daily violence has diminished.

[Borloo said] it could take three or four years to see concrete results from the efforts his government has put in place, which he called "a sort of enormous Marshall Plan", in reference to the project to rebuild Europe after World War II.
Speaking on Europe-1 radio, he called on "parents, associations, mayors, all (those involved)" in the suburbs to "act responsibly" to avoid a new explosion.
"Authority is clearly needed but we also need dialogue and respect, much more than we had in those neighbourhoods," he said.

I'm not sure just what kind of portfolio a "social cohesion minister" carries... but as a welcome contrast to his begging for "respect" and "responsibility", we found a press conference offered by the Mouvement Pour La France (MPF), the political party headed by Phillipe de Villiers, the centrist conservative presidential candidate, of whom we have written from time to time.

From the party's official website (from where I've made this quick translation):

During his press conference at the national headquarters of the MPF, [party spokesman] Guillaume Peltier today asked for the establishment of a "preventative curfew" for minors in order to prevent new violence, one year after the urban riots of 2005. "The principle of the curfew, which must last as long as necessary, must be decided by the government, but the zones of application must be defined with the prefects or the mayors", Peltier said. [He goes on to describe the MPF's "Urban plan": it...] aims at "reconquering the lost territories of the Republic", and comprises, likewise, the application of the principle of "zero immigration", of "zero tolerance" on matters of security, judicial reform with "the creation of assured penalties in order to fight against the feeling of impunity", and the the establishing of an hour of "patriotic education" per week in the schools.
"Reconquering" vs "respecting"... "zero tolerance" vs "dialog"... "curfew as of today" vs "an enormous Marshall Plan with results in three or four years"... and "patriotic education" vs a "social cohesion ministry"...

If I were French, I know who I'd be voting for in next year's election... especially if I had to take a bus to work every day.


truepeers said...

Sarkozy: I understand your fear and exasperation, but don't try to defend yourself, just let the government take care of it...

Talk about control freaks and controlled masses. I know who I'd vote for, so why don't more of the French come to the same obvious conclusion? Of course, when they do finally get the idea that it's up to them to do something to defend their families and nation, everything will change overnight.

Charles Henry said...

"...when they do finally get the idea that it's up to them to do something to defend their families and nation.."

Even the support for le Pen's Front National is derived from the same instincts that push the french into the arms of their socialism.. 'take care of the problem for me, so that I don't have to be bothered.'
There's a lack of valuing self-reliance and self-directed change, that is really crippling France in these times... well, much of the west, actually.

The criticism that the french conservative supporters of le Pen dump on P. de Villiers' MPF in the blogs, tends to be on his possessing an ego. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! They completely sidestep his challenge to his nation's abandonment of entrepreneurialism and pride of accomplishment. France is cursed by a shallow pride derived from "being" not "doing"; when de Villiers calls attention to it all day long, he strangely gets called an "egomaniac" for it.

French politics is very much a battleground focused on cult of personality rather than about ideas. It makes our Canadian political campaigns feel like lofty philosophical debates by comparison. The french political partisans remind me of our old habit as kids, to boast "my dad can beat your dad...", and live off reflected glory.