Ever since the shocking scale of the French urban riots started making headlines outside of France a few years ago, there has been much talk about what might happen when the pendulum starts swinging the other way, should the day come when the French ruling class would grow fatigued at having to pretend there was some kind of justification for this raw adolescent rage.
President Nicholas Sarkozy, no stranger to wildly swinging from policy to policy himself, now sits astride a government sending in police by the hundreds, in company strength, in order to subdue a few dozen of the more barbaric youths, a manageable handful at a time. It is a sign of how bad things have become, that it should require forces of such magnitude to make such small changes for the better.
Reading the French media accounts of these massive police incursions into France’s worst no-go zones leaves me hoping, and saying a silent prayer, much as the French heartland holds its breath in cautious anticipation, that the cure does not end up worse than the disease.
What does it portend for France, that police operations need to take on the scope of military maneuvers, in order to be successful? Or that assembling a virtual army of occupation has come to be seen as the best way to fight crime? When the line blurs between the police and the military, I'm not convinced that this is a step in the right direction... although maybe I'm just in denial, as I struggle to avoid settling for the lesser of evils, thinking instead that there may still exist a "good" solution.
In trying to give shape to my conflicted thoughts on this new phase in France’s civil war, I created the following video, "Let’s Go Sarko".