Unstitching the Republic

The banlieues

Below is an essay from the Le Figaro blog, as translated by Bear via Vlad Tepes. Readers who understand a bit of French may want to take a look at some of the comments on the original post — more than three hundred of them.

What the intifada revealed to the French

by Ivan Rioufol Oct 20th 2010

Not all high-schoolers are troublemakers. But the troublemakers in the last few days, and even now this Wednesday morning in the center of Lyon, are indeed high-schoolers. The majority of them come from city ghettos. They are hooded, and do not march to defend retirement at 60, nor even the system for social protection that could have attracted their parents or grandparents.

They are there to unstitch the republic, its culture and symbols. The most visible being the police and schools. This is why a college was set on fire. The scenes of urban guerrillas that are being reproduced much resemble the images of intifadas of young Palestinians fighting Israeli forces.

In comparison there is no reason, but in these ethnic insurrections from a youth culture, often Muslim, the state is being rejected and is viewed as an oppressor and a colonizer. The savages, each time more daring and organized, remind us of the failure of their integration.

This destruction counteracts the nursery rhymes assuring us that France is the master of its immigrant population. “Integration works,” we are assured. For example, the ancient writings of Jean Pierre Raffarin in Matignon, and Hakim Al-Karoui (Le Monde Oct 10 and 11.) There are of course, many successes that should be more celebrated. But, even if it displeases the bien-pensants, France is the only country in Europe that knows such a fracture of identity, that from now on separates its youth and careens more and more towards civil confrontations. Germany, which has recently acknowledged the failure of its multicultural approach, is not faced with these explosions of hate, which in fact are anti-French racism. It is urgent to open our eyes to this reality, which many want to deny the more it becomes visible. What is observed in these truants is a refusal to integrate within a society that they culturally reject. It is this challenge that the republic must deal with.

Hat tip: Fran├žois de Souche.
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