02 December, 2005

Post-riot laugh-riot

I feel vindicated in my reluctance to laud Chirac two years back for his refusal to support George Bush's war effort.

In response to widespread rioting that covered most of France and lasted for several weeks, eventually forcing the declaration of an emergency and the imposition of curfews, the government announced a few days back that they would be imposing some new regulations to help smooth over the problems in French society.

As you will recall, the rioters were mostly second-generation Algerian and Moroccan immigrant youth, jobless and disaffected, feeling alienated from French society at large.

The response from Chirac and Villepin: 'Yes, that's right.'

The new regulations tighten down rules on who can enter this country and set a higher bar for entry. Fluency in the French language is a must. Angry growling about those disgusting immigrant swine is thinly veiled at best:
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who threatened to expel any foreigners involved in the riots, told parliament on Tuesday that France no longer wanted "those people that nobody else in the world wants."

"I agree with what the prime minister said. We want selective immigration," Sarkozy said.
The government is also cracking down on polygamy, because, don't you know, it was a strong contributing factor to the riots.
Some French officials cited polygamy as one reason that youths from underprivileged Muslim households joined in the rioting, saying that children from large polygamous families often have social-behavioral problems stemming from a lack of a father figure. The suggestion outraged opposition politicians, human rights groups and others.
But if you think that's the height of idiocy, check out this disavowal that Villepin was forced to make: French leader says rap not rioting cause.


Anyone who knows their colonial history (or arms trade stats...or has seen Battle of Algiers once) would never laud a conservative French leader. Hearing Americans and French leaders argue about who's morally superior is like watching big ugly catfish feed. 

Posted by Saurav

Point of pesconal privilege!
I spent a long time last summer watching big ugly catfish nibble floating fallen mulberries off the surface of Rock Creek as a snapping turtle bobbed among them. They were beautiful and peaceful.  

Posted by hedgehog

I cannot stop giggling right now. Saurav, that's a beautifully wacky similie, so in and of itself that would set me giggling. And then when I first saw it I thought, "this is actually not  the blog where such a similie will come off as merely wacky. Someone will try to challenge it, and I bet that person will be Hedgehog." And then of course he did, with way more detail and personal experience than it would seem possible to have about giant catfish feeding--in DC?! :-)

Anyway, back to being serious. I have to say, I don't approve of their timing or their motives, but I don't feel too bad about regulating polygamy. Whether it's the Arizona-Utah border or France, polygamy---especially in a non-polygamous society---is frequently a really good way to exploit and abuse women, who have less recourse and escape without the possibility of a legal divorce--yet who feel all the social and religious pressure of being married.


Posted by Saheli

I don't have any problem with them regulating polygamy, either. But the implication that the riots were the result of polygamy, and that the proper way to prevent further riots is via regulation of polygamy, is outrageously racist. 

Posted by saurabh

Yeah, definitely. Timing and motives = racist implications.  

Posted by Saheli

yeah really - they should go to the root of the issue - 95.2% of polygamy is caused by schoolgirls wearing headscarves. 

Posted by chromo

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