IS FRANCE DEAD? Here's a FrontPage Magazine symposium on that very topic. I don't think that things need to turn out badly for France, but I've feared that they would since well before 9/11 and the French leadership's increasing disconnect from reality bodes poorly. What's worse is that most world conflagrations start, one way or another, with France.
UPDATE: Merde in France has posted some photos from last night's demonstrations, and via email sends this observation:
Predictably, the demonstrations turned violent yesterday evening. The government has yielded to the teachers' unions on some points, and now the unions smell blood at the first sign of weakness. Renewed demonstrations are called for tomorrow and I expect that things will turn violent again by the end of the day. This entire process will end up as it always does. The government will give in enough so that both sides will claim victory and France will hobble on as always. It's worked so many times before that there is absolute denial as to the fact that France cannot hobble on much longer.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The Dissident Frogman has all sorts of interesting information on French doings, and a very cool Flash banner on WMD.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader David Gilbert emails:
I was in Paris yesterday (Tuesday) until our flight at 01:00 (pm) from Charles De Gaulle [Yes, we made the flight but the announcement from UA that several didn't was noticed by the empty seats].
In hindsight, it was obvious that there was going to be trouble because at 9:30am the Rue de Rivoli was almost deserted (very few shops open). Our hotel staff let us know that about 1/2 the trains and buses weren't going to work and asked if we had transportation to the airport. We were staying about 8 blocks down from the Place de la Concorde -- where some of the riots were.
We just missed the strike the week before (Tuesday) because that was the day we flew in, and we just had a tour that afternoon (nice and quiet).
Tourism is very much down there in Paris, several people commented on it including our tour guide to Versailles.
Yeah, and I'm sure this will help.
STILL MORE: Here are photos of the Paris riots, from Xinhua.