The situation does not yet seem to have calmed down in France, with the government in crisis mode and violence escalating. The key questions remain what is responsible for all this and where is it heading. The former was debated endlessly on this blog last night by several of our frequent commenters and in my estimation all were right. I don’t say that to be Solomonic, but it would seem obvious that poverty, racism, unemployment, a corrupt economic system and Islamic cultural and religious separatism all are contributing factors. It’s a cocktail and who knows which part is greatest. As for where it is headed, in the long run I am not optimistic. While there are differences between the de Villepin and Sarkozy short term approaches, it’s hard to believe that ultimately it matters, although while bad-mouthing Sarkozy, the government appears to be adopting his methods. With internet sites encouraging the “youths” to continue the hit-and-run violence, they probably don’t have a choice.
Widespread riots across impoverished areas of France took a malevolent turn in a ninth night of violence, as youths torched an ambulance and stoned medical workers coming to the aid of a sick person. Authorities arrested more than 200 people, an unprecedented sweep since the beginning of the unrest.