From Bad to Worse and Back Again

For the first ten (!) nights, the Paris Riot was an orderly affair, as these things go. But now this:

Rioters fired shotguns at the police in a working-class suburb of Paris on Sunday, wounding 10 officers as the country’s fast-spreading urban unrest escalated dangerously. Just hours earlier, President Jacques Chirac called an emergency meeting of top security officials and promised increased police pressure to confront the violence.


New York Times reporter Craig H Smith doesn’t use the word “Muslim” until the 24th paragraph, well after the jump. He did, however, include this tidbit (in the 15th graf) I hadn’t seen anywhere else:

The attack angered people in the neighborhood, which includes the old Jewish quarter and is still a center of Jewish life in the city. “We escaped from Romania with nothing and came here and worked our fingers to the bone and never asked for anything, never complained,” said Liliane Zump, a woman in her 70’s, shaking with fury on the street outside the scarred building.

Coincidence? Smith doesn’t address even that tenuous a connection.

As if on cue, Mark Steyn writes:

If Chirac isn’t exactly Charles Martel, the rioters aren’t doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They’re seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the ‘burbs gets you more ”respect” from Chirac, they’ll burn ’em again, and again.

It’s difficult to keep a riot going – whether the cause is just or otherwise – for more than a couple weeks. Passions subside, or the government cracks down, or the rioters get what they want. I’d expect a combination of all three things to happen in Paris before long, and a return to normalcy.


But the new normal won’t be exactly like the old normal. The unassimilated and unhappy Muslim underclass of Paris has found an effective new weapon. Don’t think they won’t use it again.

UPDATE: Talk about fast learners. It seems at least one “youth” has franchised into the city itself.


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