Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Anglicans outdone

Rioters, rumoured to be Presbyterians, have fired on police in France with shotguns. One policeman had an eye blown out. Youths burnt a library, a primary school and torched cars.

The attacks follow the deaths of 2 young males without crash helmets who drove an unregistered motorcycle into a police car at high speed.

Update 1: President Sarkozy has stated that those firing guns at police will be charged with 'attempted murder'. A report from Le Monde describes kids as young as 13 being urged by adults to torch buildings and to kill the 'pigs'.

Update 2: I was misled - they are in fact mainly Muslims not Presbyterians. The best account I read of what is happening came from Der Spiegel:

'Jihad may not be what's inspiring the rioters, but Islam is undeniably an inseparable component of their self-identity. Islam strengthens their sense of solidarity, gives them the appearance of legitimacy and draws an unmistakable line between them and the others, the "French."

...According to official figures, France is home to a little over 5 million Muslims, the largest per capita concentration of Muslims in any country in the European Union....France's Muslims feel marginalized, as do millions of other immigrants from former colonies throughout Europe, many of whom are unemployed. They live in suburban ghettos, unable to afford better neighborhoods. Now, with the ghettos turning in to battlefields, the notion that immigrants will voluntarily assimilate is proving questionable'. (my bold).


rabee said...


I'm surprised that you have not yet condemned the pighead protest in Sydney. Why the delay?

Where are all the supposedly decent misanthropists in Australia?

hc said...

I am not in the country and didn't know about this.

I do condemn this action as an act of unwarranted bigotry. It is quite a bit different from shooting at people with shotguns however.

The people of Camden have made it clear they do not want this school and the local council has rejected their views. They should resume peaceful protests and avoid these offensive actions.

rabee said...

I don't really care much about France because I don't live there.

I'm also not utterly obsessed with vilifying Presbyterians. ... simply dumb.

hc said...

Rabee, I do care about France even though I don't live there. I was listening to Debussy this morning as I had breakfast and, in fact, I vastly prefer Debussy to Presbyterian music and culture.

France is one of the great cultural and intellectual centres of the world. It is an incredibly open and tolerant society that accepts migrants from many countries some of whom do not share its traditions for openness and tolerance.

In fact it accepts migrants from societies with no history of tolerance and with limited education and skills. People who are misogynists with a single religion which they believe should be defended to the exclusion of all others. They are intolerant and hate the very idea of tolerance and indeed regard democracy as sinful and a form of weakness.

France also operates a foreign policy that many consider quite progressive in the sense that it is favourable to many oppressive regimes. Some - like myself - consider it a bit too progressive.

When immigrants burn schools and libraries I question whether something has gone wrong and whether France has acted in its own self-interest. Were they mistaken?

Maybe the immigrants resent the much higher living standards of the established residents of France. Maybe they find it hard to get jobs. They presumably find it better than the alternative of returning home however.

I certainly favour an emphasis on Australia's migrants having both skills and a measure of tolerance. It was one of John Howards better policies.

Yes, I think too we should learn from what is now happening in France.

Anonymous said...

They're not really presbyterians are they?

conrad said...


I do live in France from time to time, so I do care. You're wrong on a number of counts. First, they're not immigrants, so they can't return home -- France tried that in the 80s? with their parents; and second, the majority are not religious in the sense they they've read the Koran or Bible (many of the poor immigrants from Africa are Christians).

You are correct on the third -- this is the problem of bored youth (actually, male youth) who have poor educational standards. Complaining about it like an immigration problem is pointless now. The lesson to be learnt is not to take in large amounts of immigrants from the same groups unless they have decent educational standards. Given that Australia gets nowhere with its own problem groups, its clear there is no obvious solution.

conrad said...

I just noticed. This one is especially for you:

Those damn white Christians. Not only do they have the highest crime rates in the OECD, they still haven't learnt to pick fleas of themselves.

P.A. Coplay said...

Hi Harry,

To take Conrad's point a bit further, is it the educational standards or extensive labor market regulations that results in large number of unemployed youths? If it is not extensively regulated, then am happy to be proven wrong. The contributions of each need to be determined. My implicit assumption is that employed people (whatever their culture) are too busy and have too much at stake to riot.

hc said...

c.a.p., The regulations won't help - national unemployment 8% and that in these areas double that.

Conrad, They are immigrants or the progeny of such. Der Spiegel says religion is a factor and, I agree, lack of skills very important.

France has set itself up with a significant internal minority (5m) who reject French identity.

conrad said...

I don't buy all these assimilation arguements. They have nothing to do with attacking police. What cultures allow it? Who wants assimilation anyway? I'm glad the Greeks etc. that came to Melbourne didn't fully assimilate -- Otherwise Melbourne would still be a tasteless Anglo dump.

Similarly, what has rejecting French identity got to do with the current problems (on a different tangent, one might ask, why do they reject the identity?). I don't think its all or nothing.

I could put myself in this category. I don't have a strong Australian identity and I don't go aronud saying I love my country etc. (its just all just nationalist rubbish to me). What has that got to do with rioting/attacking police? As long as I behave within the law, why should you care what I believe? Should I not worry about people with an Australian identity that attack police, like our friends from middle-class Flemington ?

Francis Xavier Holden said...

conrad - I'm pretty sure the 100 or so dudes who attacked police in Flemington were not white middle class kids in from the $1m renovated houses but African kids from the housing estates.

I'd be willing to bet there's a vague copycat reaction to the goings on in France.

I'll let harry get back to you on that one.

conrad said...

I'll see on TV tonight FXH, although I seem to remember the was a white-riot up in Queensland a few days ago, so I can find the link to that if I need to find one for white mindless violence.

Francis Xavier Holden said...

conrad - I'm not suggesting that whites can't or don't riot - just that this case my information is that it was the africans.

My experience doesn't make me think that skin colour or religion is a large determinant of street violence in gangs. (although the high visibility of skin colour does make it a bit different to other elements)

Money, employment, educational levels, youth and identity issues following (parental) immigration are all the common and main factors.

Tertiary educated Pakistani muslims in their 30's don't riot in Australia much.

hc said...

It is interesting that Kevin Rudd has ruled out any increase in African migration to Australia.

rabee said...

I'm surprised you haven't congratulated Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah for being more liberal about women than our own Tony Abbot.

Why the delay?

Where are all the supposedly decent misanthropists in Australia?

hc said...

Rabee, I read the wikipedia entry on this guy. He does sound interesting. Here:

He is a mixture of conservatism and liberality - very much like Tony Abbott.

rabee said...

his new rulling is very interesting

"Islam does not approve of a man using any sort of violence against a woman, even in the form of insults and harsh words"

"We consider that if a man used physical violence against a woman and she could not defend herself except by retaliating with similar violence, she can do so out of self-defense"

if a man used violence to suppress a woman's legal and marital rights, for example by withholding money for household expenses or refraining from having sexual relations with her, "she can respond by depriving him of the rights to which she had committed herself in the marriage contract."

Too bad he's Hizbollah's spiritual head, respected in evil Iran, and one of the most senior Shiite marja.

Too bad he isn't friendly with the neocon lunies; like the criminals running Saudi Arabia.