An urban guerilla has been going on in Clichy-sous-Bois, a suburb of Paris, with hundreds of “French youths” battling the police and fire fighters since two teenagers foolishly killed themselves on Thursday night in an electrical transformer cabin. The two boys of 15 and 17 years old were electrocuted when they tried to hide in an electricity sub station. The boys were fleeing the police who were investigating a robbery.
The two “French youths” who died did not have typically French names such as Pierre or Louis but were called Ziad and Banou. Their relatives maintain that their deaths are the authorities’ fault. The police should leave underaged “French youths” such as Ziad and Banou alone when these are roaming the streets late at night while other teenagers with ordinary French names such as Pierre and Louis are in their beds.
To express their anger friends of the dead boys attacked the fire fighters and the police officers who had rushed to the electrical transformer to rescue the boys. Later that night (Thursday to Friday) unidentified “French youths” shot at police, attacked a fire station and several shops and set cars and trucks ablaze. The “French youths” continued to vent their “protest” the following night (Friday to Saturday) in similar fashion, with the fire brigade having to intervene 40 times and 15 policemen and one journalist getting wounded.
“There’s a civil war underway,” a police officer said. “We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting.”
On Saturday morning a protest demonstration was held in Clichy-sous-Bois, organised by the families of the dead youths. Mr. Belhacen, the president of the Association Culturelle Musulmane de Clichy-sous-Bois, and Mr. Chouaïeb, the president of the Fédération d’Associations Musulmanes de Clichy-sous-Bois, two subsidised cultural organisations, entreated the people to keep calm. Claude Dilain, a local socialist politician and the Mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, asked the people “to show that it is possible to live peacefully together” and to “render homage to the victims in respect and dignity.” By “victims” he did not mean the valiant fire fighters, nor the police, nor the owners of the shops that were looted, nor the owners of the more than twenty cars that were torched. According to the mayor the “victims” of Clichy-sous-Bois were Ziad and Banou.
Last night (Saturday to Sunday), a number of cars were set alight and there was more fighting between “French youths” and police but, as one gets used to anything, Reuters was happy to report on Sunday morning that “the city had found its calm after two nights of violent rioting.”
There was rioting in Britain too, last weekend. Two people were shot dead during riots in Birmingham. Theodore Dalrymple wrote in The Daily Telegraph that these are “the joys of a multicultural society.” Though in Birmingham the violence was mainly between Blacks and Pakistanis, rather than between “youths” and police, Dalrymple’s conclusion could apply to France as well:
The situation has, in my view, been inflamed by years of reflex political correctness on the part of the authorities and the authors of official reports that coin phrases such as “institutionalised racism” - a blood libel, in the sense of being impossible to disprove, if ever there was one. We now live in a political culture in which a sense of grievance stands as its own justification: you are wronged if you think you are.
The reaction of the mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, who cannot discern who the victims really are, is yet another proof of political correctness on the part of the authorities, who blame institutionalised racism when two teenagers stupidly hide in an electrical transformer station.
Update 31 October:
Another eight cars set ablaze during riots in Clichy in the night of Sunday on Monday.