France “Quasi Normal” After The Jack Chirac Show

Socialist states generate no wealth. In a socialist system the private sector, if allowed to exist, receives few incentives to create jobs. Hence, unemployment is high. The socialist “solution” to this problem, however, is easy: give the unemployed a government job. That is the way French President Jacques Chirac is going to “solve” the crisis in the French suburbs.

In his first direct television address to the nation since the large-scale rioting started on October 27, Chirac announced that a “voluntary civil service” will be created for 50,000 “youths” (read: mainly Muslim second and third generation immigrants). The French President sees no danger in multiculturalism. Nor does he think that the explicit refusal of some to assimilate into French society will lead to a “clash of civilisations.” On the contrary, Chirac lays the blame for the troubles on French society. The riots, he said, were caused by a “spiritual crisis, a crisis of orientation and an identity crisis” in France. Hence, France has to change: “We will not establish anything durable if we do not recognise and accept the diversity of French society.”

The President also addressed the rioters directly. Calling them “the children from difficult neighbourhoods” (read: the neighbourhood is to blame for your criminal conduct), he said they were all “daughters and sons of the Republic” (read: the state is your parent, and it loves you). He promised them that the Republic will fight the “poison of racism” of which they are the victims. “We are all aware of discrimination,” Chirac said. “How many CVs are thrown into the waste paper basket just because of the name or the address of the applicant,” he asked, repeating an allegation that is often made by rioting youths and leftist organisations. The President vowed that “discrimination” would be combated.

“Discrimination,” of course, is not the fault of the Republic, but of private individuals and private companies. Chirac called on employers and trade unions to “mobilise” against it, but he rejected the introduction of an ethnic quota system. The latter is impossible because France regards all its citizens as simply French. Because of its egalitarian ideological foundation the French Republic refuses on principle to acknowledge the existence of French citizens of different origin. People who discriminate do this on the basis of distinctions which according to the state do not exist. The state, being colourblind, demands of its citizens that they be colourblind too. The rioting “youths” of the past weeks, however, clearly displayed that they are not colourblind.

While Chirac addressed the nation from the presidential Elysée Palace, his main rival in the 2000 presidential elections, Jean-Marie Le Pen of the nativist Front National, spoke at a FN party meeting at the nearby Palais Royal conference center near the Louvre museum. Le Pen said France was “paying the bill” for its “massive, uncontrolled immigration from the Third World.” “We knew it was a global time bomb,” he said. “We let in 10 million foreigners in the course of 30 years – this is wild insanity. No country can handle that invasion.” Le Pen demanded that convicted rioters of foreign origin should be stripped of their French citizenship and expelled.

Meanwhile, rioting continued for the 19th consecutive night: 215 vehicles were torched, 71 people were arrested and one police officer was seriously wounded. The national police authorities said this was a return “to a quasi normal situation.”

In neighbouring Belgium the situation was as good as normal, too. According to official figures, two vehicles were set alight in Brussels and one each in Antwerp, Ghent, Mons and Châtelineau. In Roeselare there was an attempt to torch two cars. In Bossu a school sports center was ravaged by fire. The authorities said these arson cases had all been “isolated incidents” and called it a “quiet night.”

In Greece, molotov cocktails were thrown at a Renault dealer and a French-owned supermarket in the town of Saloniki. Eight cars were engulfed by flames and the supermarket was badly damaged. In a similar action on Saturday night, a Citroën dealer in Athens was attacked and 20 vehicles were torched.