Not a single word in the press anymore about the ongoing vandalism in France’s lost neighbourhoods. Yesterday the French government officially declared the riots over. Police figures are at exactly 98 cars torched on Wednesday night. This, the police say, is “a normal average.” Consequently the 20th consecutive night of violence was declared the last one.
Last night probably another hundred cars were set ablaze – as will be the case tonight, tomorrow night, and the following ones. Before large-scale rioting started on 27 October the police had already registered 30,000 car-becues this year – an average of, indeed, 100 a day. What a boost this must be to the French automobile industry. In the same period there were 3,800 attacks on police officers – a “normal” non-riot average of almost 13 a day.
During the past three weeks of rioting an additional 10,000 cars were torched; 130 police officers got wounded; some 100 factories and industrial buildings were vandalized and/or set ablaze; the same thing happened to some 100 schools, kindergartens, sports centers and (other) government buildings, as well as to at least 13 Christian cemetaries, chapels and churches, plus at least 4 Jewish centers and synagogues. There was also one attempt to set fire to a mosque. Two people were murdered: 56-year old Jean-Claude Irvoas was beaten to death in front of his wife and child, and 61-year old Jacques Le Chenadec was kicked to death when he tried to extinguish a burning dustbin in front of the apartment block where he lived.
Today in the Belgian newspaper De Tijd Nicole le Guennec, a French sociologist, says that car torching has been a common phenomenon in France for the past fifteen years. If this is true and if 100 is the average toll of destruction each night, a staggering 547,500 cars have been destroyed in France during that period. Probably more, because when one car is set alight and the fire destroys surrounding cars as well, the statistics count it as only one car fire. The worst night is traditionally New Year’s eve. Last New Year’s eve 330 cars were destroyed, a low figure compared to previous New Years when around 400 cars were set alight.
In contemporary multicultural France such staggering figures of lawlessness are considered to be a sign of “normality” and are hardly reported in the mainstream media. Neither is the following little piece of information. This week Professor Dominique Reynié of Sorbonne University in Paris, told the Brussels weekly Knack that the French state was obliged to borrow money last week to pay the wages of its civil servants. “The money has run out. One must concede: this is no example of a strong state.”
Perhaps what we are witnessing in Europe, but what the politicians and the media dare not say aloud, is the implosion of the (welfare) state. The Soviet Union suddenly collapsed in 1989, when owing to the inability of communism to create wealth, the state went bankrupt, was unable to maintain its army and hold its empire together. In France, the same thing might be happening. The socialist welfare state is no longer able to maintain law and order and is abandoning entire neighbourhoods to anarchy.
Is there a way out? If one is to believe the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut there is not. In an interview in the Parisian conservative newspaper Le Figaro last Tuesday (November 15), he said that it is not the French Republic that is failing. “The school of the Republic died a long time ago. It’s the post-Republic model of super-sympathetic educative community immersed in social activism that’s sinking. But alas, it’s an indestructible model, since it feeds on its own fiascos. It reacts to every failure with intensification. And here we go again: through scorn for truth, tomorrow the French school will thus drown the diversity of the black slave trade in the ocean of anti-Western political correctness. We’ll teach colonization not as a terrible, ambiguous historical phenomenon, but as a crime against humanity. Thus we’ll respond to the challenge of integration by hastening national disintegration.”
It is the same with the social-democratic welfare model. It feeds on its own fiascos and will continue to do so until it collapses – implodes – under its own weight. Consequently it is an indestructible model. The only way out is for the implosion to come soon. If it does, then national disintegration may perhaps still be avoided. If it does not, the social fabric of the nation will be damaged beyond repair.
An English translation of the Finkielkraut interview has been provided by Mark K. Jensen, Associate Professor of French at Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA). Below is an excerpt:
What political and intellectual lessons do you draw from the riots?
Alain Finkielkraut: I am terrified by this violence. Terrified, but not astonished. There were warning signs: […] There were also books sounding the alarm like the one by Emmanuel Brenner, Les Territoires perdus de la République [The Lost Territories of the Republic], or the June 2004 report by the ministry of national education on the signs and demonstrations of religious affiliation in some school establishments in difficult neighborhoods. There we learned, notably, that the teaching of history was accused by some pupils and those who are influencing them of giving a deformed, partisan, Judeo-Christian view of the world. Examples abound, from the refusal to study the building of the cathedrals or to listen to talk of the existence of pre-Islamic religions, to the inevitable turbulence provoked by discussion of the Algerian war or the Middle East.
[…] The first targets of those who were violent were their neighbors. And those neighbors are the ones who are demanding that the public order of the Republic be restored. […] Here’s a charming rap couplet: “France is a slut, don’t forget to fuck her till she drops like a bitch, you gotta deal with her, guy! Me, I piss on Napoleon and General de Gaulle.”
But do the excesses of the musical subculture really have a causal link with the acts of violence?
AF: If those who set fire to public services, throw pétanque balls from building towers on police, or assault firefighters had the same skin color as the Rostock rioters [the Rostock rioters were young neo-nazis – P.B.] in the reunified Germany of the 1990s, moral indignation would prevail everywhere.
Come on, moral indignation is prevailing in some places!
AF: No, what is prevailing is understanding, dissolution of the feeling of the unjustifiable in favor of the search for causes. In the Rostock hypothesis, politicians, intellectuals, journalists, officials of associations, social science researchers – they’d all be shouting with a single voice: “Fascism is not acceptable!” But as these ball- and Molotov cocktail-throwers are French of African or North African descent, explanation stifles indignation or turns it against the government and the nation’s lack of hospitality.
Instead of being outraged by the scandal of schools being burned, people pontificate about the despair of the arsonists. Instead of listening to what they’re saying – “Fuck your mother!”, “Fuck the police!”, “Fuck the State!” – we listen to them, that is, we convert their appeals to hatred as appeals for help and their vandalization of school buildings as demands for education. To this interpretation, which is all just for show, we urgently need to oppose a literal reading of events.
[…] And what we need to reestablish is another system of values, another relation to time. But that capacity is not within the power of politicians. […] The abysmal vulgarity of talk shows, the brutality of videogames, the daily dumbing down and hilarious viciousness of the “Guignols de l’info” [a French TV news feature that represents public figures as puppets] – all that is beyond the reach of politicians. And if they took a stand against it, editorialists would at once denounce it is as a totalitarian infringement on freedom of expression.
But they are suffering from record unemployment rates!
AF: […] The present violence is not a reaction to the injustice of the Republic, but rather a gigantic pogrom against the Republic. […] And what is really unbearable is to see the authors of these exploits given the glorious title of “children of the Republic.”
[…] Wanting to calm hatred by saying that France is in fact worthy of hatred and inscribing this self-disgust in what we teach is necessarily leading us to things that are even worse. These revolting revolts are pushing to a crisis the contemporary tendency to make human beings primarily holders of rights rather than duties. And if schools themselves encourage them, everything is lost. […] And here we go again: through scorn for truth, tomorrow the French school will thus drown the diversity of the black slave trade in the ocean of anti-Western political correctness. We’ll teach colonization not as a terrible, ambiguous historical phenomenon, but as a crime against humanity. Thus we’ll respond to the challenge of integration by hastening national disintegration.