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French Riots Lead to Crackdown on Blogs 1020

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-talk dept.
Browncoat writes "Wired reports that because of the recent riots in France, authorities have shut down a blog called Hardcore, whose participants have allegedly violating a French law concerning violent speech. Many bloggers fear there will be consequences for them if they are outspoken, even if it is in a nonviolent way. From the article: 'Ahmed Meguinia, a political activist who saw some of the Paris region's hardest-hit areas during the past week, said many bloggers feared prosecution for publishing even nonviolent content. While not condoning blogs that incited violence, he said that there was a lack of media coverage explaining why ethnically segregated inhabitants of some of France's poorest cities have been driven to riot. Instead, the world repeatedly sees CNN images of burning cars and shops, he said.'"
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French Riots Lead to Crackdown on Blogs

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  • by RandoX (828285) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:25AM (#13997221)
    That's a loaded term. Show me where France forced ethnicities into certain parts of the city, Warsaw Ghetto style. People live wherever they can afford to. Guess what? Beverly Hills is 'ethnically segregated' too.
    • by wpiman (739077) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:29AM (#13997259)
      Beverly Hills, that's where I want to be.

      Truth is, I don't stand a chance. It's something that your born into and I just don't belong.

    • by deacon (40533) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:37AM (#13997343) Journal
      The French state owns 30% of all housing. These people are dependents of the French state. They live where they are told.

      That's not the cause of the trouble, however.

      An all-pervasive nanny state which results in huge unemployment and no hope for advancement, A French elite mentality that Africans are sub-human, and endless dicking around with muliticultiralism which has allowed the formation of an African state within France, have given the results seen for the last two weeks.

      • by flibuste (523578) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:08AM (#13997654)

        No, you are completely wrong. People are not "told" where to live. Those buildings are owned by the gouvernment, but they are rented for a very cheap price to families who would not be able to afford to rent a place otherwise. Many people chose and applied for going to those buildings in the 60's. With the 70's/80's immigration waves, those rental places were still rented to the ones who could not afford lodging otherwise, that is, the immigrants.

        What you think is scary in many ways and shows that all you know about the situation comes from CNN and Fox news where the reality is VERY distorted. Fox news is so shockingly out of context that it definitely is anti-french propaganda rather than "news".

        Oh, and a last thing: you mix up african and north-african (arabic) culture. The vast majority of post-immigrants are from an arabic culture, and are not africans. So, you really have no idea what you are talking about and thus, I suggest you just shut up.

        The non-sense on american television spreads on slashdot as usual. People, put your nose out and go visit your neighbours. Thank you.

        • "you mix up african and north-african (arabic) culture."

          They are from the African continent, are they not? Or am I not "American" because I have fair skin and speak neither Spanish nor Portugese? Are people in the United States and Canada "European?"
        • "Oh, and a last thing: you mix up african and north-african (arabic) culture."

          This is a somewhat subjective issure. The fact of the matter is that the people in question are africans (or north Africans, if you prefer), and the parent was only trying to say that they are treated as second citizens in France. From what I understand this is the case. You'll find a similar attitude in Europe against Turks. I'll never understand why so many people have a problem with poor immigrants moving into their country
        • by deacon (40533) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:14PM (#13998885) Journal
          No, you are completely wrong. People are not "told" where to live. Those buildings are owned by the gouvernment, but they are rented for a very cheap price to families who would not be able to afford to rent a place otherwise. Many people chose and applied for going to those buildings in the 60's. With the 70's/80's immigration waves, those rental places were still rented to the ones who could not afford lodging otherwise, that is, the immigrants.

          So, in your own words, these people have no choice. They are told where to live. Those who have a choice, live elsewhere.

          What you think is scary in many ways and shows that all you know about the situation comes from CNN and Fox news where the reality is VERY distorted. Fox news is so shockingly out of context that it definitely is anti-french propaganda rather than "news".

          I have not watched CNN or Fox for about 10 years now. My knowledge of the situation comes from working in France, and interacting with French Arabs, and also from working in Black Africa. Too bad an alternate point of view "scares" you. Boo hoo.


          Oh, and a last thing: you mix up african and north-african (arabic) culture. The vast majority of post-immigrants are from an arabic culture, and are not africans. So, you really have no idea what you are talking about and thus, I suggest you just shut up.

          No, you are aparently unable to realize that both Black africans and North africans (Arabs) are involved in the rioting. Africa has more than just two cultures by the way,
          the Arabs and the Blacks each have many, many different customs based on individual tribal traditions. Your simplistic lumping into two heaps is amusing.

          The non-sense on american television spreads on slashdot as usual. People, put your nose out and go visit your neighbours. Thank you.

          Does anyone get their news from TV these days? How primitive. I've visited my neighbours in Africa, in France, and in America. Have you?

          You take no issue with my original points about the nanny-state, lack of jobs, and Elitist racism. There may be hope for you yet.

          • by lysium (644252) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @03:49PM (#14000769)
            So, in your own words, these people have no choice. They are told where to live. Those who have a choice, live elsewhere...You take no issue with my original points about the nanny-state, lack of jobs, and Elitist racism.

            I will have to discount the "nanny-state" part, because everything else you've said perfectly describes the race ghettos of the United States. No jobs, check. Entrenched racism, check. The US Government "telling" people where to live through economics....check (although I feel this point in particular is nothing more than a semantic game).

          • by brpr (826904)

            So, in your own words, these people have no choice. They are told where to live. Those who have a choice, live elsewhere.

            Really? If the government provides low-cost housing, it is "forcing" people to live there? What rubbish. In your original post you said "they live where they are told", which is clearly not true, and is what the grandparent was responding to. But it seems you have no respect for the facts.

    • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:46AM (#13997435) Homepage
      Indeed. Some countries made an effort to distribute their transmigrants evenly around the country. However, many take issue with ending up in a small town or out in the country, so they move to the city, creating their own ghettos. Sweden is one example. Language and cultural problems then create further isolation. I say transmigrants because many (far from all, but definitely many) have no intention of adopting the language, culture or values of their new country. merely creating a defacto colony in a new territory.

      Denmark has had really severe problems with that, but so far the groups fight eachother. None of the European countries have faced up to the transmigration problem and still handle them and immigrants alike under antiquated immigration laws designed to handle a slow trickle of individuals back in the 1950's. No system is really in place to get the people new job skills for those that need it, proper language skills, and an acceptance or appreciation of existing values and mores.

      As a result, you get situations like in the Netherlands where each of the 4 largest cities in the country have a first generation immigrant/transmigration populations of over 40% each. Or in Malmö, Sweden where Swedes are now the single largest ethnic minority, even counting second generation immigrants/transmigrants as Swedes, regardless of assimilation.

      There is also the problem of double standards. Any questioning or criticism of the system results in personal verbal attacks and accusations of intolerance. Any criticism of the behaviour of the new comers is likewise attacked with accusations of intolerance and racism. In contrast, newcomers can get away with statements and actions that would put a 'native' in serious legal trouble, resulting in jail or fines. That has to stop and the reality of the situation be looked at as well as the intended goals.

      How does importing 5 million transmigrants into a country of 5 million or even 60 million help the situation for either the people (both new and old) in the new country or those left in the country they have escaped from? We all know what happens to a business if there is high turn over, what about whole cities or countries?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:12AM (#13997701)
        No system is really in place to get the people new job skills for those that need it, proper language skills, and an acceptance or appreciation of existing values and mores.

        Asians never seem to need assistance from the "state" nor do Eastern European immigrants. They adopt and are often the most successful members of society.
        • by nicklott (533496) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:01PM (#13998174)
          That's a fairly sweeping statement. I assume you live in the US, as Asian or eastern european immigrants who manage to get there will be the ones who have enough money to pay for their tickets. It is very difficult to hide in a transatlantic airliner, not so difficult to hide in the back of a truck.

          The perception of the "man in the street" and several national newspapers here in the UK is that Asians and Eastern Europeans are *entirely* reliant on the state. This is not of course true, but is about as valid a viewpoint as yours.

    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:49AM (#13997472) Homepage Journal
      It is a little bit more complex than you are stating. What people in the US don't understand is that these people can never be "French".

      In the US if you are born in the US you are an American citizen. In much of the EU that even if your father and mother where born in that country and you where born in that country you are still not a citizen! I don't know what the status in France is for people from North Africa since those where at one time French colonies.

      As too which system is better? It is hard to come to the US to work. But it is easier to be a citizen. I like the US system but to each their own.

      The you put racism into the mix. One of the great myths is that Europe is more racially tolerant than the US. I think this rioting show that is not true. Europe is only now having to deal with racial diversity. It is easy to be tolerant when your minority population is tiny. It takes a lot of hard work and soul searching when the minorities get large enough to form sub cultures. I do think it is worth the effort but that is a US point of view.
      • by lovebyte (81275) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <0002etybevol>> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:58AM (#13997548) Homepage
        Your comment about nationality is totally wrong. In most of the EU, being born in one country gives you automatically the nationality of this country (this is not the case for Germany, though). It is certainly the case for France even if both parents are not French.
        • Parent is Wrong (Score:5, Informative)

          by weierstrass (669421) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:36AM (#13997936) Homepage Journal
          This is not true.
          Until about a decade ago most EU countries gave you nationality/citizenship if you were born in that country, regardless of parents nationality etc. Definitely the UK was like that until quite recently. France certainly doesn't have that rule at least since early nineties - in practice most children of immigrants got french citizenship, but the right wasn't automatic.
          Now citizenship cannot be acquired automatically through birth in any EU country. Ireland was the last to get rid of the right one or two years ago. Apparently since they were the only country in the EU to still have it, and since it's now pretty easy to travel anywhere in the EU if you have residence rights in one EU country, they were finding that lots of pregnant mothers were coming to Ireland specifically give birth and obtain EU-country citizenship for their child.
          This definitely applies to the 15 'old EU' members, but i would imagine that the new member states have come in line with this since joining.
        • France is now experiencing a problem that Rome found a perennial woe. In the first few decades of the Christian Era, the various ethnic/social groups that made up the various "ghettos" in Rome would have riots. The legion would march in, knock in a few heads, Execute the ringleaders and for a while the city was calm again. Till the next time. Then in 64 AD, on the Egyptian New Years day, a fire broke out near the Circus Maximus that engulfed the whole town. Rome (Gaius Nero) blamed the Jews, and
      • by Hrvat (307784)
        You are correct. I've lived in Europe before moving to US and I can tell you that racial relations in the US are decades ahead of those in Europe. Again, most of the problem is in educating the people and making them sensitive to racial issues.

        My most shocking moment was when I went back home for a summer and I was sitting down chatting with my mother's neighbor, half watching some kind of Spanish soap opera. In any case, the show portrayed some African slaves to which the neighbor commented how the slave
        • In any case, the show portrayed some African slaves to which the neighbor commented how the slave features resembled those of monkeys. I was shocked. You'd never hear something like in US (at least I hope not).

          If you did hear something like that in the US you'd be utterly demonized by the mainstream and most decent people. Careers have been destroyed [wikipedia.org] over a lot less then that over here.

          On the other side of the coin, I can get a permit for a KKK rally in Central Park. In France that wouldn't be allowed

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:00AM (#13997569) Journal
      "Beverly Hills is 'ethnically segregated' too."

      Actually, Beverly Hills is not ethnically segregated -- it is segregated by wealth. It happens to be that there is a correlation between race and extreme wealth, which is why there are fewer minorities in Beverly Hills.

      At the lower end of the income spectrum, there is a lot more diversity of ethnicity, both here in the US and in France. If you look at neighborhhods inhabited by the poor, they do tend to segregate themselves by ethnicity -- people live where they can communicate with their supers, their neighbors, and the people working at shops and restaurants locally. Shared language is a big part of it, shared culture the other.

      But if you look at historical segregation in the US, it was initially not a legal issue -- people segregated by choice. And yet it became a huge problem, because of ethnic discrimination, and because of inequal access to public resources (such as police protection, education, transportation, etc). And the fact of the matter remains, that much of the US is still segregated -- yet not formally, and (hopefully) less so every year. However, there is public awareness of the issue, and lots of people working to ensure that public resources are distributed fairly across ethnically segregated localities, and to make sure that public institutions are not segregated.

      A lot of areas in France are segregated, though not by legal decree. This is not a problem. The problem is that there is the perception among some people that they are not getting an equitable share of public resources. This is often enabled by segregation, since it's just a matter of reduced funding for public programs in certain areas.

      Whether it's intentional racism or not, whether people were segregated by force or by choice, doesn't matter. What matters is that government take the responsibilty that resources are NOT allocated inequitably by race.
    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:01AM (#13997585)
      Beverly Hills is 'ethnically segregated' too.

      Actually, it's not. Plenty of rich African Americans there. I can't tell their religion from merely looking at them, of course, but I see no reason to believe why there is no higher or lower percentage of Muslims among them. I think having Cosby or Denzel as your neighbor _raises_ your property value there.

      Upper West Side of Manhattan, different story. If the entire first string of the Knicks announced they were moving into the apartment upstairs your Co-op board would suddenly pass a law forbidding anyone taller than 6'3" from owning an apartment there due to "Post 9/11 fire safety issues."
      • Beverly Hills is 'ethnically segregated' too.

        Actually, it's not. Plenty of rich African Americans there. ...

        Like Ashley, Carlton, and the Fresh Prince, if memory serves me correctly! :-p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:30AM (#13997271)
    ... we have laws against inciting violence here, and most other places have the same deal.

    If some American blog advocated setting fire to police stations and lynching Dick & George, it would also be "cracked down" upon.

    Let's not get all hypocritical here.
    • by toupsie (88295) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:47AM (#13998035) Homepage
      If some American blog advocated setting fire to police stations and lynching Dick & George, it would also be "cracked down" upon.

      Just go visit Democrat Underground [democratic...ground.com] or Daily Kos [thedailykos.com]. You will find many articles that discuss violence against authority and the death of our President and Vice President. Heck Air America Radio between fundraising breaks and stealing money from poor children [washingtontimes.com] has had several commentators advocate the assassination [worldnetdaily.com] of our President.

      I am always amazed at the shouts from the left that they are being "oppressed" in this country. I am going practically deaf from their oppression. Its like a Monty Python sketch. If you want to see truly speech oppressive societies, just look at Europe and their numerous speech codes/laws.

  • by QuaintRealist (905302) <quaintrealist@@@gmail...com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:32AM (#13997288) Homepage Journal
    So the French Government sticks it to the politically powerless bloggers. Will they also forbid those same images on CNN referenced in the blurb? I would be willing to bet that more potential rioters got their initial impressions from the mainstream media than from blogs.

    Of course, you cannot coordinate attacks on CNN, but shutting down blogs will be not only ineffective but counterproductive. A well-informed security service would be monitoring the blogs and spiking them with false info to make arrests.

    OK, I'd prefer those who do the wrong thing to be stupid rather than clever...
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:33AM (#13997303)
    Many of the rioters live in areas with 30% unemployment. French labor laws make labor expensive (high wages, 35 hour work week, long vacations) and risky -- if you can't easily fire someone, you're going to think twice about hiring them.

    France may be a worker's paradise, but only if you if have a job.

    • by dptalia (804960)
      Actually, from what I've read, unemployment is more like 50%. Add to it that there is little or no represntation of the north african imigrant in the upper echelons of government, and it's understandable why there's dissatisfaction.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:11AM (#13997688)
        from what I read, unemployment is like 250%. Actually no one works, we just sit there, relax, smoke weed, and receive money from the Marshall Plan.

        God I like being a Communist !
  • "Driven" to riot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:34AM (#13997308)
    That's like saying Osama Bin Laden was "driven" to attack the WTC. Or the people who attacked London in July were "driven" to it by the victims.

    Many ( but centainly not all) of these rioters are racists. The difference between them and other disillusioned youths in their North African homecountries is that they're living close enough to the hated group to actually attack them, in this case their property and the police.
  • In the USA too (Score:3, Informative)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:36AM (#13997332)
    Before anyone starts spouting about how fascist the French government is and how this could never happen in the USA, keep in mind that web sites are routinely taken down in the USA by government AND corporations (as if there is any difference anymore). A site can be taken down entirely because of urging from a [corporation/gov.official], without any judicial oversite whatsoever if they say it threatens [profits/national security]. In addition, who knows how many newsletters, sites, or blogs were never even published due to [corporate/government] intimidation and the threat of [a ruined credit rating/getting on the wrong watch list]?
  • Somehow (Score:3, Funny)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:36AM (#13997335)
    Chirac will blame this on Bush.
  • by JonTurner (178845) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:37AM (#13997342) Journal
    Let's examine this statement:
    >>he said that there was a lack of media coverage explaining why ethnically segregated inhabitants of some of France's poorest cities have been driven to riot.

    >>lack of media coverage explaining
    No doubt. From the media, one would think it was just random collections of poor "youth" on a little spree, releasing youthful energy by burning a car or two (thousand). The reality is that it's a well-defined group of people which I'll get to in a moment.

    >>ethnically segregated inhabitants
    Do you mean the "muslim immigrants (many of whom are illegal aliens), primarily male aged 14-26, who, by choice, are poorly integrated into France's culture (read: hates France, doesn't speak French, disdain for Europeans, etc.) and thus more likely to be unemployed (and living off of France's generous welfare system, placing a burden on the French)?" It's hard to tell, with all those PC buzzwords in the media.

    Look, it's what happens when a culture doesn't insist that immigrants conform. They hate their host country and are using this as an excuse to terrorize, burn, loot, and generally express their disdain and hatred for France.

    Anything else I can clear up for you?
    • Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by flimflam (21332) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:50AM (#13997478) Homepage
      Most of these youth's, while poorly integrated into French society, are second generation French citizens, who speak French as their first (and largely only) language.
    • Look, it's what happens when a culture doesn't insist that immigrants conform.

      Actually... my take on this is somewhat different. At least from what I know about early French colonial practices... they were very accepting of immigrants, as long as those immigrants totally disavowed their original culture and 'became French'. I imagine this group rioting are people who did not want to totally lose their original culture, and therefore have been alienated by the cultural elitist French society

      I contras
      • by bigjocker (113512) * on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:30AM (#13997880) Homepage
        have been alienated by the cultural elitist French society

        Yeah, right. Because if you don't speak the native language, hate the natives (and all Europe) and alienate yourself in small groups of people like you, it's the fault of the other people if you can't get a nice job.

        Most of this people choose (for religiuos, ethnical, cultural and whatnot beliefs) not to integrate and decided to create sub-societies. What are they doing in France, living from its welfare system, if they hate it so much?
    • Look, it's what happens when a culture doesn't insist that immigrants conform.

      No, actually it's what happens when a culture tries to FORCE its immigrants to conform, to such an extent that they are not allowed to freely engage in aspects of their native culture. Humans don't like being told they have to conform. They rebel.

      Within American culture we have Jewish-Americans, Latin-Americans, African-Americans, and so forth. Our cultural groups don't always get along smoothly, but they all enjoy equal freedo
  • by slashdot_commentator (444053) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:39AM (#13997362) Journal
    Skyrock deletes roughly 6,500 articles and shuts down 10 blogs every day that violate its policy prohibiting racist, obscene or violent content, the company said in a statement.

    And they leave out the most unforgivable crime: posting a page written exclusively non-French. But they let Roman Polanski, a convicted child rapist, to run around their enlightened nation.

    • Re:Vive la France! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by slavemowgli (585321)
      Roman Polanski was not convicted; he left the USA after he learned that the plea bargain that had been struck was not going to be upheld by the judge. And since he's a French citizen, France will not extradite him to the USA (which I think is understandable - would the USA extradite a US citizen to France?).

      Of course, that doesn't explain why he wasn't arrested and tried in France. But at least let's stick to the facts, OK? Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, even an alleged child abuser (although whet
  • by cordsie (565171) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:46AM (#13997444)

    They should have built a Coliseum before the city hit population 5 then made a bee line for Monotheism to build a cathedral. At the very least, they could have turned a citizen or two into an elvis as a stop gap emergency measure.

    Pah. French AI's a joke.

    (It's a joke, I think the real situation is horrible.)

  • Choice Doublespeak (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SPYvSPY (166790) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:47AM (#13997446) Homepage
    "Driven to riot" implies a lack of accountability on the part of the people looting and burning one of history's great civilizations. I find the argument that inflammatory statements from the French government are the direct cause of the riots offensively absurd, esp. in light of France's reputation for pandering to the multicultural tolerance dogma. The sad truth is that it is this so-called "tolerance" that fueled the fire in the first place. Blogs are not sanctified absolutely by virtue of free speech (esp. if those blogs are being used to incite and coordinate violent attacks on the public). Does anyone really believe that freedom of speech extends to tactical communications in promotion of mayhem? And if the police don't stop the riots, the same people protesting the violation of personal freedom are going to protest the inefficacy of the police. It's all so depressingly predictable and pathetic.
    • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79.gmail@com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:14AM (#13997711) Homepage
      "'Driven to riot' implies a lack of accountability on the part of the people looting and burning one of history's great civilizations."

      Truer words have seldom been posted here... except that part about history's great civilizations, of course :)

      Think of how many violent acts are carried out here in the USA because someone was "driven" to it? People seem to be "driven" by everything these days; alcohol, work stress, abusive parents, rap music, video games... everything except the most important element: CHARACTER FLAWS.

      Maybe if people stopped blaming society for all of their personal shortcomings, we'd be able to fix some of our problems. Until that happens, though, prepare yourself for more of the same.
  • by Orne (144925) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:07AM (#13997646) Homepage
    Some people are saying "It's all economics, they're poor / unemployed so they are fighting against the Man the only way they can", while others are saying "It's all religion, they're all middle-eastern, its what they do".... but those are just the talking points of the far Left and far Right. The issue, as always, is more complicated.

    What you have are immigrant population from French colonies in North Africa (who happen to be of middle-eastern and african descent) who have entered France through their weaker immigration laws [brook.edu]. The French are traditionally very nationalistic (see their Language boards), and the immigrants were discriminated against [bbc.co.uk] and were not assimilated into mainstream cultures. Secondly, the middle-eastern culture itself is very prideful, mainly becase of their religious practices and family customs. The net result was that the immigrants self-segretated themselves into comminities of like-minded peoples.

    So, the dominant european ethnics (through prejudice) resisted their assimilation, which had the net result of limiting the earning potential of the middle-eastern ethnics. The immigrants resist learning the French language and culture, and because of French law, are denied representation in their governments. When the government does try to "help" them with social programs, their culture see it as insulting / condescending. The net result of this is a hatred of a government that is constantly trying to patronize them and force them to give up their heritage.

    So, these neighborhoods tend to have less governmental police prescence than other suburbs of Paris, which tends to lead to more criminal elements. It had gotten so bad, representatives of the federal government of France were claiming that they would "clean up the scum", which didn't go so well with the locals. In the latest chain of events [aljazeera.net], there were two youths who were fleeing police, hid in a utility station and accidentally electrocuted themselves. The immigrant cultures see this as police brutality & oppression, something denied by the authorities.

    Finally, there are now criminal elemnts in the immigrant culture that are rising up and causing damage around the suburbs, fighting their "battle" against the government for making them the way they are... Yet, these people do not see that a share of that responsibility is theirs.

    • by ookaze (227977) <ookaze@mYEATSail.ookaze.fr minus poet> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:30PM (#13998427) Homepage
      The issue, as always, is more complicated

      I live in France and know pretty well the psychology of these people, it's not complicated at all, sorry, it's actually pretty simple.

      What you have are immigrant population from French colonies in North Africa who have entered France through their weaker immigration laws

      Actually, France needed cheap labor at the time, and promised them work and home. So they came. Reality was hard work and cheap home.

      The French are traditionally very nationalistic, and the immigrants were discriminated against and were not assimilated into mainstream cultures. Secondly, the middle-eastern culture itself is very prideful, mainly becase of their religious practices and family customs. The net result was that the immigrants self-segretated themselves into comminities of like-minded peoples

      Nonsense. These people, with their hard work (far from their work location), just had no time to do anything other than work. When you're exhausted, it's way harder to integrate yourself (learn the language or educate your children). Immigrants were not self-segregated, they were all put together in the same cheap apartments.

      So, the dominant european ethnics (through prejudice) resisted their assimilation, which had the net result of limiting the earning potential of the middle-eastern ethnics

      Still true today.

      The immigrants resist learning the French language and culture, and because of French law, are denied representation in their governments

      Nothing to do with the law, it's a false secret, but access to high education is greatly influenced by where you live, which is greatly influenced by your income. It's nothing like the USA here in France, even for jobs and how they are paid.

      When the government does try to "help" them with social programs, their culture see it as insulting / condescending

      That's not true. They ask for more.

      The net result of this is a hatred of a government that is constantly trying to patronize them and force them to give up their heritage

      This is completely wrong. They have no more hatred for our government than other citizen. The problems are well known and here, it is the police forces. See the movie "La Haine" to have a good vision of what the problem is with some police forces (think Rodney King).

      So, these neighborhoods tend to have less governmental police prescence than other suburbs of Paris, which tends to lead to more criminal elements

      Not true either. Number of police force is dependant on your wealth and popularity (so, given what I said above, where you live).

      It had gotten so bad, representatives of the federal government of France were claiming that they would "clean up the scum", which didn't go so well with the locals. In the latest chain of events, there were two youths who were fleeing police, hid in a utility station and accidentally electrocuted themselves. The immigrant cultures see this as police brutality & oppression, something denied by the authorities.

      Don't know what USA TV relay, but this is all backwards and partly false.
      Everything started when 2 youths died in an utility station. Still no riot. We DO NOT KNOW for now what actually happened. Accident ? Not sure. Pursuit by police ? Not sure. We don't know. But the day after this tragic accident, the very well-known president candidate Sarkozy (for now, think he is Chief of Police) makes a huge mistake. Without any prior investigation, he says : "police was not responsible for the death of these youths". When you know how the people having the same life of these youths think, what they endure, and the fact that these youths never did anything bad in their life, you can immediately see the riots coming. And that's what happened. Bad guys who love to burn and break things go in the middle, they are encouraged by TV which report they deeds, count the number of cars they burnt.
      Others in other towns see that, and eve
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:10AM (#13997679)
    ... would seem to be a no-brainer, in terms of making the distinction. But France (and Germany) has a pretty long post-WWII history of making very strange distinctions (or not) between those things. The mess they're in now is shining a pretty bright light on some of their culture's built-in legal and philosophical oddities. Much is being made about France's supposed inability to integrate immigrants into their wider society, but there's more to it than that.

    I spent some time yesterday talking to my neighbor who is from Cameroon, in Africa. Their culture was impacted considerably by German colonialism, and then lurched into Frenchness when the French were handed that German turf after WWII. As a result, many people from his generation head to France for higher education, and indeed, he has relatives there. He fondly recalled traveling there (and across Europe) as a younger man 15 years ago, and says that he hates it now because "it's no longer France."

    He's appalled by the unwillingness of many people that move there to even learn French or fully grasp how the country works. He says that some people there do wish that it was easier to snap their fingers and "be" French - with all of the social niceties and better paying work that might suggest - but that the problem is more in the objectives of the immigrants. His personal take on it is that, indeed, it's not Moroccans (as an example) wanting to move to France, it's Morrocans wanting to move Morroco to France.

    At any rate, he came here (to the US), and is working his ass off in two different businesses (wireless networking and carpet cleaning!). He came here with very little, and now has a decent house (luxurious, he says, by any standard he would otherwise have enjoyed in Cameroon or in France) and just bought his equally hard working wife a nice Mercedes.

    He uses the internet for VoIP chats with his friends in France and Africa, haunts many message boards and blogs in both places, and encourages his relations in France to do the same. His take on it is that the French have become completely schizoid on this entire bundle of issues. They preach a culture/color-blind take on all things governmental (which he applauds), and seem to let into the country pretty much anyone who feels like being there (which he thinks is crazy). But his main observation was that the socialist aspects of the French government/economy are chiefly to blame for everything that's happening. He has a bird feeder out behind his house and laughs when the squirrels fight over the sunflower seeds - but he says that's pretty much what's happening in the immigrant-heavy French suburbs right now... people moving there for the welfare-ish resources, and now erupting into a frenzy over the ramifications of living like that (in contrast to the country's better-off people, but - according to my neighbor - still better off than they would be where they came from). I asked him if his perceptions are typical, and he said that he wishes they were (in the French 'burbs), but that they are among the extended Cameroonian ex-pat community in the DC area. He's shaking his head over the whole thing, and says he wishes that France would lighten up on the whole free speech thing, but that it would tighten up on immigration. The biggest thing, though, is the complete fear (on the part of law enforcement) of even entering some neighborhoods. The police there are completely powerless to deal with the thuggier elements in the public housing ghettos, and have pretty much thrown up their hands.
  • my 2 euro cents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lovebyte (81275) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <0002etybevol>> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:12AM (#13997697) Homepage
    Since I live in Paris and I used to live in one of those poor suburbs, my humble opinion might be worth more than 2 cents, so here it comes:
    1. There is no country in Europe that does not struggle with immigrants and children from immigrants from African origin. France has the largest number of them, hence the biggest problems. (This is also correlated to the anti-semitism problem in France: the largest arabic and the largest jewish populations of Europe are in France and anti semitism in France comes overwhelmingly from this arabic population)
    2. Many of those rioters are simply criminals that do not want the police to be present in these suburbs and are demonstrating that it is their territory.
    3. Islam has nothing to do with these rioters. If they were white, would we say it's because of christianity? These criminals are not muslim.
    4. These bloggers were calling for physically hurting policemen, burning cars, schools, ... They were not just discussing the problems.
    5. What is this bullshit about journalists not talking about the causes of the social problems? All French newspapers, TV and radio news are just talking about that!
    6. These riots happen almost exclusively in the poor suburbs of France, 99% of the French population has only seen burning cars on TV.
    • Re:my 2 euro cents (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ndansmith (582590)
      5. What is this bullshit about journalists not talking about the causes of the social problems? All French newspapers, TV and radio news are just talking about that!

      They must have that stange "journalistic integrity" thing in France. We had that for a while in the US, but it didn't sell the adverts.

      The news in America, particularly television news, is looking for sensational content. Since the upper/middle class in America does not want to hear about social injustice in France, Fox News and the rest nee

    • Re:my 2 euro cents (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ookaze (227977) <ookaze@mYEATSail.ookaze.fr minus poet> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:44PM (#13998578) Homepage
      Since I live in Paris and I used to live in one of those poor suburbs

      I live in the suburbs, and I know some people in these poor suburbs. I knew a lot of them and know how they think, what they endure every day.

      1. There is no country in Europe that does not struggle with immigrants and children from immigrants from African origin. France has the largest number of them, hence the biggest problems

      This is just not true. You talk like only immigrants of African origin are a problem. This is completely wrong, and the population of poor suburbs are not limited to immigrants of African origin. Your last sentence is racist at best. Poor families of any nationalities live in poor suburbs. You already forgot the poor people thet died burnt in Paris some months ago, and there was no riot.

      2. Many of those rioters are simply criminals that do not want the police to be present in these suburbs and are demonstrating that it is their territory.

      Yes, many are just criminals, but they just show that they are stronger than police, and they are fueled by their success they see on TV.

      3. Islam has nothing ...
      4. These bloggers were ...
      5. ...


      Well I agree.

      6. These riots happen almost exclusively in the poor suburbs of France, 99% of the French population has only seen burning cars on TV.

      No, these "riots" happen everywhere, even in Paris. But it's true 99 % of French population have only seen cars burn on TV.
  • by ickoonite (639305) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:14AM (#13997712) Homepage
    The BBC coverage of the rioting has been unapologetically anti-authority, if not ostensibly so then with a clear leftist undertone. They don't condone the rioters' actions, but are not afraid to cite the likely causes - neglect of what have become inner-city ghettoes and discrimination against the inhabitants.* Of course, CNN would be given its marching orders if it was even seen to be being anti-white/Christian/etc. and pro-Islam.

    And I for one cannot say that I am even slightly surprised by the rioting. The white French attitude has always been shamelessly xenophobic, and finally it has come back to bite them in the arse, so to speak.

    In Britain, anyway, we've always known the French like a bit of authoritarianism. So the censoring of blogs doesn't come as much of a surprise.

    iqu :D

    (* This is not to say that the UK is not without its racial tensions. Indeed, that country is at the moment engaged in something of a debate over "multiculturalism" - whatever that is - as it tries to decide how best to respond to the bombings of 7th July. But as so many will attest, in France, there is no shame in xenophobia, and it permeates the entire system, from the layman on the street to the judiciary and the politicians. Perfick tho' it most certainly ain't, there is at least some sense that xenophobia and discrimination are wrong.)
  • by satsuke (263225) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:26AM (#13997841)
    Perhaps these bloggers should consider a change of venue. Say to one of the indymedia sites or the general purpose blog sites like LiveJournal. While LJ would likely comply with a court order, coming from a French (in this case) court would likely be delayed while it was examined etc etc.

    Being based outside the country you currently reside in has some usefullness.

    Also, it is good to see that, despite living in economically depressed areas of France, they are able to get online at all.

    As far as the (US) media coverage of the French riots, I agree, it's been almost all about the damage being done and very little about what they were angry for. I had to ask a friend who is a French national what in the would they were rioting for.

    Her response was interesting, mainstream France does not harbor any noticible racism for black Africans. They have been and continue to be integrated into mainstream french society. The flare ups have been towards more recent north african immigrants who happen to be majority arab & muslim decent.

    Like elsewhere in the would, people look for scapegoats whereever they can, in this case the more recent immegrants consume french health care and public assistance resources but are not far enough along in integrating (or refusing to integrate) to start contributing taxes and the like to make up for the difference. With unemployment being high in specific parts of France this can lead to problems etc etc.

    I can't speak to if there is really any intentional discrimination of anybody. This was all from a 40 YO mother who is more in the world of shopping for dinner at x+3 shops and driving an SUV than anything else.
  • by bloosqr (33593) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:08PM (#13998818) Homepage
    Taking a look at the comments posted and moderated highly on /. on this thread is a bit horrifying. About 80% of the comments thus far are pointing to the fact that in spite of the fact that America gets so much flack for being a general world class jack ass the american's view of race/minority relations are so much better thought out than some of our european collegues. Let me point out some of the obvious issues here. There is a consensus forming that the "immigrants" have only themselves to blame as they have insulated themselves, refused to assimilate and are just leechers of a welfare state embracing multiculturalism and more over islam is "antidemocratic".

    If you replaced "French Riots" w/ Watts Riots [usc.edu] in Chicago and "north african/immigrant communities" w/ Black people, would you be so comfortable repeating your statements? Have we after all these years come nowhere? I am not justifying what is going on there but people are burning thousands of cars and rioting that is now spreading all over europe. To not be somewhat self-reflective enough to ask how did it come to this is woefully ignorant.

    Might not the idea that the two immigrant hoodlums running from the police who accidentally killed "electrocuted" themselves, might have some what less credibility being that just a few months ago, the police stalked, chased down and gunned down a brazillian immigrant [nctimes.com] at a subway stop and initially covered it up and blamed the immigrant that allegedly was wearing a coat in summer and acting suspiciously and running away all of which turned out not to be true at all and in fact was a complete fabrication?

    How did did it come to this? Tell me why enforced secular humanism [usatoday.com] seems to be targeted primarily at the muslim community? Tell me about job prospects [bbc.co.uk]> and what the french have to do fix this problem. Tell me why the majority of people [blogharbor.com] in french jails are muslim.

    And most of all tell me why europe is insisting on creating 2nd and 3rd generation second class non citizens "gast-werkers" who will never be allowed to truly be "french", "german" or more generally european because being born european doesn't make you european. To understand this more clearly I am linking a comparison of citizenship laws [metropolis.net] for countries around the world. The american so called "myth" is the nation of immigrants, we are all american one. But the europeans (somewhat ironically w/ their neoliberalism) makes you be european by blood or by an arbitrary bureaucracy leading to 2nd and 3rd generation foreigners (witness Germany and the Turks). If what is now going on in france happened here, we would not hear an end to the "shame of the nation" (aka la riots), and I find it mortifying that we collectively do not have enough reflexitivity to go beyond the "they are not us, they are them and they hate us, they are foreign" mentality. And it is shameful.

  • by Budenny (888916) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:09PM (#13998833)
    It is very different from what you may all be used to. For most readers I think it is taken for granted that people's ethnic origin or religion is an important part of their political identity. This is not officially true in France. There are no figures on how many people of which nationality or religion there are - because the French do not think this is of any official importance. It is actually unlawful for the census to collect them. All that matters is that everyone is a citizen of the Republic. This is what de Villepin is talking about when he is quoted in Le Monde as speaking of "a model founded on the recognition of the unique individual and not communitiies". This is also what the code words "republican values" means. This is what Chirac is alluding to when he said today that we are all "children of the republic", and said that we all have the same rights, and obviously, the same duties.

    They really do mean that everyone is equal, and everyone is the same, and everyone will learn the same curriculum in every school in France at the same time of day. And there will be no special treatment for anyone in respect of membership of any group. And no mark of religious observance will be allowed in any school. This is why headscarves are banned. That's why there can be no equal opportunities programs, and no quotas based on ethnicity. There can of course be massive social programs directed at the poor and at deprived areas, and there are. It is not usually realised what an enormous proportion of the French budget goes on social spending. This is what is keeping the suburbs and their housing projects going. But no-one is being forced to live anywhere, except by individual choices of lots of people.

    And, incidentally, if you live in a colonial possession, you are French. You are represented in the legislature just as if you were a departement of geographical France, you have the same government, the same schools. You are a citizen, that's all anyone needs to know. The rest is personal

    Of course, the problem is, that neither the immigrants nor the native population actually feels this way, and the 18th century is a long time ago. Hence there is indeed widespread discrimination, widespread isolationism and separatism, radical Islam is a real factor. Participation in politics is minimal - though the French electoral system would make it quite easy for immigrant groups to elect representatives, there are almost none.

    Its a mess all right. But it is not quite the mess it looks from the US. Its a kind of unfamiliar mess, and Lord knows how you straighten it out, now.

  • by aepervius (535155) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @04:39PM (#14001387)
    First let me say you this :

    I remmember a group of more violent guys from my lower classes (12-13 years old). They were blackmailing other people, they accused everybody of being racist, they forced a young girl to have oral sex with them (and went in arrest for minor), some went in prison for drug dealing, most of the rest either dead of OD or AIDS. But the bottom line is NONE of them even tryed to study (prof are racist they give me bad notes) they were thieves (supermarket guard are racist they always ask me to empty my pocket) and were quite violent (all white are racist so we have the right to kick their asses).

    I do not even count the number of time I have been targeted because I had a skin a slight bit whiter and blue eyes. I nearly lost my left eyes after such an attack. And I was not a single case (one person I knew nearly lost her arm, another got kicked and punched until she gaves her jacket and shoes, and up to this day the way she reacted after I am really asking if this was the only things which hapenned).

    That MINORITY of guys did not ever want to be integrated or whatever. They just wanted to be violent and have their own little local "fiefdome". All the other friend I had (non white) we never even thougth about skin, for us it was normal to have various skin color, or eye color, or hair color or taste. So do not take me on "desperate" banlieu. I was there and a lot of my friend went doctor, technician, teacher, or guardsmen, one is even recently promoted police chief. But there is this freaking minority which was always those which burnt auto, grouped in bands, and mostly raised the violence level around and always placed themselves as victim. Those are the one rioting right now.

    I won't deny that some people are racist, but this is not the majority of people and certainly it NEVER justified burning car , or attacking innocent people. All those rioter wanted was an excuse to let their violence and they got it. Aynthing else would have done.

    As for the blog being closed, well there is law against incitation to violence. Voice an opinion about France official being racist is OK. Yelkl that youn want the bastard policist burn down and you get it [the censure] coming at you, no shit sherlock.

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