These days, I’m half expecting to see helicopters rescuing French businessmen with little pencil moustaches wearing berets from the tops of their burning cheese shops. Followed up by a French wine dealer appearing on a telethon fundraiser and chastising Chirac for his handling of the crisis as Gerard Depardieu stands next to him in bewilderment. Because, well… even though that would be surreal as hell, it’d be about as close to the truth as I can imagine right now.
Why? Because the French — borrowing the crisis management playbook from FEMA — have finally acknowledged that the shit has hit the fan. A mere 12 days into the riots engulfing France, president— mandatory curfews, checkpoints and… oh yeah, a ban on setting cars and buildings on fire:
The violence erupted on Oct. 27 as a localized riot in a northeast Paris suburb angry over the accidental deaths of two teenagers, of Mauritanian and Tunisian descent, who were electrocuted while hiding from police in a power substation.
It has grown into a nationwide insurrection by disillusioned suburban youths, many French-born children of immigrants from France’s former territories like Algeria. France’s suburbs have long been neglected and their youth complain of a lack of jobs and widespread discrimination, some of it racial.
Ironically, those same muslim youth who are complaining about the lack of jobs and education have the bright idea that the way to alleviate their plight is to uh…. Genius.
Right on schedule, when government fails to provide security, private citizens fill the void.
For now, I’m simply watching from the sidelines on this one and hoping France can get its shit together before the entire country burns down. And I’m betting no one is going to bother learning any lessons here in the U.S. about integrating immigrants and “guest workers” into the melting pot instead of turning a blind eye to their existence.