Urbin Report

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Telling the French to look in a mirror

Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post provides a dose of reality for the French to study:

"Katrina's devastation points the finger at Bush's system . . . Issues forgotten for years are back to the fore: poverty, the state's absence, latent racism."

-- Le Monde, Sept. 8, 2005



The quotation above appeared in a front-page article in France's newspaper of record. Just below was a cartoon showing the American president watching TV footage of black corpses floating in the water. "But, what country is this?" the caption had him saying to his generals: "Is it far away? We absolutely have to do something!"

...

But the insoluble violence in urban France should inspire more than just schadenfreude in this country. Although there isn't yet evidence that this bout of rioting is Islamist in origin, it's pretty clear that large, unintegrated, ungovernable and unemployed Islamic communities in Western Europe will continue to incubate radical Islam. Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker of Sept. 11, is a Frenchman of Moroccan dissent. The Madrid bombings and the London bombings were also proof that the war on terrorism was never as much about rogue nations in the Middle East as it was about the domestic polices of our closest allies.

It is in our own interest, then, to be magnanimous and to come up with ways to assist the French. We could, for example, help them to shatter the myth that they live in an enlightened society, insulated from racial tension, by mass-mailing them copies of Le Monde with the word "America" crossed out in all editorials and the word "France" substituted instead.


HT to Ace