Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rage of French Youth Is a Fight for Recognition

This article argues that Rage of French Youth Is a Fight for Recognition - it's a protest against having no future, rather than being a religious statement.
Abdel, echoing the anger of many of the youths, said he resented the French government's efforts to thrust Muslim leaders into the role of mediators between the police and the violent demonstrators.

"This has nothing to do with religion," he said. "But non-Muslims are afraid of people like me with a beard. I look suspicious to them. Discrimination is all around us. We live it every day. It's become a habit. It's in the air."

He continued: "I grew up in France, yet I speak of God and religion. I have a double culture. I belong to both. We should stop the labeling."

Rezzoug, the caretaker, said he has seen local youths struggle with deep personal conflicts caused by their dual cultures. "They go to the mosque and pray," he said. "But this is France, so they also drink and party."

Some French opinions: (as reported by the Washington Post's blog:

"A country which prides itself as the fatherland of the humans right and the sanctuary of a generous social model shows, in the eyes of all, that it is incapable of ensuring dignified living conditions for young French people," said the editors of Le Monde (in French).

"Nothing has deterred the gangs from running rampage. Not calls for calm, not marches for peace. Not even thousands of extra police," says the English-language Euronews

The explosion of violence has split both the public and the political classes.

The comment of hardline Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy that the rioters were "scum" prompted to Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande to tell Liberation, a left-wing daily, that [he] had "zero tolerance" for Sarkozy and his "simplistic polemics."

Looking at the photographs available on the Washington Post website, it is amazing to me that no one has yet been killed in the rioting.

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