Be sure to read the always prescient and often funny Mark Steyn's very un-funny piece in the Chicago Sun Times today about the opening of the "Eurabian" civil war in France. Among other things, Mr. Steyn points out what a joke it is that the mainstream press keeps calling the rioting scum "French youths." Yeah, right. As Mr. Steyn tells us, the rioters may be technically citizens of the French Republic, but the cars aren't being torched by "Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse" out for a night's burning and looting before heading to church.
The French identity has always been one size fits all, something about the French political worldview that I have always deeply admired. The French have absolutely refused to promote "multiculturalism" in the American sense. Instead, the French have always believed in "republican integration" -- when Abdul or Mohammad or whoever go to school in France, they do not receive the happy talk or education in "diversity" that passes for historical education in the United States today. They learn about the Gauls, Joan of Arc, Napoleon and deGaulle. In the eyes of the law, there are no distinctions between Abdul and Pierre.
But the French have let themselves down. Another component of the French approach to the world, since the suppression of the Commune in 1871, has always been "republican legality," which, among other things, includes a complete refusal to counternance violent troublemakers of any kind, for any reason. However, this has been slipping of late. As Mr. Steyn points out: "For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle." Boy and how ! Mr. Steyn describes these rioters firing on the Gendarmerie, burning down buildings and disrupting commuter trains. We've seen the photographs of torched cars all over our newspapers. Meanwhile, President Chirac, presumably from a padded cell, calls for a "spirit of dialogue and respect."
What could be more illuminating ? Scumbag rioters are shooting at your police and you're calling for "dialogue and respect ?" The reason police are being fired at and buildings burned is because the French have refused to respond to Mr. Steyn's "low level intifada." No wonder the rioters have complete contempt for the government. If I were Chirac, the only calling I'd be doing would be to the police and army barracks to order the issuance of live ammunition. We could talk about "dialogue and respect" when the rioters were dead or jailed.
"Weakness and forbearance" when confronted with violence, yet again. (See last post). The French might as well just skip "multiculturalism" and go straight to state subsidized mosques, the shariah and compulsory veils for women. "Republican integration" will not work without "republican legality" -- without strict law and order. The French are now in a battle, and not in a situation calling for "dialogue and respect." Are they going to fight, or not ?
ADDENDUM: (Sunday p.m.). The present state of affairs in France, in general, makes me want to weep. I've been a Francophile all my life. This is la grande nation ? DeGaulle, Napoleon I, Napoleon III, Louis XIV, Gambetta, Clemenceau, St. Joan, Joffre, Foch, Petain (the WWI version) -- all spinning in their graves. To think the response to the present crisis is by the Gaullist party -- what passes for a right wing in mainstream French politics. Are they not still the men of Austerlitz ? The French were the people who survived Verdun and won the First World War ?