Trouble in \'Paris\'dise

Riots consumed the downtrodden suburbs of Paris for the sixth consecutive night (coverage here, here, and here), borne out of two youths (or is it "yutes"?) who electrocuted themselves on an electric fence while allegedly fleeing police.

An area populated with unassimilated North African immigrants, it is a general haven of public housing and – from reading the various reports – strife with unemployment. Obvious questions of how high France's minimum wage currently is, how suffocating business regulations are stifling growth, and what the motivation level is among poor French depending so heavily on the state easily come into the picture.

But I was immediately reminded of a column I came across three years ago that describes the fragmentation of the French cités that surround one of the top tourist destinations on the planet. It's a long one, but a good read.

Check out more on the effects of multiculturalism in an April '05 contribution from Samizdata.

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France in Flames We may be

France in Flames
We may be witnessing the explosion of a long-simmering problem in the Paris suburbs. There is going to be a temptation to look at this story through American glasses, characterizing it uniquely as a Muslim problem, but the reality is...

European Islam - The Hate

European Islam - The Hate From Within
In recent years it has become almost a political career ender to say anything bad about Islam, especially in Europe (being so much closer to the Middle East and all). But I do wonder why, I mean after all, the Europeans aren’t usually so restrai...

The banlieus of Paris are

The banlieus of Paris are certainly not a place to be lost wandering at night. France, for as beautiful a country as it is, is certainly one of the most ethincally and racially divided countries I've ever visited. It's not an overt racism, per se, but more of a shrouded bigotry. They more than make up for it though, with an extreme nationalist political party bent on closing the doors to immigrants, expelling foreigners, etc.

That nationalistic xenophobia certainly carries over, and compounds with the stifling employment laws you mention. I had the opportuntiy to study there for a summer- and although the law mandates a 35 hour workweek, my host was a store manager of a women's fashion boutique in the south of france. She probably worked 55 hours a week. She said that "aside from cycling and soccer, cheating on one's taxes is like another national sport." I imagine this is due to the mountains of social programs that the french taxpayers are forced to support. For example, you can get a job as a street sweeper. 20 years, and you're out. Retired, pension, healthcare, etc. And everyone who decided to make something of their lives other than pick up the dog scheisse on the sidewalks, is forced to support you for the next 37 years of your life expectancy. With jobs as scarce as they are, do you really think they want to give them to minorities?

i think i went off on a tangent...

"Kids" Just Wanna Burn

"Kids" Just Wanna Burn Cars
We may be witnessing the explosion of a long-simmering problem in the Paris suburbs. There is going to be a temptation to look at this story through American glasses, characterizing it uniquely as a Muslim problem, but the reality is that while there i...

Anyone else object to the

Anyone else object to the description of the areas as 'downtrodden'? It would seem to me that a significant part of their plight is a result of their own doing.

One of the most gripping

One of the most gripping films I've ever seen was La Haine (The Hate). It's a black-and-white French indie film done entirely with amateur actors. The story is about three youths from the vicious suburbs. I won't say any more except that this story laid to rest any notions I had that France had America beat in "race relations" or "social justice".

- Josh

Riots in France

Riots in France Continue
Wretchard at Belmont Club writes about the continuing riots in France. In a follow up post keying off of the Francis Fukuyama article in OpinionJournal (and discussed in an earlier entry here), Wretchard suggests that this event may be more

Part of France's problem is

Part of France's problem is precisely an ideology that the state cannot recognize internal minorities enough to act to alleviate alienation. As I understand it, you can't really have affirmative action in France, for instance. It's also extremely difficult for those Magrebians in France to advance themselves in French society because they lack the right names, etc.

They could keep the 35 hour

They could keep the 35 hour week (not that I recommend it mind you) if they made employment markets their otherwise more flexible, and didn't acquire so much damn education. It takes eight years to become a CPA in France. Eight years. Now imagine the barriers to entry. Imagine how the low number of accountants per capita caused by this policy damages the ability of small companies to get started up. Or take the example of waiters in France - they are required to undertake what, a years worth of classes before they certified? Now, in some restaurants such training is likely necessary, but that should be left to the market and not the state. The ability to fire employees is also very limited, which means that companies are less likely to hire.

La Haine, by Mathieu

La Haine, by Mathieu Kassovitz, starring Vincent Cassel, is certainly one of the best movies that nobody has ever seen. I'd agree with wild pegasus. Good luck finding it in the US - you might be able to find a dubbed VHS at blockbuster, it came out in 1995. The DVD is not released in the US or Canada, as far as I can tell, I've got the DVD from France, which will not play in a US dvd player. Fortunate enough to have "pirated" a copy from a filesharing source...

if you can find it, watch it, great movie. another tangent, though, i see.