Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Paris Burning

There seems to be two schools of thought on the internet about what is driving the rioting in France. On one side we have the argument that it is Islamism driving the violence. The other school of thought is the rioting is due to frustration caused by the lack of economic opportunity, the institutional racism of the native French, and unwillingness of many of the North African, mainly Muslim immigrants to assimilate properly as French citizens.

Personally, I see no reason why both theories can't be true. They can be symbiotic, each feeding off the other. Lack of opportunity and social mobility breed frustration, and Islamists present themselves as a way out. At the same time, the Islamists claim the anger is justified and proper. White (for lack of a better term) Frenchmen see the agitation and become even more suspicious of the recent arrivals from Africa and the Middle East., thus reducing the available opportunities for immigrants to make a better life for themselves. Each reinforces the other.

How to deal with it? I don't know. It does seem the first step would be to restore order. After that, some means needs to be found by which the first and second generation of immigrants in the ghettos can find a way out of their predicament. That of course is the really hard part.

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