Monday, November 07, 2005

Happenings in France

Rioting has been going on in France for almost 2 weeks now. Why? Originally set off by the deatsh of two boys - they thought the police were pursuing them so they hid, mistaking a transformer station as a safe refuge - the riots have expanded each night. Some have suggested it is the beginning of a European (or "Eurabian") intifada. Clive Davis has a different take on it. He suggests that the biggest problem is the lack of integration of immigrants for the past 40 years. What we see now is their hopelessness boiling over.

At the end of his post Davis translates from a Le Figaro interview:

Ces émeutiers ne se projettent dans aucune revendication sociale ou politique. "A notre niveau, c'est la merde», lâche Morad, qui avoue toutefois rêver "d'un petit pavillon, d'une femme et d'enfants... au bled".

[Loose trans: "These rioters put forward no social or political demands. "Down where we are, life is horrible," says Morad, who nevertheless admits he dreams of "a little house, a wife and kids... in a village."]
Once upon a time France was counted as a Christian nation. Surely part of the long term solution in France will be for Christians to take the hope found in Jesus to these folks with no hope. As for an immediate solution, I'm too far away and too ignorant to have any advice for anyone.

But I do wonder how these things might be prevented in America. I think we do a better job of assimilating imigrants - though sometimes we do so kicking and screaming, and sometimes, especially of late, we've proclaimed that assimilation is a bad thing. But there's more.

If you want your eyes opened, read Jerome Weeks' piece in today's Dallas Morning News. He writes about "Sundown Towns," towns that through explicit or implicit action have sought to keep blacks from settling. The stereotype might be that this is a southern problem, but from the research of James W. Loewen, the problem (sin? evil?) is greater in the North and Midwest. Texas has its Sundown Towns - Weeks mentions Vidor (everyone knows Vidor's reputation) and Highland Park (a rich town in Dallas - and the rich profess to be more enlightened!).

Once upon a time peopel called America a Christian nation. Evidently we have even more work to do than we thought.




1 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

This might sound a bit too cheesy, but we've got more of a nation-of-immigrants vibe than France does. While we'll have our modern Know-Nothings, we're less xenophobic than the French are.

No, not everyone knows about Vidor, especially if they're not from Texas. I didn't until we drove past it on our way to Houston a few years ago; my metro-Houston-raised wife mentioned that it was Klan Central.

10:11 AM  

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