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French Riots

Essay by   •  November 19, 2010  •  745 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,188 Views

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Everyday, in Paris, in the suburbs or in France something like this happens, running for your life or getting stopped for an Id check. The color of your skin makes a difference, very rarely a Caucasian individual dies from the police chasing them. The death of two young teenagers running away from the police should not ever happen. If the social situation of those immigrants is the cause of the riots, should they be blamed for their actions? Or are their actions are the result of the socioeconomic factor?

Since the beginning of the French riots (Ganley, 2005), the urban violence scaled new heights in France as gangs of youngsters torched thousand of cars and hundreds of shops, restaurant, firms, churches, synagogues and schools despite heavy police reinforcements and the state of emergency declared by the President Jacques Chirac on November 8, 2005 (Bremmer, 2005).

This is the consequence of 30 years of social and ethnic segregation; the difficulties of the French suburbs have their roots in the reconstruction programs that took place after World War II. During the 1950s, a housing shortage led to the creation of shacks (Al-Jadda, 2005). The country welcomed young workers from the colonies, mostly from North and West Africa, to help in the rebuilding. After the Algerian War of Independence in 1962, around 900,000 French were repatriated to France; called the "black feet" as Pieds-Noirs, and as a result this created another problem of housing.

By 1960 and 1970 many suburbs built for immigrants have become ghettos. Unemployment there runs two to three times higher than the 10 % national average, and residents, many of them are Muslims, complain of discrimination. The culture shock was not so problematic for the first immigrants: their roots were clearly in their originating country, and they were in France to work and send money to their family. But the children of immigrants are torn between the culture of their parents, and the culture they have always known, the French culture.

Inspired by the "liberty, equality, fraternity" motto of its 1789 revolution, the French republic officially rejects any consideration of race, creed or color that could undermine national unity. It asks immigrants to integrate by forgetting their roots and becoming like the French, obey the law and pay taxes.

However, the government has not improved. They all have promised solutions, presented action plans and formed commissions, but the situation has not changed. The most prominent person in the French riots chaos has been the French Interior Minister, Nicholas Sarkozy, borne from a Hungarian father and a Greek mother. N. Sarkozy referred to rioters as "scum". A call for

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