The AP posted a story about the new French "insurrection" yesterday, and I commented excessively about it to myself and others...

When I was living in Paris, I walked some of these "no go" zones (as the earlier AP story called them). To be honest, they're not *that* scary if you don't stick out and you know what you're doing. I really think it depends on what lens you look at these communities through. In a large way, they are a result of such assumptions by Parisians and other French citizens who help create these ghettos with their discriminatory practices.

I've always wondered (especially after seeing "No Country for Old Men") whether they are safer because the populace isn't as widely armed as we are in the U.S. (generally speaking) or if it's scarier, because if they are armed...who knows exactly how they got their weapons.

At first, I wondered why Sarkozy is still in China. But I guess Wednesday isn't too bad, as long as things don't progress. I don't think they will (fingers crossed) because I think people have had enough. Paris will not burn again, but there will definitely be some scores to settle for Sarkozy when he gets back tomorrow.

Although Sarkozy alienated a lot of people living in the suburbs with that "scum" remark a few years ago, he should also remind them that he has been one of their major supporters. Sarkozy has probably been the most high profile guy to back "la discrimination positive," or the French form of affirmative action, which relies on socioeconomic demographics in order to get around the racial discrimination issue (though in essence it achieves nearly the same result). As a result, the halls of Sciences-Po, an Ivy League-esque French university from which Chirac and other such "leaders" came...have a much greater diversity of student histories, backgrounds, and social levels these days. That has been the major testing ground for that social experiment, and now other top tier schools in the France have also picked up similar programs. In a way, Sarkozy, the supposed xenophobe, the way some people talked of him after the last riots, gave minorities, their best shots...and I doubt most of them know it. Anyway, I'm not necessarily a Sarkozy lover, I just think it's best to play it straight.

What do you think about all this? There's hardly any discussion in the States about European politics, which is a real pity...because they are going through a lot of the things we have had to go through, despite our shorter history. In a way it's interesting to look at them deal with the whole immigration, integration issue over the last few years and onward. Not to say that we're nearly over it ourselves. And that's a whole different issue.


Now about Baum's newest story, well, she it's the nail pretty much on the head. I was in Paris 2004-2005, right when I could literally feel things starting to boil over. The situation was not good. The unemployment rate is high. I remember proposing to an editor that we should do a story about young unemployed men. Just that. What they are doing. What these high numbers are doing to society, how society is becoming unbalanced by it. There were many symptoms of what came in 2005 and now...but no one was seemingly willing to deal with them.

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