“The Only Way to Communicate is by Burning”
The number of cars torched overnight — 1,295 across France — was the highest yet since the unrest began Oct 27, France-Info radio and other French media reported. Police did not immediately confirm the figure after earlier putting the number at 918.
(USA Today front page photoshopped by LGF reader David L.)
Meanwhile at the Washington Post, Molly Moore holds high the banner of multiculturalism: Rage of French Youth Is a Fight for Recognition.
While French politicians say the violence now circling and even entering the capital of France and spreading to towns across the country is the work of organized criminal gangs, the residents of Le Blanc-Mesnil know better. Many of the rioters grew up playing soccer on Rezzoug’s field. They are the children of baggage handlers at nearby Charles de Gaulle International Airport and cleaners at the local schools.
“It’s not a political revolution or a Muslim revolution,” said Rezzoug. “There’s a lot of rage. Through this burning, they’re saying, ‘I exist, I’m here.’ ”
Such a dramatic demand for recognition underscores the chasm between the fastest growing segment of France’s population and the staid political hierarchy that has been inept at responding to societal shifts. The youths rampaging through France’s poorest neighborhoods are the French-born children of African and Arab immigrants, the most neglected of the country’s citizens. A large percentage are members of the Muslim community that accounts for about 10 percent of France’s 60 million people.
One of Rezzoug’s “kids” — the countless youths who use the sports facilities he oversees — is a husky, French-born 18-year-old whose parents moved here from Ivory Coast. At 3 p.m. on Saturday, he’d just awakened and ventured back onto the streets after a night of setting cars ablaze.
“We want to change the government,” he said, a black baseball cap pulled low over large, chocolate-brown eyes and an ebony face. “There’s no way of getting their attention. The only way to communicate is by burning.”
And a bomb factory is just a cry for help.
Police also found a gasoline bomb-making factory in a rundown building in Evry, a southern Paris suburb that contained 150 explosives, more than 100 bottles, gallons of fuel and hoods for hiding rioters’ faces, Jean-Marie Huet, a senior Justice Ministry official, said Sunday.