Friday, December 08, 2006


Nibbling Crow

UPDATE: I searched the sites of a few American papers to see whether I was right that they would not report on the French police investigation. While I was at it, I had a look at the excerpts of last year's reports to see whether they were as spun as I thought I remembered. I was wrong, at least partly. The LA Times missed this story, but the NY Times ran it. Many of the reports run last year were non-judgemental and mentioned the deaths of the teen-agers; my memories were apparently colored by one particularly obnoxious article by John Vinocur. I didn't realize that he is the archtype of the leftist slant in the media (not!)--about as enlightened as Michelle Malkin, another "revolutionary blogger"-- or I wouldn't have paid attention to his tripe. Researching his writing on the web to get a view of this author was not good for my hypertension; his "reports" and "analyses", not op/eds, sport fact-based non-judgemental titles such as:

If Bush has been right, then who's been wrong?
, written in March 2005, speculates on the flavor of the crow Chirac, Schrôder and Zapatero will eat because "if George Bush is proven right on Iraq, and more than a bit responsible for the Arab Spring of shaky political advances now shimmering from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, then it's a frightening development and delegitimizing situation for European politicians from Spain to Germany." If. Now that Rumsfeld has "left", shouldn't Vinocur "leave"?

Back to the French police.

The New York Times ran "French Police Faulted in Youths' Deaths", a pretty good AP story on the Clichy-sous-Bois investigation. They translated "legèreté et distraction surprenante"
The report found the officers were ''surprisingly distracted'' and had acted with a ''lack of thought,'' Mignard said.
which I think is pretty good.

They also provided a more balanced recap of last year's events:
The nationwide riots in fall 2005 raged through housing projects in troubled neighborhoods with large minority populations. Although they stemmed from the teens' deaths, they were fueled by problems including discrimination and unemployment.

Last Year's Articles

The articles returned by the New York Times to a query for "Clichy-sous-Bois" are listed in the following exhibit. In the first two reports, AFP and Reuters clearly and soberly note the deaths and the suspicion of a police role. Then the NYT writers take over: police are injured, there is a need to increase security in these neighborhoods. And a tear gas grenade had been fired toward a mosque and was being investigated; as if there were serious uncertainty as to who fired it. Next, the angry immigrants (angry why? "frustrations"=France's economic weakness) enlarge the riots. The electrocuted kids are forgotten, as is the tear gas fired at a mosque. Then, at last, Vinocur enlightens us.

October 30, 2005March Over Deaths in Paris

Some 500 people marched, angrily but peacefully on Saturday, in memory of two teenagers whose deaths set off rioting in a Paris suburb.

October 31, 200522 Held for Riots in France

PARIS, Oct. 30 (Reuters) - The French police have taken 22 young people into custody for questioning after three nights of riots in a northeastern suburb of Paris, officials said Sunday.

Overnight, groups of young people threw bottles and rocks and set fire to more than a dozen cars. Nobody was hurt but the police detained nine people. Thirteen people were taken into custody on Friday night, the police and local officials said.

The violence began three days ago in Clichy-sous-Bois, which has a large immigrant population, over the deaths of two teenagers, believed to be of African origin, who were electrocuted. They were said to have been fleeing the police, though a local prosecutor said they were not actually being pursued.

November 1, 2005
France: More Violence In Paris Suburb

Clashes between the police and gangs of youths continued for a fourth straight night in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. Six police officers were injured. The interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, pledged to increase security in the district, a poor area with a large immigrant population. He also confirmed reports that a tear gas grenade had been fired toward a local mosque and said an investigation was under way. John Tagliabue (NYT)
November 3, 2005Chirac Appeals for Calm as Violent Protests Shake Paris's Suburbs

ABSTRACT - Pres Jacques Chirac appeals for calm after six nights of violence in Paris's immigrant-heavy northern suburbs threaten to spiral into political crisis; violence began as protest over deaths of two North African youths while allegedly running from police; as car-burning and other violence spreads to neighboring suburbs, government expresses concern that incident could ignite broader unrest among frustrated first- and second-generation North African immigrants, who are bearing brunt of France's economic weakness
November 5, 2005Angry Immigrants Embroil France in Wider Riots
France's worst urban violence in a decade exploded for a ninth night on Friday as bands of youths roamed the immigrant-heavy, working-class suburbs of Paris, setting fire to dozens of cars and buildings while the government struggled over the violence and the underlying frustrations fueling it. The unrest, which ...
November 11, 2005Frenchness: Riots Show One Size Doesn't Fit All
On one hand, there is French hubris, and its gratuitously insulting embrace of France's immigrants as partners in the country's threadbare formulas of grandeur, equality and universality.
November 12, 2005Police Brace for Violence in Paris, Citing Web Messages
ABSTRACT - France celebrated Armistice Day on Friday with a parade, but also deployed 3,000 police officers in Paris to watch for trouble on the third weekend since the country's recent unrest began. The Paris police banned all public gatherings likely to provoke a disturbance in the capital from 10 a.m. ...

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