Little Green Footballs

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Das Intifada?

Discussions surrounding the nationwide arson spree that has transformed thousands of Peugeots and Renaults into charred corpses -- shall we call it an "intifauto"? -- have, like the fires themselves, generated more heat than light.

As ever, it's useful to turn to Wikipedia for a more -- dare I say it? -- nuanced analysis. Specifically, the French page. There's an English one as well, but if its talk page is any indication, it's become little more than a place to air the usual anti-Muslim hysteria. Earlier this morning, someone actually had the audacity to list National Vanguard as a "news" source (but now the link is gone).

But back to the French page. It provides far more context, by listing incidents of banlieue unrest going all the way back to 1979. This is not a new problem. It also seeks to contrast the situation in France with that other European countries -- never mind what Mark Steyn says, this is not the beginning of the "Eurabian Civil War" that he and his fellow-travelers have been awaiting with such drooling eagerness:

Some have not hesitated to refer to the French housing estates as "urban ethnic ghettoes." These estates, a product of aggressive urban-renewal programs during the 1950s and 1960s, are, unlike in France, rare or non-existent in Germany, in the Benelux countries, and in Switzerland, for example, even though those countries also have large immigrant populations. In fact, this umpteenth "French cultural exception" can be explained by the fact that at the time, France was heavily influenced by Soviet housing policy and socialist-realist architecture.

So, blame Le Corbusier then. At least that makes some bit of sense, as opposed to blaming, say, Iran.

(Digression: I can't wait to see what Jim Kunstler has to say about all this -- he who loathes Modernism and automobiles in approximately equal measure.)

Of course, it's possible that I'm dead wrong, and that bands of unemployed drug-dealing Wrong-Thinking Brown People in Rotterdam and Frankfurt are even now frantically SMS-ing one another with plans to cull their respective host countries' automobile fleets. But just as it's a moronic mistake to lump all Muslims together as one monolithic entity -- and what about all the French Muslims who aren't rioting, and whose cars are the ones being burned? -- it's equally stupid to view "Europe" as a big homogeneous blob. Ask any European.

That said, I won't be a bit surprised to see similar violence erupting in Antwerp, because Antwerp -- despite what the "Wikip├ędia" author above says -- does have oceans of big, segregated tower blocks full of unassimilated immigrants. And, like France, Flanders has a large, influential, anti-immigrant, neo-Fascist political party that is keen to exploit urban unrest. So, there's my fearless prediction: the violence will spread to Flanders, but not to Germany or the Netherlands. And as in France, it'll last as long as the current dry spell, for nothing is as likely to douse the enthusiasm of car-burners as a good, long, soaking November rainstorm.

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