Little Green Footballs

Friday, November 18, 2005


We briefly interrupt this wall-to-wall OSM™ coverage to bring you some shocking news from France:

On Tuesday, a 20-year-old man was sentenced to 4 years in prison for throwing an incendiary device at a furniture store in the northern town of Arras. The fire spread to a neighboring carpet warehouse, destroying both.

And here's the shocking part:

The arsonist's name is Jérémy Vangendt. I saw him on TV5 news. He's white.

The reason he gave for his riotous behavior: "pour faire comme les autres." In other words, it was good old-fashioned peer pressure.

As Jason Burke observed last Sunday:

I covered the intifada in Israel and Palestine and, beyond the fact that thrown stones look much the same wherever they are, saw little that resembled the Gaza Strip in the autumn of 2000 in Clichy-sous-Bois in the autumn of 2005. In the course of her article, Phillips spoke of how 'night after night, France [had] been under attack by its Muslim minority', how the country was being 'torched from Normandy to the Mediterranean', how it had 'sniffed the danger that had arisen in its midst' and quoted a little-known writer called Bat Ye'Or who is a favourite of the more unsavoury right-wing American websites and believes that the European Union is a conspiracy dedicated to creating one Muslim-dominated political entity that will comprise most of the Middle East and Europe.

Phillips also conflated Arabs (a race), and Muslims (a global religion of 1.3 billion, some devout, some not). This is dangerous nonsense, but needs to be studied.

First, the facts. According to the French intelligence services, the areas where radical Islamic ideologies have spread furthest in France have actually proved the calmest over recent weeks. Second, characterising the rioters as 'Muslim' at all is ludicrous. Most were as Westernised as you would expect third-generation immigrants to be and far more interested in soft drugs and rap than getting up for dawn prayers.

Indeed, a high proportion was of sub-Saharan African descent and not Muslim at all. Others were white and so, following Phillips's description of the darker skinned rioters as 'Arab Muslims', should presumably be referred to as 'Caucasian Christians'.

What proof do we have that Vangendt is in fact Christian? None. But if the Phillipses and Johnsonses of this world can blithely characterize the recent disturbances in France as "Muslim rioting" or an "intifada" (and one has to wonder how the Israeli victims of the Palestinian intifada feel about having their suffering trivialized in such a way), then we have no qualms about deploying similar epithets against young Jérémy, who is obviously an idiot -- or, as Nicolas Sarkozy would put it, "scum." White Christian scum.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled OSM™Watch-related program activities.

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