From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

French claim Paris riots “more cultured” than American riots / 08 November 2005

“French rioters add a little “je ne sais quoi” to their accelerant”

French authorities have hit back at international claims they are not doing enough to stem worsening violence in the Parisian suburbs, claiming that French rioting is “richer” than recent problems in the UK and US.

“Unrest after the New Orleans hurricane showed America to be deeply divided country – on the one hand the wealthiest nation on earth, but still blighted with an underclass unable to escape a cycle of poverty and desperation,” said President Jacques Chirac. “It’s a rather clichéd motif. The variety of tensions leading to cars being set on fire here is much more nuanced, and ultimately more morally profound.”

French authorities have been reluctant to send in troops to quell the protests, insisting that a military presence will only be legitimate with UN backing. Bringing the riots under control has been dismissed as “Anglo-Saxon policing” by members of the Government. “We do not want to relinquish our proud French traditions just because they cause mass civil unrest,” said Social Affairs Minister Jean-Louis Borloo. “We will not trade in racism, mass unemployment and arrogant timidity in policing for a “McCulture” of law and order.”

Leading academics have also backed the government’s stance, comparing Atlantic riots unfavourably to the Continental model. “What is the American rioter’s central modality?” asked Julia Kristeva, writing in Le Monde. “Is it not to attain those material goods he is denied by force? He is not a revolutionary, but rather a consumer with a cobble-stone in place of a credit card. Whereas the French rioter is always already valorised within the slippery confines of his own meta-textuality.”

Nevertheless, Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkovksy says he will bring the full force of the Government down on the rioters, promising to issue a number of tough cultural grants to offenders, and to cordon off affected suburbs as EU-recognized Zones of Self-Expression.

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