O Tempora, O Mores! (December, 2005)

American Renaissance, December 2005

France Boils Over

As this issue went to press, Muslim violence in France that began on Oct. 27 had entered its second week, though was showing some signs of abating. French President Jacques Chirac had just declared a state of emergency that would authorize curfews, but had not called up the army to enforce them. Rioters had burned more than 5,000 cars and dozens of buildings — including schools, churches, businesses, police stations and even day care centers — and had injured scores of policemen and firemen. Violence had spread more widely than at any time in French history, to nearly 300 cities and towns, and had brought destruction at levels not seen since the Second World War. There were reports of copycat attacks in Belgium and Germany. Authorities had arrested more than 1,000 suspects (invariably referred to in the media as “disaffected youth”), but had so far refrained from lethal force. [Jamey Keaten, French President Declares State of Emergency, AP, Nov. 8 2005.]

On Nov. 7, the rioters claimed their first life, when a gang of Muslims beat to death a 61-year-old Frenchman, Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec. He had already been badly beaten three days earlier. The uprising gives the lie to France’s claim that non-white minorities — mainly North African Muslims and sub-Saharan blacks — have shed their home cultures and assimilated into French society. [French Riots Hit 274 Towns, Spread Abroad, MSNBC.com, Nov. 7, 2005. French Riots Claim First Fatality, CNN.com, Nov. 7, 2005.]

The violence began in the low-income Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois on the night of Thursday, Oct. 27. Two young Arabs, 15-year-old Bouna Traore and 17-year-old Zyed Benna, one Mauritanian and the other Tunisian, were electrocuted at a power sub-station where they tried to hide from police, who they mistakenly thought were chasing them. Rumors quickly spread that police ran the boys into the sub-station and left them to die. Violence broke out that night, with young immigrants torching cars and local businesses. By the weekend, rioting had spread to another immigrant suburb, Aulnay-sous-Bois.

Within three more days the riots had spread to 20 towns around Paris. Rioters fired on police and firemen — unusual in France, where there are few private firearms — and burned at least 315 cars. They also set fire to a Renault automobile dealership, a supermarket, and a gymnasium. Authorities had to stop traffic on a commuter rail line linking Paris to Charles DeGaulle Airport after rioters attacked trains, breaking windows with rocks, and kicking a conductor off his train. In the northern Parisian suburb of Sevran a gang threw Molotov cocktails at a city bus, badly burning a handicapped woman. Rioters severely injured a 13-month-old child when they stoned a bus. [Henry Samuel, Deaths Spark Riots in Paris Suburbs, Telegraph (London), Nov. 1, 2005. Fresh Violence Hits Paris Suburbs, BBC News, Nov. 3, 2005. Jamey Keaten, Violence Intensifies in Suburbs of Paris, AP, Nov. 3, 2005. Woman Attacked as Riots Continue in Paris, AFP, Nov. 4, 2005. Timeline: French Riots, BBC News, Nov. 7, 2005.]

By Nov. 3, as the rioting entered its second week, the violence had spread to 90 communities around Paris, and to Dijon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse and Strasbourg. On Nov. 5, rioters reached the center of Paris itself, where they burned 35 cars. The next day, hundreds of rioters clashed with police in the city of Grigny, south of Paris, and for the first time, wounded policemen with gunfire. Ten officers were hit by birdshot and two were injured seriously. Muslims in Clichy-sous-Bois, where the rioting began, were pleased at the news. “This is just the beginning,” said Moussa Diallo, an unemployed 22-year-old French-African, who predicted policemen would die before the rioting ended. [Craig S. Smith, 10 Officers Shot as Riots Worsen in French Cities, New York Times, Nov. 7, 2005.]

By early November, the level of destruction had grown significantly, as rioters moved from burning cars to torching buildings. They were making improvised anti-personnel devices by stuffing gasoline bombs with nails or steel balls. On Nov. 6, police discovered a firebomb factory in suburban Paris with 150 explosives under construction, and 50 ready to use. They arrested six bomb makers, all of them minors.

“Most of these kids are being coached by professional petty criminals and gang leaders in the suburbs,” said Jean-Christophe Carne, president of police union Action Police CFTC. “In the past, when we have cracked down on these criminals in their homes, we found drugs, grenades and heavy weapons such as guns. While they haven’t started using these arms yet, there’s also no reason to think they wouldn’t.” Before the state of emergency was declared, Mr. Carne said police were pessimistic that the violence would stop any time soon. His organization was already calling for strict night-time curfews and army troops to help stop what he said was turning into “civil war.” Australia, Austria, Britain, Germany, Hungary, Russia and the United States advised tourists to be careful in France, and warned them away from violence-hit areas. [Jennifer Joan Lee, Paris Police Fear Rioters’ Heavy Arms, Washington Times, Nov. 7, 2005. Angela Doland, Rioting Spreads to 300 Towns in France, AP, Nov. 7, 2005. French Violence Hits Fresh Peak, BBC News, Nov. 7, 2005.]

The level of destruction can be judged by what the French considered to be signs of improvement. On the night of Nov. 7 to 8, vandals burned only 1,173 cars, down from 1,408 the night before. Arrests were also down from 395 to 330. The curfews, to be imposed under a 1955 law that dates back to the Algerian war, seemed likely to curb the mayhem.

The government was initially bewildered by the uprising, split between the hardline approach of Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who called the rioters “scum,” and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who prefers diplomacy. Mr. de Villepin wants to approach so-called community leaders and listen to the young rioters’ grievances. Their defenders, of whom there are many, say young Arabs and blacks are victims of racism and economic oppression. Mr. Villepin agrees. In an address to a special session of the National Assembly called on Nov. 8, he explained that racial discrimination is a “daily and repeated infringement of our national ideals,” and that “the struggle against all discriminations must become a priority for our national community.” [French PM Acknowledges Racial Divide, AP, Nov. 8, 2005.]

Jacques Chirac appears to be of two minds. After a meeting with his national security council on Nov. 6, he said his “absolute priority is to reestablish security and public order. . . . Those people [the rioters] will be apprehended, judged and punished.” At the same time, he talked about addressing the root causes of Muslim disaffection, which he says includes an unemployment rate as high as 50 percent in some neighborhoods.

It may be too late for either approach to have much success. France has been ignoring warning signs about its resentful and growing black and Muslim underclass for years, but has not clamped down on immigration. Perhaps this crisis will finally awaken France to the dangers of multiracialism. At least one French paper, the conservative Le Figaro, has figured out what went wrong: a “policy of immigration without control.” It wrote that the “urgent necessity is to control the influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal” for fear that “in 15 years, it will be the children of those arriving today who will set fire to the suburbs.” Philippe de Villers, a right-wing member of France’s National Assembly who wants to “stop the Islamization of France,” says the riots stem from the “failure of a policy of massive and uncontrolled immigration.” [French Press Searches for Solutions, BBC News, Nov. 4, 2005. Jamey Keaten, Violence Intensifies in Suburbs of Paris, AP, Nov. 3, 2005.]

During the first week of riots, Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front refrained from commentary, pointing out that the facts spoke for themselves far more eloquently than he could. On November 9, however, he gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he described the riots as “just the start” of tensions caused by “massive immigration from countries of the Third World that is threatening not just France but the whole continent.”

He urged that rioters be stripped of citizenship and deported to Africa: “Those who got nationality automatically, who don’t consider themselves French and who even say publicly that they consider France their enemy should not be treated as French.” He added the National Front was “submerged” with applications for membership, and that if he were to run again for the presidency “my chances would be increased tenfold.” [John Leicester, Far-Right Leader: Riots Only the Start, AP, Nov. 9, 2005.]

Denmark Getting Close

France is not alone. Young Muslims rioted for three nights in the Danish city of Aarhus in late October, throwing stones and setting fire to restaurants, stores and other businesses. Firemen had to be escorted into the area by police. Although 30 to 40 people took part in the violence each night, police arrested only two, including a 16-year-old Somali immigrant.

During the day, rioters returned to the area to celebrate victory — some openly eating food they looted from restaurants the night before. “Spokesmen” for the rioters made what one Danish newspaper called a “clear declaration of war.” “This land belongs to us,” they said. “The police have to stay away. This is our area. We rule here.”

Many of the Muslim rioters say they were offended by a newspaper printing cartoons they say were disrespectful towards Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, and that they had planned the riots in advance. “We have planned this for three weeks,” says a spokesman. “That is why only two were arrested Saturday night. The police will cordon off it all. But we know the ways out.” [Erik Thomle, Unge indvandrere amok i Århus-byde (Young Immigrants Run Amok in Aarhus), Jyllands-Posten (Viby, Denmark), October 31, 2005.]

Wages of Altruism

Betty Blair, a well-respected and kindly 77-year-old white widow, was an active member of St. Pius V Catholic Church in Pasadena, Texas. When the church’s Social Services Ministry decided to help Katrina refugees, she let three Louisiana women stay in her home for a month. After they left, Mrs. Blair decided to help more refugees. She started paying Jimmy Hoang Le and Stephanie Jacobo, both 18, and 43-year-old Roosevelt Smith for odd jobs on her upscale property. Her neighbors did not like the look of the men, and one planned to speak to Mrs. Blair about them, but never got the chance. On Oct. 28, they robbed and strangled Mrs. Blair, and stole her car. Police arrested them later that night and they were charged with capital murder the next day. [Anne Marie Kilday and Monica Guzman, 3 Hurricane Evacuees Accused of Killing Woman Who Helped Them, Houston Chronicle, Oct. 30, 2005.]

The Sneaky Senate

The Senate has voted to increase immigration by an estimated 350,000 a year, as part of the Deficit Reduction Omnibus Bill Reconciliation Act. The bill passed the Senate on November 3 by a margin of 52 to 47, and raises the cap on H-1B visas, which are given to highly skilled workers, from 65,000 to 95,000. Also, it permits all immigrant workers (including H-1Bs) who come in under the current quota of 140,000 to bring their spouses and children, whereas dependents now count against the quota. Finally, the bill means employment visas not used in the year granted will not expire but remain usable for several years. The Senate did raise the fee employers have to pay for H-1B visas from $1,685 to $2,185.

Senator Robert Byrd led what meager opposition there was to this massive immigration increase. He proposed an amendment that would eliminate the increase but raise fees for existing visas. “These are massive and destabilizing immigration increases,” he said, “and they are hitching a free ride on this reconciliation bill.” Sen. Byrd also expressed amazement that such a momentous change in America’s immigration policy would receive only 20 minutes’ debate. The AFL-CIO and the immigration enforcement groups NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform supported Mr. Byrd’s amendment but the Senate voted it down by a crushing 85 to 14. Only three Republicans voted for it. [Senate Votes Against Byrd Amendment, Numbers USA, Nov. 3, 2005.]

The Senate bill will now have to be reconciled with the House version, which does not contain immigration increases but raises revenue by increasing fees for existing visas, just as the Byrd amendment did. The House, which is much less favorable to mass immigration than the Senate, seems to be ready for a fight. “This is not the time or place for controversial immigration provisions,” says Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas. [Stephen Dinan, Budget Bill Would Boost Green Cards, Washington Times, Oct. 31, 2005. Kenyonna Summers, Immigration Bill Gets Support, Washington Times, Nov. 4, 2005.]

In the United States, there were hardly any stories about this proposed major change in immigration policy. A Google search on the three days after the vote found only three stories in US papers about the immigration provisions. In India, which would be a major beneficiary of the new visas, there were 19 stories in the same period.

The Programmers Guild, an organization of computer programmers, says employers are using the visas to lower costs, rather than remedy a labor shortage. The average wage of a programmer in the US is $67,700, but the average wage of a H1-B visa-holder is $52,000. The report concludes that “abuse [of visas] is far more common than legitimate use.” There are now 450,000 H1-B holders working as programmers. One hundred thousand American programmers are out of work. [Ephraim Schwartz, The H1-B Swindle, Info World, Oct. 25, 2005. High-Tech Worker Visas, NumbersUSA.]

Kiwi Quandaries

Winston Peters, a white-Maori hybrid who is head of the anti-immigration New Zealand First Party, has been appointed minister for foreign affairs. Mr. Peters raised a ruckus in 2004 when he warned that New Zealand could become an Asian colony, and this year he claimed Muslim extremists were entering the country. The New Zealand First Party received only 5.8 percent of the vote and seven seats in parliament but Mr. Peters got the job because the ruling Labour Party had to put together an awkward coalition of small parties in order to keep power. [Peters is New Zealand’s New Foreign Minister, Australian Associated Press, Oct. 17, 2005.]

Meanwhile, the conservative National Party of New Zealand, the main opposition party, has appointed Wayne Mapp, who holds a PhD in international law, to the new position of “Political Correctness Eradicator” in its shadow cabinet. According to Dr. Mapp, “A person, an institution or a government is politically correct when they [sic] cease to represent the interests of the majority and become focused on the cares and concerns of minority sector groups.” Dr. Mapp has helped defeat a bill to outlaw discrimination against homosexuals and the “transgendered,” and wants to overturn the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. [Mapp’s Plans for Life-Saving Legislation ‘Bizarre’ Says Smokefree Coalition, Smokefree Coalition New Zealand, Oct. 31, 2005. PPTA Targeted by Nats’ PC Eradicator, New Zealand Press Association, Oct. 31, 2005.]

Dr. Mapp also dislikes the “coercive powers” of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, and says its positions are “divorced from the mainstream.” He thinks the Waitangi Tribunal, a body that hears Maori land claims, practices racial advocacy and is trying to rewrite New Zealand’s history. Acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen, who belongs to the Labour Party, says a position with the name of Political Correctness Eradicator is “chillingly fascist sounding.” [Nats’ PC Eradication Triggers Debate, New Zealand Press Association, Oct. 27, 2005.]

Despite its stance against political correctness, the National Party still does not want Mr. Peters in the cabinet. “I think putting him as minister of foreign affairs does huge damage for our international reputation.” [Ainsley Thompson, Brash Appoints Political Correctness Eradicator, New Zealand Herald (Auckland), Oct. 27, 2005.]

Ready, Set, Grovel

Lieutenant Tom Molitor, a police officer for Brown County, Wisconsin, where Green Bay is located, got in trouble for saying that most marijuana drug-runners are Mexican, and most crack drug-runners are black. After non-white organizations complained, Lt. Molitor said not all Mexicans were drug dealers and that diversity was “a good thing.” Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt apologized for the officer’s comments and said he should have been more careful. “It hurts and it embarrasses the city a little bit, but we have to live with that,” he added. One Brown County Supervisor defended Lt. Molitor. “This information needs to be broken out and shown to the public,” said Supervisor Guy Zima, “because all we’re getting out of the local newspaper is, you know, the bright side of diversity, not showing the negative side.” [Kathryn Bracho, Law Enforcer’s Comments Raise Concerns Among Minorities, WBAY-TV (Green Bay), Nov. 3, 2005.]

Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry explained at an October press conference why his football team lost a recent game: The other team “had a lot more Afro-American players than we did and they ran a lot faster than we did. It just seems to me to be that way. Afro-American kids can run very well.” A week later, he had to apologize — “I have made a mistake and I ask for everyone’s forgiveness” — but didn’t seem sure what he was apologizing for. When a reporter asked him what was wrong with saying blacks run well, he replied, “I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. We have some Caucasian players that run very, very well also. . . . I probably should have said ‘players,’ rather than expressing a particular ethnic group.” The athletic director, who was also at the conference, jumped in and tried to explain: “What we’re talking about is speed. There’s speed that cuts across black, white, gray, blue, whatever. It was just an inappropriate comment and you all know it was an inappropriate comment.” [Eddie Pells, Air Force Coach Reprimanded After Comments About Black Athletes, AP, Oct. 26, 2005.]

Getting Tough?

Britain has so much racial tension and division that even liberals worry about its effect on national unity. Trevor Phillips, a black man who heads the Commission for Racial Equality, says that “the fragmentation of British society is a catastrophe for us all.” An example would be the high levels of segregation in immigrant areas. A recent Sheffield University study found that in five areas of London, 45 percent of the population was born abroad. [Richard Woods and David Leppard, Are We Sleepwalking Our Way to Apartheid? Times (London), Sept. 18, 2005.]

The British Labour government has decided it must do something to ensure British unity, and has decided to require candidates for naturalization to pass a citizenship test. The 45-minute “Life in the UK” exam costs £34 and includes 24 multiple-choice questions. Exam-takers need to get 75 percent of the questions right, but they can repeat the test as many times as they like.

Some sample questions: the age at which one can buy a lottery card, the type of British court that uses the jury system, and the voltage of the British electricity supply. The test also asks where the Cockney dialect is spoken, what “MPs” are, and what percentage of British children have single parents. Critics say immigrants may end up knowing more about certain aspects of British life than natives.

Many people call this the “Britishness” test, but Immigration Minister Tony McNulty says it “is not a test of someone’s ability to be British . . . It is a test of their preparedness to become citizens.” There are no questions about history. As Mr. McNulty explains, the test “is about looking forward.”

The race and immigration bureaucracies don’t like the test. The chief executive of the Immigration Advisory Service says it could be “seen as a way of excluding people from British citizenship.” Trevor Phillips, for all his fear of “fragmentation,” opposes any test candidates could fail. [“Britishness” Test Questions Revealed, Telegraph (London), Oct. 31, 2005. Simon Freeman, Citizenship Test Runs Into Flak for Lack of Perspective, Times (London), Oct. 31, 2005. Mary Jordan, It’s Hard to be British, Washington Post, Nov. 1, 2005.]

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