But the news from Associated Press today is about the eighth day of violent rioting Paris Area Riots Have Spread to 20 Towns
ULNAY-SOUS-BOIS, France -- A week of riots in poor neighborhoods outside Paris gained dangerous new momentum Thursday, with youths shooting at police and firefighters and attacking trains and symbols of the French state.And it doesn't seem to be dying down as Reuters reports that
Rioting erupted again late on Thursday despite hopes that festivities ending the fasting month of Ramadan would calm rioters, many of them Muslims of North African origin protesting against race bias they say keeps them in a second-class status. Police said there were fewer confrontations than previous nights when police and fire crews were fired upon by some rioters. They said 150 vehicles had been destroyed overnight. For the first time disturbances spread outside the Paris region, youths torching cars in Dijon, Rouen and the Bouches-du-Rhone area dominated by Marseille, though the extent of the unrest was not immediately clear.In the largely introverted Filipino blogosphere, there has been little mention or consideration of the meaning of these upheavals in that far-distant but pleasant country better known in these parts for its bread, wine and cheese, and whose most violent exponent would be thought of as Claude van Damme. (The Political Junkie complained about this just the other day.)
Fortunately, Pajamas Media Editor Richard Fernandez ("Wretchard the Cat") over at the Belmont Club more than made up for the lack of Filipino commentary on the matter with his usual substantial background research and analysis. His post has a map of the riot loci in the City of Light, and contains the following Commentary:
At least one nation has been born in the last week, that of immigrants who once colloquially referred to themselves as "Arabs" but who now prefer to call themselves "Muslims". While the riots will start to abate at some point, from exhaustion and the onset of cold weather as much as anything else, the sense of identity forged at the barricades will not so easily fade. A new meme has been born which neither Sarkozy's rubber bullets nor de Villepin's appeasement can bring under control.CANARY IN THE MINE OF EUROPE: Another interesting characterization of what is going on is from Matthew Maynard who compares France to those canaries that miners used to carry with them into mine shafts and tunnels. In case there was a loss of breathable air, the birds died and thus served as an early warning device of impending disaster if the miners don't get out. What that impending disaster is in this case is the outbreak of a "Eurabian Civil War" in which the large unassimilated Muslim minorities in countries such as France, Germany, Denmark and all over Western Europe, rise up in jihad against their newly adapted host countries. The ongoing Parisian intifada, darker thinkers say, may be the insurgency that signals a new and more dangerous phase of militant Islam trying to turn the whole of Western Europe into a kind of continental Baghdad. France would be the first to succumb to the nonlinear dynamics of such a runaway development, thus the canary metaphor.
The only question is whether another nation has been reborn under the events of the last week; a nation once called France. There is in a sense, something magnificent about the stirrings of identity among the Muslims in the Parisian ghettos; all the grander in comparison to the tentativeness, doubt and reflexive abasement of the officials of the Fifth Republic. The riot police, fire department and public order apparatus may have been present in the rioting banlieus, but the Idea of France was conspicuously absent. The Idea of France, not the hodgepodge of welfare benefits, Marxist obscurantism and world-weariness that that is palmed off as sophistication, is what has to present itself as an alternative to the Green Banner of Islam. Otherwise it will be a contest between something and nothing.
The Muslim uprising of the last week is a challenge to the half century of policy that has brought France to this point. Polices which deprecated European culture, frowned on a national identity, lowered the birthrate, created a welfare state, imported 'guest workers', promoted mindless multiculturalism and relied on 'international' treaties for protection -- all articles of Leftist faith -- are now facing the judgment of history; and worse, the verdict of Islam. It would be supremely ironical if the European Left, the 'vanguard of history', required for its future survival the very things it had set out to destroy.
Mr. Maynard points to historical instances in which France has indeed been such a canary bird during the Reign of Terror and the Nazi invasion.
Well I don't know if this is the end of France because the canary has died. But I hope it is the end of Jacques Chirac, Marie de Villepin and those who've counselled appeasement but are now reaping a whirlwind of woe.
A THREAT TO BOMB MANILA: On the local front, ABSCBN News reports,
The leader of the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM) on Friday vowed that the planned bomb attacks in Metro Manila and other parts of the country will proceed despite his arrest. TV Patrol World reported that according to Ahmad Islam Santos, comrades are out to continue the bombings after these were delayed following his arrest in Zamboanga City last week.The man making the threat under "tactical interrogation" by the Philippine military, Ahmad Islam Santos, is the older brother of Dawud Santos, who got embroiled in the Julius Babao affair. The government has steadfastly refused to apologize for implying the broadcaster and his station were "terrorist-coddlers."
The bomb threat is plausible, with the alleged target being the Malate entertainment district in Manila, which, like Bali, is frequented by large numbers of Americans, Australians, and Europeans. But the military's credibility may be at an all time low given the toxic political atmosphere in which the involvement of Army units in election rigging operations last year was revealed to the senate by General Gudani.
But the arrest of Ahmad Santos and seven others and the possible foiling of a plausible terrorist attack, may also be nothing but a consuelo de bobo considering that the real prize--the genius of the Jemaah Islamiyah movement supposedly hiding in Mindanao-- Dulmatin, has not been apprehended despite a $10 million reward and promises of help from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The government is wooing the MILF in peace talks brokered by Malysia, with a reported deal on ancestral land domains (which better not turn into terrorist training camps or encourage further secession.)
MAKING DO WITH REBELLION: In the absence of a full-fledged anti-terror bill, both brothers, Ahmad and Dawud Santos, are being charged with rebellion (a non-bailable offense). The continued inability to get such legislation through Congress is indicative of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's failed leadership in the war on terrorism. Instead, the Left has dominated the debate and confused the issue with their implacable animus and historical resentment against the United States. Their singular political victory has been to establish the idea that the war on terror is an American war in which the Philippines has no real stake to lose, or worse, that the Philippines will only suffer at the hands of terrorists and Islamic hardliners if they cooperate with the United States.
Well, shall I say: Vive le France!
Here is my related post on Debating the Anti-Terrorism Bill. The main point there, and here, has to be that because of its implications for civil liberties and guaranteed Constitutional rights, an Anti-terrorism bill can only be sold in the context of the country actually going to war on terrorism, a wartime mobilization for the survival of the nation.
Anything short of that seems destined to run into the buzz-saws of the nasty thing called Gloriagate. Regarding which, MLQ3 informs Jove that Rizal Day 2005, (December 30) is the 40th anniversary of the end of President Diosdado Macapagal's term. It would be a delicious double irony if Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were to resign on that anniversary, which is also the third anniversary of her "I-wont-run" speech on Rizal Day 2002. She should take this chance at nobility through self-sacrifice, and save the nation the awesome bother of writing a Constitution the people won't buy and all the rest of that complicated "Ramos solution". It would be the greatest speech of her life and save everybody a lot of trouble.
PS>>Here is a neat rendition, sent to me by John's Venom, of GLORIA Gaynor's disco classic "I Will Survive". JDV, GMA, FVR doing the disco duck, Hilarious!