I do not pretend to know the answers to such questions, which may have no real scientific merit, anyway. But I do know that in the real world of viruses, as in the much-feared and awaited avian flu pandemic, the concept of an OUTBREAK has been well established in medical circles. (The hoarding and insane stockpiling of Tamiflu among affluent families in Manila has already started!)
What is known from past epidemic outbreaks of virtually any infectious disease is that it usually coincides with a punctuated or sudden EVOLUTION of a new strain of the virus or bacterium that is not so deadly that it dies with the first few victims, which is apparently the case of the Ebola virii -- lucky for humanity. Of course, HIV/Aids is the champion replicator/survivor of the modern era. This organism has battled modern medicine to a comfortable standoff as it still exacts nearly 100% fatality rate, but with a long period during which the virus can still infect others before HIV infection progresses to full blown AIDS.
Fitness for survival in the realm of biological viruses is apparently dependent on the emergence of a strain in which VIRULENCE and VIABILITY in the host population is finely tuned for the observed rapid reproductive rate of an epidemic.
Only a knowledge of the infection/replication strategies of these biological organisms have allowed human beings to design chemical, biological and prophylactic weapons against them. There are of course, major institutions, like the Roman Catholic Church that illogically denies the sense in such simple defenses because they might be used to prevent pregnancies or encourage recreational sex. They prefer more sophisticated defences involving character and morality as more effective. But that is a different issue.
Now, in what sense might the events in Paris be compared to an outbreak? And an outbreak of WHAT?
MEMEORANDUM has been my favorite place for monitoring what is going on in France and Europe right now. And right now it is being reported that the rioting has spread from a single incident of two teenagers being accidentally (or heedlessly) electrocuted on October 27, 2005, to this in a mere twelve days: Rioting Spreads To 300 Towns In France even though a French Muslim Group Issues a Fatwa Against Rioting.
Now France, the land of fromage for most Filipinos, is not a place one would expect to hear that 1400 hundred cars had been incinerated by marauding youths in a few nights of incendiary wildings. But it is hardly illuminating to claim that what is happening is mere anarchy brought on by the usual roots of such violence in poverty, injustice and the elitist, exclusive society of France. It would also be unreasonable to say that the Paris riots are an organized terrorist attack on the West led by sleeper cells of Al Qaeda, though both extremes of thought have been explored by others.
But the relatively low level of VIRULENCE of the rioting, and their VIABILITY, the ability to quickly spread in a nonlinear dynamic fashion throughout the susceptible subpopulations in many parts of France, this is the signature of the outbreak of a new and highly INFECTIOUS STRAIN of an idea that has been resident in those populations for many years.
What could this new idea be and what are its memetic ancestors? I think the new MEME that has been born in the fiery remnants all around the City of Light these past two weeks, is the idea that an active URBAN INTIFIDA in a modern Western state like France can be a sustainable, profitable and strangely satisfying occupation for unemployed, unassimilated French citizens and/or Arab and African immigrants. Who also happen to be Muslims. It's mother is Socialist France (with Jacques Chirac and Marie de Villepin as nursemaids) And as memes are necessarily promiscuous, the new organism has several fathers. These include all the terror memes of nihilism, theocracy, religious supremacy, and global jihad that have confederated to create the global terrorist network known as Al Qaeda and its affiliates like the Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf. It is also the child of the Left's most fervent dreams of a final showdown with the West and its hated ideals, the religion of class struggle and class hatred.
Perhaps Paris Intifadae is also a meme of imitation, an imitation of Baghdad, the Bagdad of the suddenly exploding carbomb. Perhaps the meme wants Paris and all of Europe to look like Baghdad.
If the violence were greater, such as mass killings by the rioters of other residents, it might have invited a more decisive and terminal crackdown by the authorities. As it was, the aversion of French leadership for anything more than a gentle scolding means that the rioting could go on for far longer than one might have expected. The French State has apparently decided it can afford to wait for the fever to subside, that it is not a fatal disease France has contracted, that she will survive this bout of the Paris Intifadae.
But of course she will. And so will Urban Intifadae var Paris, I think.
Yet, I am an optimist. I think the antibodies are already forming in the bloody foam and tattered shreds of French pride, of French patriotism. In le couer de France must surely be stirring the suspicion that something is rotten with socialism as it is practiced there.
Surely, older, perhaps politically incorrect but very powerful memes are gathering their strength for a future counterstrike: Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite!
WHILE PARIS BURNS, MANILA FIDDLES WITH CHACHA:You might not think there is a direct connection. But go to the blog of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, (yes, the one that's been TRO'd but for just one out of hundreds of posts) and there peruse for a while the BLUEPRINT for an entirely remade Philippines in the form of the Abueva Commission's proposed New Constitution. You will see there a model of the French-style "social democratic" government whose future effects on the Philippines we have already been watching on CNN and BBC for the last 12 nights of the Paris riots. That should not be surprising considering chacha's main demiurge, House of Representatives Speaker Jose de Venecia, and his long adoration of that curious dual presidential-parliamentary system they have in France.
PARLIAMENTARY SMARLIAMENTARY:Why is it that no one has actually challenged Speaker de Venecia's claim that we should shift to the parliamentary system as if we've never tried the scheme before. Wasn't he himself the head honcho of Ferdinand Marcos' old Batasang Pambansa--the Parliament of the Dictatorship of Da Apo? It just boggles the mind how we can seriously consider the radical operation of self-administered brain surgery that is being urged upon us by GMA, FVR and JDV. Chacha is simply a case of logical fiddlesticks.
A One-Armed Bandit's Enantiomorphic DoppelgangerBob of Mindanao has the skinny from PDI on RADULAN SAHIRON, the flamboyant, one-armed Abu Sayyaf bandit leader that was thought to have been arrested by police authorities late last week, with the President herself making the announcement to media on Saturday. But on Sunday in an embarrassing (and typical) reversal of fortunes) it was discovered that the man being held had the wrong forearm missing! As it turns out, the arrested man, a common sabungero (or habitual cockfighter), mistaken for the wanted terrorist, still has his right hand, which limb, the real Radulan Sahiron had lost a long time ago. But the poor villager was a terror only to fighting cocks and village maidens. He lost his arm to a chicken or a chick: take your pick!
And of course, Dulmatin is still at-large. As is the aforementioned Radulan Sahiron.
The Meme Is Learning TACTICSIt is most implausible that the Paris Riots were planned, organized and executed like a military operation, but it is amazing how quickly an urban setting can breed all sorts of creative means for wreaking uncivil destruction. Here, the leftleaning weblog, TalkLeft addresses the question "Why is Paris Burning?"
Conservatives would have you believe that the riots in Paris are the work of an organized Islamic group. Not so, says a leading French journalist, as reported by Doug Ireland:"That's not true -- this isn't being organized by the Islamist fundamentalists, as Sarkozy is implying to scare people. Sure, kids in neighborhoods are using their cellphones and text messages to warn each other where the cops are coming so they can move and pick other targets for their arson. But the rebellion is spreading across the country because the youth have a sense of solidarity with each other that comes from watching television -- they imitate what they're seeing, they have experienced themselves the same racist police abuse that helped spark the riots, and they sense themselves targeted by Sarkozy's inflammatory rhetoric.
Interesting television is claimed to be an important helper meme in this hidden, uber-world of brain-parasitizing ideas. Television. Now there's a monster meme. Or is that a medium?