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The Darling Buds of France By: Ilana Mercer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, November 28, 2005

France’s raging Muslim youths conjure a skit from the “Life of Brian,” John Cleese’s parody of Judea under Rome. Reg and his band of anti-Roman rebels are debating the merits and demerits of the enemy. A Jew doesn’t embark on a project without a good dialectical session. So, “What have the Romans ever done for us?” asks Reg.

“The aqueduct,” one rebel ventures. A second says, “Sanitation, remember what the city used to be like?” A third praises the roads. A fourth, the public baths. Exacerbated by the growing list of Roman improvements, rebel-in-chief Reg responds: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

What have the French ever done for “les beurs," now rioting in 300 French cities and towns, having destroyed more than 8,400 cars, burned busses, businesses, shops, schools, police stations, libraries; beaten bystanders, and snuffed out at least one life?


They’ve replaced the mud huts of their ancestors with subsidized housing and modern plumbing, given them schools, job-training institutes, cradle-to-crypt welfare, and, my personal favorite, the Musée du Louvre.


To listen to their enablers among the media, however, not much. Whether Left mediacrats are applying their cerebral sinew to individual or group-orchestrated crime; to psychological or sociological “causal factors,” bad deeds are invariably caused—never committed. And they are caused by factors outside the perpetrators.


In the “progressive’s” universe, evil actions don’t incriminate, they mitigate. Rather than signify a lack of moral fiber, the criminality of France’s rambunctious rioters is said to be a symptom of inadequate freebies and fraternité.


Staying on message, CNN dragged in Princeton psychologist Susan Fiske to discuss “The Rioter” as a phenomenon. The guru confirmed that vandalism and violence are symptoms of anger, and anger is a reaction to a perceived harm, both intentional and unjust. This is no mob, groused Fiske, but a group of individuals, desperately seeking group identity, while taking their cues from the straight-shooting role models around them. All very rational, even honorable. Reporter Randi Kaye’s responsorial: an overdub about years of resentment, discrimination, and exploitation. She supplied no concrete examples.


Shame on her. French Muslims endure untold oppression. France’s holidays are largely saints’ days. School cafeterias serve fish on Fridays. Restaurants still serve wine and pork, and souvenir shops peddle porcelain pigs. As the Times Literary Supplement recently complained, “Nuns do not have to remove their headscarves for passport or driver’s license photographs; Muslim women do.” Oh the indignities! My coreligionist, satirist Jon Stewart, added his invaluable perspective as an “alienated” minority: “Do you know what it’s like to be sent to a Christian school every Passover with a hardboiled egg?”


On the other hand, Randi’s colleague, Christiane Amanpour, came up with an example of “discrimination.” A doff of the beret to the French: they don’t have affirmative action. The inability to compel French employers to employ Ahmad before Armand has, apparently, fomented the unrest. However, unregulated, employers tend to do what’s best for business. According to Mark Steyn, “9,000 police cars have been stoned by ‘French youths’ since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night.” Perhaps employers are afraid. Some might have presciently worried that if they hired Muhammad, he might one day sue or take a bat to the building if a place to pray is not  provided or if he isn’t given time off on Fridays.” That sort of thing.


It’s not bias; it’s business.


While considerations as to what will maximize profit do occasionally cross a proprietor’s mind, you can be sure they don’t cause him to reject the best-qualified applicant. That would be too costly.


Randi rounded up her rah-rah to the rioters with an ode to a “rioter’s passion”: “For centuries rioters have raised their voices and fists. The media will continue to capture their anger. In the end, what will be accomplished—more violence, and in Paris, death,” she intoned.


Besides being ungrammatical, Randi’s coda is puzzling. Was she referring to what her network termed the “first death of the riots”? Buried in one of CNN’s meditations on the glory of Molotov-lobbing yobs was something about a Parisian dying of “injuries suffered outside his apartment building.” Stuff happens, you know.


Randi, bless her soul, didn’t elaborate on the indelicate death of Jean Jacques Le Chenadec. Mr. Chenadec was a native Frenchman of the “lower middle-class.” He retired from Renault in 2001. He enjoyed discussing cars with a neighbor, who was beaten within an inch of his life. Mr. Chenadec wasn’t so lucky. He was pounded to a pulpy death by “scum,” which is how Interior Minister “Super Sarko” identified the killers.

Ilana Mercer is the author of Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash With A Corrupt Culture, and a columnist for WorldNetDaily.com and the Free-Market News Network. For more about her work, visit IlanaMercer.com.

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Ilana Mercer is the author of Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash With A Corrupt Culture, and a columnist for WorldNetDaily.com and the Free-Market News Network. For more about her work, visit IlanaMercer.com.

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