In last night’s news feed I included an article about the most recent eruption of cultural enrichment in the banlieues of Paris. In the comments on that post, our French correspondent Robert Marchenoir provided some clarification of the latest incident, including local color that isn’t available in the media reports.
I have combined two of his comments and edited them slightly to make the post below:
A few clarifications on the latest immigrant riots in Bagnolet next to Paris.
The first dispatches, such as the WSJ article, mentioned that the deceased motorcycle rider was a pizza delivery man.
This is disingenuous, because it suggests that a lawful, hardworking citizen was harassed by the police while minding his own business and helping the economy run.
Actually, he wasn’t delivering pizza at the time. He rode a trial motorcycle unlicensed for use on public roads. Furthermore, he was doing so in a noisy, disruptive, aggressive and dangerous way, as immigrant youths have taken to doing in city estates, for fun as well as to assert their dominance on public space.
Such antics generally include revving up the engine constantly in order to do as much noise as possible, riding on the back wheel, and riding very fast in residential areas. It’s called a “rodeo” in French.
Residents of “enriched” neighbourhoods are routinely submitted to that particular form of harassment. Beyond the annoyance and aggression, it’s definitely dangerous for pedestrians, children, old people and even other drivers.
In Bagnolet, on the day of the accident, this had been going on for quite a while when the residents complained, and the police came to the scene.
Usually the police do not bother to intervene when they receive such complaints, firstly because there are so many of them, and secondly because it’s very dangerous to try and stop those rogue riders.
They usually flee from the police, and, not infrequently, get killed in an ensuing accident. Then the police find themselves in a life-threatening situation while “elder brothers” congregate and a riot breaks out.
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Coming next in the scenario, the immigrant community pretends that the “youth” has been killed by the police, the authorities chicken out and put the police version on the same level as the immigrants’, the policemen are submitted to a humiliating inquiry, and politicians, from the right and the left alike, call for an improved “dialogue” and more public funds being poured on city estates.
This incident was not different.
Knowledgeable bloggers researched the wrecked motorcycle from published media images, found out that it cost 6,000 euros, and asked how an 18-year-old was able to purchase one with the wages of a pizza delivery job.
Notice the cookie-cutter paragraph at the end of the WSJ dispatch:
“Tensions between young people and police have long simmered in housing projects in France’s suburbs, feeding on poverty, unemployment and anger over discrimination against minorities.”
This has been printed and said so many times that nobody bothers with a reality check any more. Surely it should be a matter for thought that in this particular incident, the aforementioned explanation is just a load of [insert expletive here].
“…feeding on poverty…”: nope. Not when you’re able to afford a €6,000 motorcycle (that’s $8,500) at age 18.
“…unemployment…”: nope. This one had a job delivering pizzas, as the mainstream media obligingly rushed to inform us.
“…and discrimination against minorities”: nope. Actually, it’s rather the opposite. Try riding a motorcycle in a city at 51 km/h if you’re a white, aboriginal French person. You’ll quickly get a hefty fine, and points will be nipped off your license. If you don’t pay, you might even land in prison.
The communist mayor of Bagnolet made some disgusting comments, saying that the death of a youngster is always unjustifiable (which suggests that the police are, in some way, responsible), and that the message of emotion of “the young” has been heard, so would they please calm down now.
According to a communist mayor, the arson of more than 30 cars and numerous rubbish bins, voluntary destruction of a bus stop, murder attempts at policemen with firebombs and a handgun — all this is but a “message of emotion”.
And it should, and has been, “heard”.
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.