Paralyzed French officials complain of “unfair” media attention (welcome to the reality club, Pierre). Yet, hardly two months ago the French media celebrated the suffering in New Orleans — ignoring the brave response of millions of Americans to Hurricane Katrina to concentrate exclusively on the Crescent City’s lower 9th ward and one nutty, incompetent mayor.
Utterly devoid of self-awareness, the French cherish their image of America as racist. But minorities in the United States have opportunities for which their French counterparts would risk their lives. Our problem is that demagogues convince the poorest of our poor to give up on getting ahead. In France, the non-white poor never have a chance of any kind.
France has no Colin Powell or Condi Rice, no minority heading the equivalent of a Fortune 500 company, no vibrant minority political culture. When Americans who adore la vie en France go to Paris (the intelligentsia’s Orlando), they don’t visit the drug-and-crime-plagued slums. If tourists encounter a Moroccan or a Senegalese “Frenchman,” he’s cleaning up the sidewalks after the dogs of the bourgeoisie.
Willfully blind to reality, liberals continue to praise the racist culture of France by citing the Parisian welcome for Josephine Baker or the Harlem jazz musicians in the 1920s. But the French regarded those few as exotic pets. The test is how they treat the millions of immigrant families whose members don’t play trumpets in bars or sell their flesh in strip clubs.
There is no Western country more profoundly racist than France. …Does anyone really believe that the country that enthusiastically handed over more of its Jewish citizens to the Nazis than the Nazis asked for is going to treat brown or black Muslims as equals?
Meanwhile, the Chirac government is stunned. Its members truly believed that supporting Arab and African dictators and defying America’s efforts to liberate tens of millions of Muslims would buy safety from the 5 million immigrants and their children who have not the slightest hope of a decent future. …
Desperate apologists for France’s apartheid system claim that the present uproar is merely about youthful anger, that Muslim fundamentalism isn’t in play. Just wait. Islamist extremists aren’t stupid. Thrilled by this spontaneous uprising, they’ll move to exploit the fervor of the young to serve their own ends.
Expect terror. Whether the current violence ebbs tonight or lasts for weeks to come, the uprising of the excluded and oppressed in the streets of France has only begun.