Now that the Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has toned down his rhetoric after a crisis meeting, what should be the alternatives?
Paris riots are the most significant popular revolution taken place in recent times. It is noteworthy because they are violent, yet they are not taking lives of innocent people. In this manner they are indicative that this is symbolic of the oppressed. As for the oppressors we have seen more than 300 arrests already. More will follow. Once the so-called peace is restored by the authorities, the official riots will take place inside the prisons. And the difference between the riots that are caused by the oppressed and those that are caused by oppressors are vast. One is in defense, the other is in authoritarian suppression. However both types of riots have the similar consequences for the oppressed group. Either way, they are arrested and attacked at the slightest or no provocation.
Amnesty International only 7 months ago had declared that the “The French government ministers, judges and senior police officers are allowing members of the police force to use excessive and sometimes lethal force against suspects of Arab and African origin without fear of serious repercussions.”
So much so that, in the case of Ahmed Selmouni, (July 1999), the European Court of Human Rights had to intervene since France had violated the prohibition against torture as well as the right to fair trial within a reasonable time. Despite its intervention, the case only reached the French courts several years after the violations had been committed, and under pressure of the European Court investigation.
And when one French court decided to sentence one police officer to an “exemplary” prison term, owing to the demands of the public, that too failed, when police unions expressed their anger in the streets. Of course in a police state, it is a known fact as to who controls the rule of the jungle. The police officers who were the perpetrators in this case continued merrily in their police careers as their “honor” needed to defended, than their criminal conduct. Institutional racism of France has been well recorded and so are increasing cases of police violence.
Human Rights Watch too has monitored racist and xenophobic violence in Western Europe, including against Arabs and Muslims in the wake of the 11 September attacks in the United States. It has condemned these attacks, which have included verbal abuse, physical assaults and attacks on mosques-and express alarm that they continue.
In wake of these racist process (not some aberrant incidents) the media need to focus on Western Europe’s continuing saga of racism and state-sponsored violence. The next G-8 (including Chechnya-ravaged Russia) meeting should focus on generating a mass apology for the callousness and indifference that the top capitalist countries have so far displayed to a carefully orchestrated exclusionary approach they have chosen when it has come to the so-called immigrants. In addition, France should immediately do the following:
1. Investigate what led to the deaths of two teenagers on Oct 27, that led to riots. They ran for at least one kilometer before taking shelter in a place that got them killed. It obviously was not some english channel race they were upto. They were trying desperately to save their lives. From the police. This time at least, unlike ever before, the government must book the police officers responsible for these two deaths and punish them exemplarily. No matter if the police fraternity gets to streets. They are on the streets everyday anyway. Remember when the lawmakers break laws, common people have no one to turn to than the electrocuted cells.
2. Sack Sarkozy immediately. He has admittedly changed his rhetoric. Highly irresponsible right-wingers like him should be immediately not tolerated by any civic society. Instead of trying to deconstruct his government’s collective apathy, he was fast in his approach to apprehend “hooligans”. Indeed he is the master enactor of the drama just to appease a racist society to elect his likes in coming 2007 elections.
3. Release the rioters: Just the way democracy allows for people to vote, it allows them rights to protest. This protest was long overdue. Yes some vehicles have been burnt. But the rich folks can get it back from the insurance company. Yet they are unaware of the real root cause of violence in a class society where they are instrumental in hundreds of official deaths of the poor and secluded. A dialogue, than arrests, is the need of the hour.
4. Stop official tortures: Police atrocities and flagrant violation in Paris is well recorded. Every step must be taken to stop that. The attacks are done on Arabs and Africans and since they don’t own the media outlets, the news reach very late if some “liberal” La Monde ever publishes such stories. But the statistics even by INSEE demonstrates the racial biases in these tortures.
5. Facilitate immigration and grant due rights in a multicultural society. Just because the demographic profiling are not done properly does not mean France is not a multicultural society. Indeed the growing resentments of the racist society is owing to increasing number of immigrants. Hence the factor of diversity must be acknowledged and different cultural ethos must be respected at any cost. No form of any assimilation or any attempt to do so should be allowed ever. Forced or voluntary propaganda assimilation. People often assimilate to the extent of forgetting their own languages because that is cited as a condition for employment and decent living. The authorities must acknowledge their roles and reverse them for chrissake.
6. Equality, Liberty, Fraternity: Or whatever the statue of liberty ever meant to imply. Whereas there is 5% overall unemployment for university graduates in France, there is 26.5% unemployment for “North African” university graduates. This is indicative of biases in the field of employment for the Muslims and Blacks. This is 21st century slave-owners mindset afflicting the racist France. Everything must be done to ensure affirmative actions to reserve quotas in employment for minorities so that they are at least represented well and compensated well in lieu of all tortures that mainland France has caused and benefited from the Muslims and Blacks so far.
The riddles ghettos are the contradictions of capitalist France and it must do whatever to amend ways or await revolution by the oppressed masses.