In retrospect, it was not a good idea to have left his pistol at home. Called to the scene of a traffic accident in the Paris suburbs last Sunday, Jean-FranÃ§ois Illy, a regional police chief, came face to face with a mob of immigrant youths armed with baseball bats, iron bars and shotguns.
What happened next has sickened the nation. As Illy tried to reassure the gang that there would be an investigation into the deaths of two teenagers whose motorbike had just collided with a police car, he heard a voice shouting: â€œSomebody must pay for this. Some pigs must die tonight!â€
The 43-year-old commissaire realised it was time to leave, but that was not possible: they set his car ablaze. He stood as the mob closed in on him, parrying the first few baseball bat blows with his arms. An iron bar in the face knocked him down.
â€œI tried to roll myself into a ball on the ground,â€ said Illy from his hospital bed. He was breathing with difficulty because several of his ribs had been broken and one had punctured his lung.
His bruised and bloodied face signalled a worrying new level of barbarity in the mainly Muslim banlieues, where organised gangs of rioters used guns against police in a two-day rampage of looting and burning last week.
Not far from where Illy was lying was a policeman who lost his right eye after being hit by pellets from a shotgun. Another policeman displayed a hole the size of a 10p coin in his shoulder where a bullet had passed through his body armour.
Altogether 130 policemen were injured, dozens by shotgun pellets and shells packed with nails that were fired from a homemade bazooka. It prompted talk of urban â€œguerrilla warfareâ€ being waged on French streets against the forces of law and order.
By the end of the week an extraordinarily heavy police presence in Villiers-le-Bel, where most of the rioting took place, appeared to have halted the violence: on top of public transport strikes and student protests against his reform plans, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, could not afford a repeat of 2005, when a similar incident involving the deaths of two youths provoked the worst French urban unrest in four decades.
Things were so tense in the suburbs, however, that the riots could easily erupt again with the prospect of deaths on either side setting off a much greater explosion and, conceivably, the deployment of the army to keep peace.
â€œGiven the weapons being used, it was lucky that nobody was killed,â€ said a policeman.
03 Dec 2007
Dominique R. Poirier
From France where I reside at this time I can comment further on this unprecedented outburst of violence.
The circumstances that triggered these two nights of unrest were exactly the same as in October 27 2005. For the record, two youngsters of North African origin aged 15 and 17 got electrocuted and died in the cabin of a power supply transformer were they attempted to hide while the police was chasing them. Although the police couldnâ€™t be reasonably held responsible for what was nothing but an accident, a sizeable proportion of the teenager population living in those infamous dormitory cities surrounding Paris unexpectedly gathered and began to torch cars and public service edifices at random.
This incident quickly won a following in many other similar suburbs throughout the whole country. On October 8 2005, some hundreds burned cars latter, the French government decreed a state of national emergency that had to last for three weeks, until things calmed down.
In the case of the outburst that began November 26 2007 evening we find a collision during what seems to be a chase between a police car and two youngsters of North African origin aged 15 and 16 riding illegally a cross motorcycle.
But no one could expect the ensuing riots had to know such a peak in violence. Having watched nearly all video reportages broadcast on all French TV channels I can testify of this savage and blind violence that seemed to spare no oneâ€™s safety. Local inhabitants running away along the streets, riot police forces retreating (hmm, yes, I know; sounds familiar), and one interesting testimony collected in the heat of the moment which taught us that a cab delivering Molotov cocktails to the insurgents had been spotted. I have seen this interview once only and it simply disappeared from the news despite its interest. No French journalist ever commented about thereafter. Sound interesting, though.
These events happened while the French president Sarkozy was concluding a sale of Airbus in China, and the apparent embarrassment and unwillingness of the French ministers to make any strong statement while the President was abroad was quite visible. Instead, the French Prime Minister publicly expressed his deep apologies to the parents of the two kids who died in the collision against the police car.
Iâ€™m one among those who didnâ€™t believe the crisis would fade that quickly, that is to say the following night. But it did.
Whether the insurgents were mostly of North African origin remains unclear and the French MSM must be expected never to tell a word about such sensible point. Should it be considered as somewhat reliable my opinion is that there were certainly as much kids of French origin as North African ethnics among the insurgents.
I have seen countless angry kids like them, dressed in Adidas sportswear, idling and looking for the next ladyâ€™s purse in the street of similar suburbs. A good half of the most virulent of them is of white French origin, unmistakably.
In fact, the main cause of the contained violence and palpable tension might be found in an excellent and free of political correctness article published by The Economist in one of its March 2006 issues:
â€œUnemployment rate for 15-24 year-olds is almost 22 percent, one of the highest in Europe. Mass access to the school-leaving exam and to universities has not been matched by more jobs for the young. Fewer than 30 percent of French 15-24 year-olds are in unemployment, way below the OECD average and half the rate in Britain. And many of those jobs are on short-term contract that often last no more than a couple of months. Employment in France is ruled by a two-tier system â€“ with comfortably protected jobs for â€˜insidersâ€™, including public sector workers, and less secure short-term contracts for â€˜outsidersâ€™. Young who leave school with no qualifications face unemployment rate as high as 40-50 percent.â€
â€œEqual opportunity for allâ€ is an irrelevant notion in a country such as France whose heritage of monarchic enlightened despotism holds firm regardless of the narrative of the moment. Those excluded people, immigrants or immigrants from second or third generation, and lower-class French natives as well, want to consume, to marry, to get a housing, as other people do; but they are simply denied all this, and so many of them get inescapably mad and revolt at some point.
Criminologist Howard Becker best taught us why offenders behave that way when he introduced his â€œcommitment principle.â€
Reports about the type of firearms used by the insurgents remain inconsistent and unreliable since French journalists are notoriously ignorant when it comes to guns; to the point that I use to convert 22 millimeter to .22 Long Rifle and 12 millimeters to 12 gauge when I listen to French news. But wound descriptions and other testimonies I have heard of compel to conclude that the insurgents shot at the police with defense riot-guns mostly. Other testimonies relating to handguns and home-made bazookas have not been echoed by the French MSM. From this I believe there was more since the cocktail Molotov cab delivery evaporated too.
Some among my readers have perhaps noticed that I didnâ€™t say â€œrioters,â€ but â€œinsurgents.â€ The initiative of this terminology is not my own. Thatâ€™s how the young rebels are unanimously called by French journalists now; and this novelty doesnâ€™t how to political correctness or to some moonbats.
Muslims all the way, we’ll kill the white pigs!
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