New Year’s Eve in France was a tale of two cities: In the rich areas a vast police presence presided over joyous public parties, but in the poor suburbs an appalling 940 cars were set on fire nationwide by Muslim immigrants. Such violent and depressing scenes are what many impoverished French woke up to on January first, as they have for over two decades.
Perhaps most shocking is that the nation’s government and media now treat this mass arson as if it is something quite normal. It’s almost as if the nation’s leaders and opinion-makers don’t realize that having cars torched in your neighborhood is not something which should be tolerated.
The county of Seine-Saint-Denis, one of the youngest, poorest and most Muslim in France, has a major police presence for 364 days out of the year. Sadly, French society prefers to allow this destructive annual ritual rather than provide these areas with constructive futures or even basic security.
Despite the recent pronouncement by the Interior Ministry that “There were no major incidents”, France’s poor do not agree. As they watch their neighborhood burn every New Year’s Eve, it would be only human if their alienation and anger continued to grow.
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