Apparently, as long as the nightly burning of Citroens and Peugeots by local “youths” remains at 200 cars or less, and only one woman receives burns covering 60 percent of her body when the bus she’s traveling is torched by a Molotov cocktail, France can be said to be “relatively calm” — at least by her Interior minister.
It’s hard to even look at French news anymore. Reading about events there, it’s no longer possible to whistle past the graveyard — to make the metaphor hew more closely to the events — in Paris, Marseille, Lyon, — it’s as though you are watching a large pot boil and all the frogs in the soup are claiming everything is très bien, merci…
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What would it take to make the French elites wake up and tell the truth? A truth that everyone already knows but no one is permitted to say? France is on fire and the
A group of young people burst onto the bus and tossed in a bottle of flammable liquid before fleeing, police said, citing witnesses’ accounts. The resulting fire injured a 26-year-old woman, who suffered second- and third-degree burns on her arms, legs and face and was in a medically induced coma on Sunday.
Notice the Associated Press’ use of “young people” as the now-accepted and risible euphemism for “criminals of a certain age.” It brings to mind their insistence on the word “insurgents” for “terrorists.” Nor for nothing did someone (I’ve lost the link) call them “The Associated (with Terrorists) Press”. That’s an appellation well-deserved.
Meanwhile, as a way of forcefully handling the situation, President Chirac phoned the parents of this poor woman — the one so severely burned she’s in a medically induced coma — and assured them that France would “do everything to find the assailants and punish them with the greatest severity,” Wow. Quel homme! No doubt the devastated parents felt much better.
The sensible group in all this is the Marseille bus drivers:
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin called a meeting for Monday on public transport safety, while Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said he was sending two extra companies of riot police to Marseille. Bus drivers in Marseille refused to return to work.
And what is the official evaluation of all this? You can probably repeat his mantra as the words drop form his mouth:
Aside from the bus attack in Marseille, the Interior Ministry said that both Friday and Saturday night were “relatively calm.” Youths set fire to about 200 vehicles Saturday, police said. But even on ordinary nights, the number of cars burned often reaches 100.
It’s 2006, France. The pot has passed the simmer stage and the bubbles are rising.