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Rage of French Youth Is a Fight for Recognition

by : Molly Moore
Monday November 7, 2005 - 19:54
14 comments
JPEG - 34.8 kb

Spreading Rampage in Country’s Slums Is Rooted in Alienation and Abiding Government Neglect

By Molly Moore

LE BLANC-MESNIL, France - Mohammed Rezzoug, caretaker of the municipal gymnasium and soccer field, knows far more about the youths hurling firebombs and torching cars on the streets of this Paris suburb than do the police officers and French intelligence agents struggling to nail the culprits.

He can identify most of the perpetrators. So can almost everyone else in the neighborhoods that have been attacked.

"They’re my kids," said Rezzoug, a garrulous 45-year-old with thinning black hair and skin the color of a walnut.

While French politicians say the violence now circling and even entering the capital of France and spreading to towns across the country is the work of organized criminal gangs, the residents of Le Blanc-Mesnil know better. Many of the rioters grew up playing soccer on Rezzoug’s field. They are the children of baggage handlers at nearby Charles de Gaulle International Airport and cleaners at the local schools.

"It’s not a political revolution or a Muslim revolution," said Rezzoug. "There’s a lot of rage. Through this burning, they’re saying, ’I exist, I’m here.’ "

Such a dramatic demand for recognition underscores the chasm between the fastest growing segment of France’s population and the staid political hierarchy that has been inept at responding to societal shifts. The youths rampaging through France’s poorest neighborhoods are the French-born children of African and Arab immigrants, the most neglected of the country’s citizens. A large percentage are members of the Muslim community that accounts for about 10 percent of France’s 60 million people.

One of Rezzoug’s "kids" — the countless youths who use the sports facilities he oversees — is a husky, French-born 18-year-old whose parents moved here from Ivory Coast. At 3 p.m. on Saturday, he’d just awakened and ventured back onto the streets after a night of setting cars ablaze.

"We want to change the government," he said, a black baseball cap pulled low over large, chocolate-brown eyes and an ebony face. "There’s no way of getting their attention. The only way to communicate is by burning."

Like other youths interviewed about their involvement in the violence of the last 10 days, he spoke on the condition he not be identified for fear the police would arrest him.

But he and others described the nightly rampages without fear, surrounded by groups of younger boys who listened with rapt attention. A few yards away, older residents of the neighborhood, many with gray hair, passed out notices appealing for an end to the violence.

A man with wire-rimmed glasses handed one of the sheets to the black-capped youth. He accepted the paper, glanced at it and smiled respectfully at his elder. The boy then carefully folded it in half and continued the conversation about how the nightly targets are selected.

"We don’t plan anything," he said. "We just hit whatever we find at the moment."

In Le Blanc-Mesnil, halfway between the northern edge of Paris’s city limits and the country’s largest airport, youths have burned a gym, a youth center and scores of cars and trucks. Residents here say the violence that began in these northern suburbs on Oct. 27 is the worst ever in these low-income neighborhoods and the most widespread social unrest in France since student riots nearly four decades ago.

Rezzoug said about 18 youths between the ages of 15 and 25 are responsible for most of the fires and attacks on police in Le Blanc-Mesnil, though he said some young men from neighboring towns have joined in the mayhem. The youths said they dodge the authorities by splitting into small groups, using their cellular telephones and text messaging to alert each other to the location of police and firefighters.

For the young men of Le Blanc-Mesnil and hundreds in other impoverished suburbs, one man represents all they find abhorrent in the French government: Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been considered the country’s leading contender in the 2007 presidential elections. Last month, he recommended waging a "war without mercy" against criminals and other troublemakers in the poor areas.

A week later, two Muslim teenagers from the northern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois were electrocuted in a power substation where they were hiding from police who they believed were chasing them. French officials have said police were not pursuing the youths. Their deaths triggered the violence that quickly spread, particularly when Sarkozy called the perpetrators of the violence "scum" and "thugs."

"I’m a citizen of France, but I don’t count," said an athletic 28-year-old who identified himself only as Abdel. With his trim black beard and short hair gelled into shiny black wavelets, Abdel hovered on the edge of the circle surrounding the youths who admitted to their involvement in the violence.

"They call us maggots," added a thin teenager hunched inside a thin polyester windbreaker that offered little protection from the damp chill of a gray fall afternoon.

Beyond their hatred of Sarkozy, the youths involved in the rampages and their companions offer a disparate list of grievances against the government.

Abdel, echoing the anger of many of the youths, said he resented the French government’s efforts to thrust Muslim leaders into the role of mediators between the police and the violent demonstrators.

"This has nothing to do with religion," he said. "But non-Muslims are afraid of people like me with a beard. I look suspicious to them. Discrimination is all around us. We live it every day. It’s become a habit. It’s in the air."

He continued: "I grew up in France, yet I speak of God and religion. I have a double culture. I belong to both. We should stop the labeling."

Rezzoug, the caretaker, said he has seen local youths struggle with deep personal conflicts caused by their dual cultures. "They go to the mosque and pray," he said. "But this is France, so they also drink and party."

"They also are out to prove to their parents and brothers and uncles they can’t take it any more," he said. "They’re burning the places where they play, where they sit — they’re burning their own playpens."

Le Blanc-Mesnil is not a community where youths aspire to spend their lives. There is none of the glamour that most of the world associates with Paris, just a 25-minute drive or train ride away. It is an industrial city of boxy apartment complexes and strip malls. In a nation where unemployment has hovered at 10 percent this year, the rates are here four to five times as high among people under 25.

"We feel rejected, compared to the kids who live in better neighborhoods," said Nasim, a chunky 16-year-old with braces and acne. "Everything here is broken down and abandoned. There’s no place for the little kids to go."

As on most Saturday afternoons, there was little for Nasim or his friends to do. They sauntered among the older youths who spent the late afternoon hanging out on street corners or the sidewalks in front of coffee shops.

Several of the older youths fingered pockets bulging with plastic packets of hashish for sale or trade. As they read local newspaper accounts of their previous night’s exploits, they began discussing Saturday night’s plans with more of an air of boredom than a commitment to a cause.

"We don’t have the American dream here," said Rezzoug, as he surveyed the clusters of young men. "We don’t even have the French dream here."

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> Rage of French Youth Is a Fight for Recognition
Wednesday November 9 - 14:47 - Posted by 73534d222e545596...

Expropriate from the expropriator! Close the factories and take the Nike’s et al and use them for the revolution.

These are the wretched of the earth rising up, striking out and if organized will be fighting back! Forming multiple strategic blocs this could be rebellion and revolution, as the Algerians well know. Assimilation IS the sucking at the so called teat of French imperialism and they know it better than any! "Get a job" is silly mindspeak mindfuck propaganda.

Viola! Perhaps this action packed show will soon be appearing in a suberb near you?

La fille du John Brown




> Rage of French Youth Is a Fight for Recognition
Wednesday November 9 - 15:36 - Posted by 9ea57534adc5c13b...

If it appears near my neighborhood there will be a giant burning pile of Nike clad corpses in my street. Luckily though, it won’t appear in my neighborhood, because I live in America, where immigrants become part of America, instead of staying in isolated, government subsidized ghettos.



> Rage of French Youth Is a Fight for Recognition
Wednesday November 9 - 19:12 - Posted by fe871ccefdebbec1...

because I live in America, where immigrants become part of America, instead of staying in isolated, government subsidized ghettos.

What state do you live in? I live in LA and it’s just like you described. Hell they don’t even bother to learn the language here..But the part about the Nike clad corpses is true. At the time of the riots I was cleaning my guns just wanting for them, so where my neighbors.I’m sure that the French are too. When you have a race riot you have to defend yourself.



> Rage of French Youth Is a Fight for Recognition
Wednesday November 9 - 20:51 - Posted by 73534d222e545596...

The revolutionary committee says off with these silly boys heads!

btw boys, the languages of origin in what is now called california were indigenous based, neither english nor spanish...

Sadie Marat



The last indigenous Californian language died in 1920’s.
Thursday November 10 - 04:38 - Posted by fe871ccefdebbec1...

The last indigenous Californian language died in the 1920’s.I believe it is cataloged at Stanford University. Not exactly a living language. Come-on boys I live here. My family been here in California since the 1840’s. So don’t give me a lesson in Californian history please.



not dead yet colonizer
Thursday November 10 - 05:56 - Posted by 73534d222e545596...

Of 100 Native American languages once spoken in California, 50 have been wiped out completely. An additional 17 have no fluent speakers. The remainder are spoken by only a few people.

They needed a much stricter immigration policy to keep out the likes of you and yours who stole the land and killed the natives and kidnapped and enslaved the ancestors of those nike clad kids y’all are so freaked out by.

California’s Native Peoples

California had a thriving population long before the Spanish explorers and the gold miners came to the State. Below is a partial listing of some of the Native American tribes who have lived in California for centuries. Look for more information about other tribes in the future.

Adapted from California Indians by Linda Spizzirri. (Spizzirri Publishing)

Tipai-Ipai
The Tipai-Ipai spoke Yuman division of Hokan and lived in Southern California and Northern Baja California. Depending upon the location and season, they would live in dome-shaped structures made from poles covered with thatch, brush or palm leaves. They would also live in caves. Primary foods included acorns, cactus, clover, cherries, plums, berries, prickly pear, and small game.

Luiseno
The Luiseno spoke Takic, a division of the Uto-Aztecan language. They lived along the Southern California coast in cone-shaped structures thatched with reeds, brush, or bark. Primary foods included acorns, seeds, nuts, berries, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, small game, deer, fish, and waterfowl.

Cahuilla
The Cahuilla also spoke Takic. They lived in southern California, southwest of the San Bernardino Mountains. They lived in domed brush shelters or rectangular thatched houses. Their primary food sources were fish, small game, acorns, pine nuts, roots, berries, seed, corn, squash, and beans.

Gabrielino
The Gabrielino tribe spoke Takic. This tribe lived in southern California, around what is now Los Angeles. They lived in in large, multi-family structures covered with tule mats. Their diet consisted of acorns, pine nuts, fish, sea lions, deer, and small game.

Chumash
The Chumash spoke Hokan and lived in southern California, around the modern-day Santa Barbara area. The Chumash lived in large circular domed houses covered with woven grass. Reed mats were used to make partitions between families and to cover the floor. They ate acorns, pine nuts, cherries, seeds, berries, deer, small game, fish, and waterfowl.

Costanoan
The Costanoans (which means "coast people" in Spanish) spoke Penutian and lived along California’s Central Coast. They lived in domed houses thatched with tule, grass, and fern. Their diet included acorns, seeds, nuts, berries, grapes, honey, fish, deer, bear, mountain lion, and small game.

Miwok
The Miwok also spoke Penutian and lived along the coast, mostly between present-day San Francisco and Monterey. They lived in cone-shaped structures made from bark, brush, grass, or tule over a pole framework. The Miwok ate acorns, pine nuts, buckeyes, berries, seeds, roots, fish, deer, elk, bear, small game, and waterfowl.

Pomo
The Pomo tribe spoke Pomoan and lived in the Russian River Valley area of northern California. They lived in cone-shaped or circular houses covered with either tule or bark. Primary foods were acorns, fish, deer, elk, waterfowl, roots, berries, and small game.

Yuki
The Yuki spoke Yukian and lived in the upper Eel River Valley. They lived in cone-shaped, bark-covered pole framed houses during the winter; during the summer their houses were covered with brush. Their diet consisted of acorns, fish, deer, seeds, nuts, berries, grasshoppers, and bird eggs.

Wintun
The Wintun spoke Wintun, a dialect of the Penutian language. They lived in northwestern California in cone-shaped structures covered with bark. Their diet included deer, small game, bear, salmon, trout, acorns, seeds, nuts, and berries.

Hupa (or Hoopa)
The Hupa spoke Athapascan and lived along the Trinity River, in northwestern California. The family houses were built over a square earth pit, with cedar planks. Their diet included salmon, trout, nuts, sturgeon, berries, seeds, deer, and elk.

Karok
The Karok spoke Hokan and lived in northwestern California along the Klamath River. Women and children lived in family houses built of plants over a earthen pit. Men and older boys slept in sweathouses, dug several feet deep and covered with planks. Primary foods included salmon, deer, acorns, bear, elk, and small game.

Achomawi
The Achomawi spoke Palaihnihan, a division of the Hokan language. They lived in northeastern California. In the summer they lived in con-shaped structures made from poles and covered with tule; in the winter they lived in wood framed houses which were built partially underground and covered with grass, tule, bark, and dirt. They ate fish, waterfowl, eggs, tule sprouts, insects, game, and berries.

Yurok
The Yurok spoke Algonquian and lived in along the northwestern coast and lower Klamath River areas. Their houses were redwood plank structures with a gabled roof. Primary foods included salmon, acorns, fish, shellfish, sea lions, elk, deer, small game, and seeds.

Now back to the French kids (did you ever notice how some people just have to talk about themselves all the time—racist cultural imperialistic tendencies I’d say).

S&M



How boring to copy and paste all that bs must be.lol
Thursday November 10 - 09:09 - Posted by fe871ccefdebbec1...

Hey you know what you did give me a lesson very good. Where are they now? So what your saying is give back the whole state to a few mixed blood indigenous people? Get real! The very idea of a land belong only to one race of people is racist. So before you bore me another with a full page of your vanity. The thing you accurse me of you are just as guilty of if not more.When your the one who started the whole off topic rant. Just think about. Your really talking about youself when you said.

quote SM
did you ever notice how some people just have to talk about themselves all the time—racist cultural imperialistic tendencies I’d say.

You are not even close, so don’t even try.
Hey I’m enjoying really it, so thanks for the fun.



always in the wrong
Thursday November 10 - 14:41 - Posted by 73534d222e545596...

Oppressor colonizer, you are always in the wrong...these youth are rising up...we ARE talking about them and perhaps this time they will get you before you and your ilk get them.
S&M



La fille du John Brown, or may it should be Mr. copy and paste Brown
Thursday November 10 - 22:00 - Posted by fe871ccefdebbec1...

So apparently you are not only racist you’re also an anarchist. What a nice little package, lol. I don’t know what the answer is for those disaffected young people. For them rioting is not the solution. There is a problem in France to really be French you have to be of the French race. If you’re lets say North African you may not be accepted, to make matters worse, most are Muslims in a mostly Christian nation. Then we have people (like you by the way) who want to hold people accountable for events that took place hundreds of years before they were even born. As long as people have that mind set there’s not much hope for a real solution out side of repatriation to their homeland. But you would like to see the race riot spread and many young people get killed just like in Iraq, you and "W"are a lot alike really........... :-)
I’m enjoying my self too much, cut it out.
Thank you,
General Lovemack



Viva copy and paste informazione
Friday November 11 - 17:42 - Posted by 73534d222e545596...

Ha, you were so blessed to have someone take the time to copy and paste some informazione.

Fool, race is a social construct developed by oppressors to divide and conquer.

You are accountable for the past you do not condemn and the present in which you participate.

Did someone mention anarchists? Brava!

Gigi



> not dead yet colonizer
Thursday November 10 - 09:34 - Posted by dbce95d88b502af5...

To: S&M

A quality post. Bravo!!!

Thanks for the many interesting points. I will make a sincere effort to learn more of these peoples and languages.



> not dead yet colonizer
Friday November 11 - 11:20 - Posted by eea0f83156bfe7a9...

"Daddy, why are we americans?"

"Because the government says we are ."

"What about the Indians, daddy?"

"What about them? They`re gone, we`re here, they were wrong, we were right, now shut the fuck up and keep shooting them Hay-rabs."

"Papa, pourquoi sommes-nous Francaises?"

"Parce que le gouvernement disent que nous le sommes."

"Et les gens qui etaient ici avant nous?"

"Oubliez, et payez vos taxes."



> not dead yet colonizer
Friday November 11 - 21:06 - Posted by fe871ccefdebbec1...

Gigi ha ha ha, There’s not much to say but you contradict yourself almost every time you say something. Do you know that a lot of people think that "W" Bush is an anarchist? No I was just hard timing you it’s cool to paste info.
This is for 80.***.180.*
As an American I know many people of all different races, (here I go again with the I word) I work at a place with people from all over the world next to Americans.Only the Italian’s treat their Asian workers like people. So don’t call me a racist. I do work with two full blooded indigenous people, you know what they are? The two best workers out of hundreds of people that work for us. What talented people they are. One is an indigenous Hawaiian, the other an indigenous Californian. The indigenous Californian lives in a small town in Nor Cal where his people live. We get on great, you know why? Because we know that people have to be judged in their own time. But those that want to hold on to bogus histories written by people with agendas are fools doomed to relive history over and over again....When will people learn history has to be taken in context, it’s not a guide or excuse to harbor racist hatred and revenge forever. But losers like you use it as one to have an excuse for your own failures in life.
Captain
Blue



> not dead yet colonizer
Tuesday November 15 - 00:17 - Posted by a7df0e8a4718ffda...

Uh, American Indians ARE Americans.

MTT






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by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
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How much corruption can a “democracy” endure before it ceases to be a democracy? If five venal, mendacious, duplicitous, amoral, biased and (dare I say it) satanic Supreme Court “justices”—John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy—have their way, America will soon find out. In several previous articles for Pravda.Ru, I have consistently warned how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is one of the (...)
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DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS, PART TWO
Tuesday 12 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
1 comment
Imagine, if you will, that the United States government passes a law banning advertisers from sponsoring commercials on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show or Rupert Murdoch’s Fox (Faux) “News” Network. On one hand, there would be two decided advantages to this ban: The National IQ would undoubtedly increase several percentage points, and manipulative pseudo-journalists would no longer be able to appeal to the basest instincts in human nature for ratings and profit while (...)
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DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS
Thursday 7 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
4 comments
LIVE, from the State that brought you Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin voters now proudly present, fresh from his recall election victory, Governor Scott Walker! At first glance, it is almost unfathomable that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have voted to retain Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor. This, after all, is a man who openly declared he is trying to destroy the rights of workers through a “divide and conquer” strategy; who received 61% of the (...)
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PEOPLE WITHOUT SOULS
Tuesday 13 March
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
2 comments
A question I’ve frequently been asked since I began writing for Pravda.Ru in 2003 is, “Why did you become disillusioned with the practice of law?” This question is understandable, particularly since, in most people’s minds, being an attorney is synonymous with wealth and political power. I’ve always been reluctant to answer this question for fear it will discourage conscientious and ethical people from pursuing careers in the legal profession—a (...)
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