• Home
  • About
  • Guest Post

    The usual suspects

    Rondi Adamson is wondering about something that’s so simple and obvious I hadn’t noticed, and now I feel kind of stupid:

    Hmm…Something’s missing from the French riot news and analysis. I haven’t heard about, or read of, anyone blaming the United States, George Bush, the Jews or Israel for all of this…yet. I may have just missed it.

    It has been a full, what, ten days? Kind of odd. All the Reuters and CNN coverage I’ve seen has referred to “root causes,” of course, and lack of integration into society; and there have been some gingerly references to anti-Semitic violence over the past few years. But the obvious role of America, and those Jews who have had the temerity to become affluent, in fostering a climate of disaffection and hate, hasn’t been touched. Of course, I don’t go near the op-ed pages of The Guardian unless someone I trust gives me a good reason. The front page of The Guardian is right now, BTW, referring to what’s been going on in France as “urban unrest,” which is euphemistic even for the English.

    I ran into a French acquaintance last night, and it was all I could do not to blurt out, “I hope your family’s cars are all okay, honey!”

    7 Responses to “The usual suspects”

    1. Gaijin Biker says:

      Well, France opposed the Iraq war and is no great friend to Israel, so the usual canards won’t fly this time, n’est-ce pas?

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      “canards won’t fly”


    3. Rondi says:

      But Gaijin Biker, the thing about the anti-Semitic, anti-US conspiracy theorists, is, they never let the facts get in the way of their paranoia! Somehow they will find a way to pin this on Israel, the US, or maybe France’s Jews.

    4. Tokyo Tom says:

      Just as conspiracy theorists find it difficult to get past their paranoia, others will see conspiracy theorists, or Muslim fundamentalists, everywhere . . .

      Part of our built-in pattern-recognition programming, I suppose.

      Myself, I tend to see alot of conflict in terms so difficulties in integration stemming from our tribal nature.

    5. Sean Kinsell says:

      “Just as conspiracy theorists find it difficult to get past their paranoia, others will see conspiracy theorists, or Muslim fundamentalists, everywhere….”

      Well, Tom, when the people in question are mostly Muslims and they’re attacking the Western democracy that’s handing them a livelihood, I don’t think you have to be paranoid, in 2005, to (1) wonder whether maybe the more virulent varieties of Islamic fundamentalism had a role in goading them into action and (2) expect a certain rather wide swath of the chattering classes to start saying that the real blame lies with those who aren’t indulging them enough. I mean, that does strike me as legitimate pattern recognition (as opposed to wishfully shoehorning events into a framework one just happens to like without regard for whether they really fit it).

    6. Tokyo Tom says:

      Sean, it sounds more like you’ve identified an enemy and see him everywhere to me. Same is true of the Iranians who blame the French disturbances on the Jews.

      You’re right that there are conspiracy theorists out there. The question is – are they evil, or just stuck with a big case of a quintessentially human flaw?

      I am with you on wondering about point (1), but like Den Beste don’t see it as a big factor in France, but do you have any serious doubt that there will be some real blowback from Iraq? I think that’s legitimate pattern recognition. As to (2), I see very little of this argument.

    7. Sean Kinsell says:

      Wait a minute–I don’t think den Beste said it wasn’t a big factor. What he said was that there were a lot of different factors and that no single one dominated. That I would certainly concur with. Why blowback from Iraq would be directed against France, the government of which has been opposed to the invasion from the get-go, is not clear to me. England I could see; France I don’t.

      As far as the second point goes, I doubt anyone’s putting it quite as baldly or cynically as I did, but have you heard many commentators treat Sarkozy’s approach? Except for the usual die-hard conservatives, one isn’t hearing much skepticism about the value of yet more appeasement/outreach programs.

    Leave a Reply