I was riding up in the elevator, and I had bought a copy of The Ottawa Citizen, and had it tucked under my arm when a co-worker said, "Wow, reading a right-wing rag", "Yep". And I came across a telling series of events that illustrated my co-worker's point. The paris suburbs have basically descended into anarchy over the past two weeks, everybody agrees that they've been a problem for some time as this article points out. But instead of looking at what is actually going on in the country, this op-ed piece by Keith Spicer of which I can only give quotations because the Ottawa Citizen, among their other flaws, doesn't actually publish their material online. So I can only give you clap-trap like

Even more than elsewhere, French politicians paly in a little sand box of their own, with their own games, theit own ambitiions, their own vague, impenetrable vocabulary. "Social growth", "social fracture", "solidarity", damnable "ultra-liberalism". The entire French political establishjment is now mired in fuzzy leftist language. [...]


The dreamy model of multiculturalism promoted by Europe's leveral intelligentsia has been going up in smoke on the streets of Paris

Some have tried to link [the original two children's] deaths to police racism. That strikes as too simplistic

If you were to read the Citizen, you would think that the riots in Paris were caused by fuzzy leftist thinking. However, if you read real news, you realize that this analysis is 100% wrong. France is not a fuzzy leftist paradise. The prime minister can most liberally be described as center-right, and the minister of the interior is even far to the right of the prime minister. The riots in Paris have nothing to do with "Ultra-liberalism" and everything to do with the following, gleaned from the article linked to above in the beeb.

Last April, Amnesty International singled out the violence and racism of the French police towards the non-white people of the suburbs for particular criticism.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the Interior Minister, now seems to be playing politics with the situation by appealing to the most basic and resentful attitudes of conservative France.

This second viewpoint fits in with what I know of France. France is not some ultra-left country, it nearly elected a neo-nazi not too long ago. It's very socially conservative, though their values are slightly different than conservative values in the US or Canada.

Normally I would chalk this up to a media bias that is different from mine, but the editorials in the Citizen seem to be attributing these riots to "fuzzy leftism" when, even as they acknowledge later, there is no evidence of this, and plenty of evidence to the contrary. When specified for details, they describe the french minister of the interior as a "Law and order man," they describe the prime minister as "on the right" They admit to the possibility that "The Paris riots are perhaps a backlash against France's clumsy efforts to homogenize the population" and "de Villepin ridiculed Britain's multicultural model, slyly referring to the London subway bombings as a consequence of too-soft policies"

What the Citizen seems to be saying is that, although all the people in control are right-wing, the riots are the result of "Fuzzy leftist thinking". Sounds like "Fuzzy right-wing thinking" to me.


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08 November 2005