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November 14, 2005

Is Paris Burning?

Jason Grabill

I really don't give a whit whether all of France is in flames, truth be told, but I just thought that was a great headline! Of course, it speaks of a time when the French really were under an occupying army and depredations were commonplace.

Now, however, we have gangs of marauding youths burning everything flammable in France. Paris, we are told, is the latest to bear the brunt of the underprivileged masses, most of whom come from former French territories, who migrated to France seeking a better life.

What they got was third or fourth class citizenship in a socialist country that promises streets of gold and a chicken in every pot for all citizens. When these promises weren't kept, the young people, for whom, apparently, there are no jobs and little upward mobility potential, have resorted to violence.

The spark that set this off occurred almost a fortnight ago, when two of these people were being chased by the gendarmes, and managed to get themselves electrocuted by running across live wires on the tram lines.

Now, personally, my first response to this is "Shouldn't have been running from the police." Truth be told, most people probably feel that way when the bad guy gets himself into such predicaments.

Now, however, the French government is in a quandary. First, of course, is "How do we surrender to ourselves?" Oops. There I go again, making fun of the French.

Of course, the French sort of invite abuse. It would be rude not to accept it. But, these days, it's not even much of a challenge. The one ray of hope in France seems to be a minister of something or another, who called those rioting "Scum."

Naturally, this has brought hell and damnation down upon him by all the other cheese-eating, surrender types, who urge "understanding" and whatnot. Yeah, right. "Understanding" has gotten them days of rioting, burning, looting, and pillaging.

Now the French government is using helicopters.....not to fire on arsonists, mind you, but to take video of the little nits lighting fires, thus making a record of the destruction for later prosecution.

"Stiff penalties" have been promised for those caught, by various government officials and ministers. The threats do not seem to have slowed things down, as now, we are told, the orgy of destruction is not only the "suburbs" of Paris, but Paris itself, and every other part of France, stretching from near the German border to the coast of Normandy.

It does tickle me that France is getting a dose of her own medicine here. Whenever we have had these problems in our own country, the haughty French like to look down their Gallic noses and proclaim their superiority. Matter of fact, they tend to do that anyway, I think, just for the heck of it.

Now, there are brave French; the French Foreign Legion (albeit made up largely of non-French), the French Marines, and a few others. But, by and large, I think the stuffing has been long gone from the Gauls. This, of course, is why they tend to live in the past, while ignoring the present, which is what has gotten them into the mess they are in now.

So, the question "Is Paris Burning?" can now be answered in the affirmative. Except it's not the jackbooted storm troopers carrying the torches, it's the French themselves.

*"Is Paris Burning?" is not only the title of a movie, but the actual line that Hitler cabled to the commander of Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz, in 1944. Hitler had ordered that the city become a "smoking ruin" if in danger of capture by advancing allied armies; General von Choltitz, to his credit, chose to disregard the order. Hitler ordered his death "in absentia."

Until next time, Stay Low!

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