I have been watching the trouble grow in gay Paris for the last 12 days like the rest of the world has and only one question pops into my head. Does France not have a military, or, like during WWII, do they just not know how to use it?

There is a famous joke about a French rifle that was being sold at auction. It went “For Sale: One new French rifle. Never fired. Dropped twice.” What is it that creates a climate of political paralysis such as the one on display across the Atlantic? It seems that France, for the most part, has even worse leadership than we do.

Speculation has it that the rioting, which has now spread to 400 towns, was sparked when two youths, who were running from the police, were electrocuted when they chose to hide in an electrical transformer station. Remarks by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who referred to rioters as ‘scum’ have exacerbated the situation. The opposition has called for him to resign. For what it is worth, Mr. Sarkozy may be on to something, but as is the case in Canada, the truth is sometimes unpalatable and politically dangerous.

While we sit in our living rooms or in our offices mesmerized by the images of destruction and chaos, we hear that the under-privileged underclass is rising up against injustice. Generations of immigrants and their French children feel as though they have been left out. They are excluded from politics, effective education, and commerce. Minority leaders are quick to blame the French government, but this is not entirely the case. In fact, some of the violence is being caused by minority leaders stoking the fires of discontentment. They are not on the side of the Muslim youth, but have their own agenda.

To participate in civil disobedience is sometimes the duty of a man or woman who wishes to protect their freedom. Sometimes it is indeed necessary to contravene the law, such as when some Americans helped defeat slavery, and then segregation. What is taking place in France is not civil disobedience, but thuggery and violence. There is a report that an elderly woman was burned when she was doused with gasoline and the bus she was on was lit on fire. One man perished the night before last while trying to put out a fire. He was beaten to death.

One youth, Moussa, said that the object of the violence for him and his friends was to score points. “If we get on the TV, if they say we stoned the cops, for us that’s a victory, a way to show we’re men, like the rituals in Mali,” he said. Someone should point out that Mali was bad enough for Moussa’s family to flee to France. One has to wonder why the youth would want to turn their new home into the one they left. His friend, Youssef, said “We’re trippin’ to see all them flames on the TV” These destitute families have somehow found a way to ensure that their teenagers can afford to wear brand name clothing like their rap idols. The problem runs deeper than financial exclusion. It is a question of what one is taught.

It is time to put a stop to this nonsense.

I am going to put forward a question that I have yet to hear asked. It is said that the violence is occurring among the poorer neighborhoods of France, where there is a high concentration of immigrants. If things are so bad in France, why do these people continue to immigrate there? As bad as things are made out to be, they are apparently a lot worse in the nations from which this mass of humanity came from. Now I am not trying to put all of the blame on immigrating aliens. Indeed, France has welcomed these people into their society. Now they must help them to integrate into French culture. If this is not possible, I would suggest that France close its doors.

The people must accept some responsibility for its own plight, as should the government for years of social programming and engineering that has time and again been proven to simply not work. A people must be equipped and inspired to pull itself out of poverty, not simply handed something to eat. Hopelessness and despair are hereditary, and are passed on to each new generation. The only cure for it is opportunity and that is something that the underclass of France feels that it does not have.

Anarchy is not the answer, but France’s leaders (or lack of) seem immobilized by fear and shock. It seems that nobody knows how to effectively deal with the current situation, except for those on the wrong side of the law.

If France wishes to remain a free republic, it had better learn to keep order in its own house, and it had better put this fire out before there is nothing left to burn.

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