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By TheophileEscargot (Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 10:28:34 AM EST) Reading, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "The French Intifada". Links.


What I'm Reading
Continuing a theme, read The French Intifada by Andrew Hussey. Book about the relationship between France and Islam. He starts off in the banlieus of Paris, deprived areas with large Muslim/Arab populations, with interviews. There's some fascinating stuff there. He points out the gulf between what actually happens and the coverage by the French media, who report riots through a kind of 1960s lens.
Several other newspapers, including the right-wing Le Figaro, reported the same facts with a shiver of horror, adding that the crowds had been chanting "A bas l'état, les flics et les patrons" ("Down with the state, the coppers and the bosses"), thereby domesticating the riot as part of the Parisian folklore of rebellion.

But the problem was that none of these accounts was true. The kids I saw didn't give a fuck about the state or the "bosses". Most of them didn't have jobs anyway. And although they did hate the police, they would never have used an old-fashioned slang word like flics, which belongs to the Parisian equivalent of the Krays' generation. For the rioters, the police were either keufs or schmitts. The chanting I heard was mostly in French: "Nik les schmitts" ("Fuck the cops"), and sometimes in English: "Fuck the police!" But there was another slogan, chanted in colloquial Arabic, which seemed to hit hardest of all: "Na'al abouk la France!" ("Fuck France!"). This slogan – it is in fact more of a curse – has nothing to do with any French tradition of revolt.
He highlights the anti-semitism that sometimes gets overlooked, drawing attention to the notorious killing of Ilan Halimi. He also points out some oddities like the use of English names and sometimes English language slogans "Fuck the police". I also didn't realise that there was a "banlieuesard accent" that marks out people from the estates.

Hussey then moves on to a long account of French colonial history in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. This is somewhat interesting and fairly shocking in its accounts of atrocities on both sides, especially the massacres. However it does get a bit draining. It might have been better to do the whole account chronologically, rather than do it country by country.

The book also has a good summary of the concepts of laïcité ("secularism") and the "mission civilatrice". With the historical context it becomes a lot clearer why laïcité is a controversial concept. Historically it's been used as a way to exclude Muslims. For instance in Algeria, to become a citizen you had to accept French law rather than Islamic law, which was essentially impossible for most observant Muslims: the convenient effect was that white colons could be citizens but not Arab or Berber Algerians.

He returns to the present day for the the last couple of chapters, looking at the French prison system and how it may act as an incubator of radicalism. However, he doesn't come to any positive conclusions or recommendations, coming to a somber conclusion.

Overall an informative and interesting book.

Links
Socioeconomics. 5 biases pushing women out of STEM. Deficit and productivity: "The French could take Friday off and still produce more than Britons do in a week". India’s Experiment in Basic Income Grants, video:

There was a shift from ration shops to markets...
Better health helped to explain the improved school attendance and performance...
The scheme had positive equity outcomes...
The basic income grants led to small-scale investments – more and better seeds, sewing machines, establishment of little shops, repairs to equipment...
Contrary to the skeptics, the grants led to more labor and work...
Those with basic income were more likely to reduce debt and less likely to go into greater debt...

Articles. Judith Clarke: lawyer to the undefendable.

Random. "Spicy Detective" magazine guidelines.

Sci/Tech. Nutrition not pelvis limits human pregnancy. DEA agents stole Bitcoin during Silk Road bust. The code is just the symptom. The FedEx problem, via.

Pics. Customised water cup. Pratchett graffiti art.

Politics. Podemos. What austerity looks like inside Greece. #JeNeSuisPasLiberal: Entering the Quagmire of Online Leftism, via. "Suspects pleading not guilty in the Crown court will risk paying a court fee of £1,200 if convicted under guidelines slipped into legislation without debate in the final days of the current parliament", Magistrate's blog. Diagram of the British far right. Lords accuse Tories of ‘burying’ review that cleared EU of interference. Fullfact on UK leaders' debate.

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French and Islam by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 11:24:18 AM EST
There was an interesting review of the Houellebecq book Soumission that takes it as more anti-Enlightenment than anti-Islam. (I haven't read the novel.) Via.

Michel Houellebecq has created a new genre—the dystopian conversion tale. Soumission is not the story some expected of a coup d’état, and no one in it expresses hatred or even contempt of Muslims. It is about a man and a country who through indifference and exhaustion find themselves slouching toward Mecca. There is not even drama here—no clash of spiritual armies, no martyrdom, no final conflagration. Stuff just happens, as in all Houellebecq’s fiction. All one hears at the end is a bone-chilling sigh of collective relief. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. Whatever.


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I've heard that by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 01:23:17 PM EST
It's not as anti-Islamic as its reputation, or it's author's reputation, suggests.

Haven't read it. Might look out for it in the library, not sure I'd bother buying it.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
link to so called "far right" groups by gmd (2.00 / 2) #3 Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 03:43:03 PM EST
 should realistically talk about them as "Nationalist".

BNP policies are very much of the left, and UKIP are even to the left of Thatcherite Conservatives.

It also misses out some key far right players, notably the burgeoning UK Islamofascist movement.


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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
sir, though i may disapprove what you say, by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 06:43:31 PM EST
i defend to the death your right to say it!

[ Parent ]
Why thank you. by gmd (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 07:52:13 PM EST
I was beginning to fear this site was to become a hotbed of censorship, groupthink and cliquishness, and we all know what that toxic combination did for K5 and Slashdot.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
The coppers and the bosses | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback