Here’s a really excellent post at The Belgravia Dispatch on issues facing France. Until this whole thing unraveled I really had no idea Europe was facing such serious integration problems. Interesting stuff. In a way I think this helps validate affirmitive action policies here in the United States. Granted our policies are not perfect, but they are certainly better than France’s policy of ignoring the problem.
It’s more a tragic result of a Hobbesian, gritty life in satellite towns devoid of hope and jobs and dignity–where youth feel disenfranchised, unmoored, without a nation really. Indeed, too many of the young see themselves as 93’ers (the postal code most afflicted by the violence to date)–before they are Frenchmen. Somehow, this must change. Part of such change must be ensuring that moderate Islamic tenets are allowed a place at the table in modern France. Part of it is dealing with the racial aspects of ensuring Arabs and Africans are not thought of as second class citizens. Part of it is jobs, obviously. And a sense of dignity.
Also, while your on the Belgravia Dispatch, check out thier incredible blogroll.