What is going on in France? It's just horrifying and incredibly sad. During the week of Eid too.
MSNBC: Urban unrest continues
BBC: Nicholas Sarkozy warns of tough action on rioters.
Of course, what to make of it all depends on one's ideology. Michelle Malkin has a helpful roundup of conservative bloggers going nuts. From some, the hatefulness is amazing. There is almost a sense of glee, of schadenfreude, of "see, this is what you get for appeasing those bastards."
I've not been able to find any similar round up from the left. But I haven't dug too deep. Here's Bartholomew's Notes on Religion, Paris Riots sets US demagogues alight. One Salient Oversight ("The pontifications of an evangelical polymath cassandra." I love it!) has an interesting comparison with the LA riots of 1992. Time has a backgrounder, written on the third day of the riots (well, I guess MSM is kinda Leftish. Which makes me kinda rightish, I guess, for having that perspective!). And this blog over at mediagirl.org ("progressive, feminist, empowered") agonizes that the rioters are just giving "them" (i.e. right-wing fanatics) the ammunition they need.
As I see it (and no, I'm no savvy analyst), these are the two ends of the spectrum: one that would blame the French, for ghettoization and marginalization, for unemployment and oppression, which lead to this outburts. Solution? Be fair and just. The other would blame Islam, and too much Muslim immigration. Solution? Crack down. Expel. Close borders.
Ok, those are probably caricatures. But a good rhetorical device, so that I can show that my take isn't extremist, quite reasonable, and better than others.
Actually, I don't know that I have a take really. I'm sympathetic to both perspectives. At least, to the latter, in as much as it is a talk about European identity (rather than anti-Muslim screeds. And yes, I do think one needs to be serious about radical Muslim clerics in Europe. But not anti-Muslim.). Francis Fukuyama, writing in the WSJ, has an interesting piece on European identity and "jihadist terrorism." This was written prior to the riots. "A year of living dangerously: remember Theo van Gogh, and shudder for the future." I agree, overall. I do think the question of identity is important here. I'm sympathetic to George Weigel's take as articulated in this interview on his new book (I haven't yet read "The Cube and the Cathedral"). This develops ideas he put in a First Things essay in Feb. 2004. And from what I can gather, this is also the subject of Pope Benedict's book on Europe, "The Europe of Benedict: In the Crisis of Cultures."
Guess that makes me more rightish.
In anycase, we can all pray that the insanity ends soon!