Thursday, November 10, 2005

France: Alternate view

Denis Boyles, a noted Francophobe, has an alternate, depressing view about how the Chirac government will deal with the intifada.

They'll wait it out.

His reasoning? The Chirac government waited out a the 2003 heat wave crisis which roasted 15,000 elderly French alive by, well, ignoring it and punishing anyone who reported it. Ergo, they will do the same here where the body count is much, much lower.

During that awful summer, as bodies choked morgues and doctors begged for help, Chirac said and did nothing for weeks — nothing at all, except to have his functionaries announce there was no crisis and punish those who said there was. After the crisis peaked, Chirac went on TV from his vacation home but only to tell the country not to worry. A year after the event, the health minister resigned and the government announced that in future heatwaves, everybody should go to the movies because they're air-conditioned. Otherwise, that most serious of social crises caused absolutely no visible change in French political life. A country that can shrug off manslaughter on a massive scale can easily overlook a few weeks of juvenile mischief. If they're smart, next year they'll just declare it a holiday. Or perhaps the French government will produce a typically Gallic remedy and ban the rioters' traditional headcoverings so we won't be able to tell the Muslims from the Marxists.
It's not going to happen now. This "serious social crisis" will be solved exactly the same way Chirac solved that far more serious social crisis two years ago: by lying low and waiting it out. The summer of 2003, after all, finally waned. The weather broke and the crisis was solved, by God. Curfews won't cut it now. One of these nights, the rioters will run out of matches and Citroens, the weather will turn cold, and Chirac's France will once again be at peace.

Of course this won't solve the little but growing Fallujah problem but it will keep the current government in power.

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