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Passions in Poetry

Paris Burning

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Huan Yi
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0 posted 11-06-2005 12:41 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi



http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,174670,00.html


"Civil war is declared. There will no doubt be deaths. Unfortunately, we have to prepare," said a posting signed "Rania."

"We are going to destroy everything. Rest in peace, guys," wrote "Saint Denis."

So what should France do  ?
Aenimal
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1 posted 11-06-2005 04:11 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

..
Huan Yi
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2 posted 11-06-2005 09:28 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi



Paris Rioters Set Woman Afire as Violence Spreads

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,174533,00.html

Aenimal
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3 posted 11-06-2005 05:30 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4412590.stm

"We'd like to be accountants or work in businesses, but we know that as soon as people hear we have Muslim names and that we live on the Mitry estate in Aulnay, we won't even get interviews"

"We're black so we know we won't be able to achieve what we want in our lives."

"We want to go to university, but we know our qualifications won't be worth as much as those who live in central Paris."

Those are voices of the future. What should Paris do? What we should all be doing, focussing on poverty, peace and creating some semblance of hope for the next generation. Whether it's terrorism or frustration, the cause stems from these same factors and the problems will only continue and escalate.
Huan Yi
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4 posted 11-06-2005 09:12 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“There are two solid reasons for pessimism. The first is the way the rioters have seized on Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy as their elemental hate-figure.

To hear the words of the protesters, and indeed much of the reporting of the violence, one can sometimes get the impression that Mr Sarkozy actually created the unrest.

In fact his rhetoric, while undoubtedly uncompromising and hardline, has been wilfully misinterpreted, and not just by the rioters.

To describe the bands of youths rampaging through the suburbs as "yobs" or "rabble" - which he did - is not quite the same as describing all inhabitants of the suburbs as "scum", which is how it has sometimes come across in the media.

Nonetheless, legitimately or otherwise, the minister is now seen by many inhabitants of the suburbs - as well as the left-wing opposition - as part of the problem.

But if they believe there is the remotest chance of his standing down, then they are mistaken.

After initial doubts, Mr Sarkozy now has the backing of the rest of the government, and the longer the riots go on, the more he appears justified in his firm line. He will remain as the rioters' hate figure for some time yet.

Universal response

The other reason for pessimism is that the rioters can read in much of the reaction to their rampages a legitimisation of what they have done.

The universal press response - both national and international, left and right - has been to point out how the French model of integration has failed, and how the suburbs have become exploding cauldrons.

From every direction come calls for a new assessment, but some calls are stronger than others.

An editorialist in Le Monde, for example compared the riots to May 1968, and expressed the hope that just as the student uprising forced a major - and in the writer's view - positive change to French society, so will these. That is not exactly an encouragement for the violence to cease. . . .”


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4412968.stm


Huan Yi
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5 posted 11-06-2005 10:53 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“To attribute the riot to "frustration" and "no work" is to indulge a highly questionable view of human action that reduces it to environmental forces outside the individual. This materialist determinism — the idea that material causes in the environment, especially economic ones, are the prime mover of humans — is not a scientific fact but an ideological prejudice whose roots lay in pseudo-scientists like Marx and Freud. It discards the fact of human free will and ignores the many complex and conflicting motivations of people that explain their actions. Sometimes people burn and loot out of economic frustration and hopelessness; sometimes they do so because of the innate joy in destruction and in the power that such destruction temporarily bestows; sometimes they do so because they want stuff for free; sometimes they do so in pursuit of some value or ideal; and sometimes they do so just for the sheer hell of it.”


http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/thornton110605.html
Huan Yi
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6 posted 11-07-2005 08:42 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4413250.stm


Note a change in tone in BBC reporting.
Huan Yi
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7 posted 11-08-2005 01:21 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“Vandals burned more than 1,400 vehicles overnight into Monday, as well as churches, schools and businesses, and injured 36 police officers in clashes around the country, setting a new high for arson and violence, said France's national police chief, Michel Gaudin. Attacks were reported in 274 towns, and police made 395 arrests.”


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,174745,00.html


Churches?
Ratleader
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8 posted 11-08-2005 07:51 PM       View Profile for Ratleader   Email Ratleader   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ratleader's Home Page   View IP for Ratleader

We are seeing the Cycle Of Violence played out.... the REAL one.

Here's how it goes:

                              1- They (any "they") hate you
                               more today than yesterday
                                                                      
                                                                        
4- They hate you more                                    2- So they take another shot
  and now disrespect too                                    at you out of sheer spite
                                                                          
                                                                      
                                3- You respond too weakly  
                                   or inappropriately
                                
Midnitesun
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9 posted 11-08-2005 08:55 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

no matter where or when it occurs, the cycle of violence always has a similar beginning
it rests within the act/the moment that we treat anyone else as less than...
and so, it isn't just about poverty, for sometimes, even the wealthy and secure  become violent
Ratleader
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10 posted 11-08-2005 11:06 PM       View Profile for Ratleader   Email Ratleader   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ratleader's Home Page   View IP for Ratleader

It begins when someone hates, and thinks they can get away with a spiteful act. Sometimes the hate is caused by the one who is hated, but usually it isn't. It comes from the mind of the person who hates, or from those -- most often parents -- who taught that person to hate.

It seldom comes from being treated as "less than." The real source is a feeling of entitlement -- of being "more than" -- and therefore entitled to something special, which of course goes unfulfilled in a real world, because it is based on unrealistic expectations. The old saying, "If you want someone to hate you, do him a favor," holds true in the macro as well as the micro...to "underprivileged" groups as well as to some individual who thinks he's not getting what the world owes him, and hits out at the folks he thinks are responsible.
jbouder
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11 posted 11-09-2005 08:30 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

quote:
It seldom comes from being treated as "less than." The real source is a feeling of entitlement -- of being "more than" -- and therefore entitled to something special, which of course goes unfulfilled in a real world, because it is based on unrealistic expectations.


This might be true in the U.S., but it isn't in France.  This isn't about poverty ... poverty is the symptom.  The real problems are the continuation of colonial-era repression and the proliferation of Arab nationalism.  Interestingly, the roots of modern terrorism lie in 1950s French Algeria.  Many of those rioting are decendents of native north African people (both Arab and non-Arab natives) who were colonized but never truly assimilated into French culture.

I'd Recommend General Paul Aussarresses (Sp?) book, "The Battle of the Casbah" for the French perspective, Gillo Portecova's movie, "The Battle of Algiers" and Franz Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth" for the Algerian perspective, and Albert Camus's Algerian Letters in "Resistance, Rebellion, and Death" for middle ground.  Also, Mouloud Feraoun's excellent "Reflections on the French Algerian War" offer the non-Arab Algerian perspective.

The problems in France are 100+ year-old problems, and should serve as a reminder to the U.S. that our "War on Terror" could (and probably will) last for generations.

Jim
Ratleader
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12 posted 11-09-2005 09:27 AM       View Profile for Ratleader   Email Ratleader   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ratleader's Home Page   View IP for Ratleader

quote:
This might be true in the U.S., but it isn't in France.  This isn't about poverty ... poverty is the symptom.  The real problems are the continuation of colonial-era repression and the proliferation of Arab nationalism.

Exactly -- I believe we're having the same thought but expressing it differently. When I see that kind of voluntary apartheid, I think of the attitudes that bring it about as coming from the "better than" feeling I mentioned in one, or maybe both, groups. France hasn't held people out deliberately, and in fact absorbed colonial immigrants as full French citizens from the start; it's the attitude that kept them separate.
Midnitesun
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13 posted 11-09-2005 01:29 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

lol
somehow the semantics obfuscate

for to treat someone else as 'less than me'
is essentially the same as treating 'myself as better than s(he)'

mho


jbouder
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14 posted 11-09-2005 03:46 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

The French actually resisted granting full citizenship to native Algerians for over a half century.  I would say this was deliberate.  This failure resulted in violent protests in the 1950s, the Setif Massacre, and The French-Algerian War (which was punctuated by the first terrorist activity ... the bombing of civilian targets in Algiers and by torture as a means to extract information on Algerian terrorist cells).  Perhaps the revolution in Algeria was justified (I think that it was), but the resultant nationalism was doomed to become as bigotted as the colonialist French policies.

The situation in France is complicated, but important for those interested in knowing more about the roots of modern terrorism and Arab and African attitudes toward the west.

Jim

Aenimal
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15 posted 11-09-2005 05:47 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

(which was punctuated by the first terrorist activity ... the bombing of civilian targets in Algiers and by torture as a means to extract information on Algerian terrorist cells)

Actually, recorded acts of terrorism predate this. Israeli's commonly used terrorist tactics against Palestineans and English, as early as 1937.
Ron
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16 posted 11-09-2005 06:14 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Terrorist tactics is a rather poorly defined phrase, I think, and in some views would likely predate written history.

I guess Israeli's might also qualify as poorly defined, since I would have probaby said none existed in 1937.
Local Rebel
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17 posted 11-09-2005 06:58 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Josephus recorded acts of terrorism by the Jew's against the Romans -- the first known record of suicide attacks in my body of knowledge.  An attacker would conceal a dagger, get close to the soldiers and kill one -- the other soldiers in proximity would then proceed to hack the assailant to bits (ergo the phrase 'suicide attack').  This was done to engender rage in the Israelis so they would join the resistance movement(s).

Of course, it wasn't terrorism that ended the Roman Empire though -- it was declining morality resulting in political incivility, over-confidence and over-extension abroad, and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government.

I like Jim's contribution re French imperialism and the Algiers war -- it touches directly on the main issue of what generates terrorism -- and that's having one's homeland occupied by a foreign power.

Ratleader's comment re: 'less-than' is also touching on the underlying anthropological motivation to the central issue as well.

There have been several threads regarding welfare vs. work, socialism vs. pure capitalism, etc.. and they have lacked in bringing out the expression of what really motivates people.

If people were motivated by money -- there would be no Rolls Royce, Cadillac, or Mercedes Benz. There would, instead, be fat savings accounts and certificates of deposits and people would be driving very inexpensive, energy efficient, no-frills vehicles -- if they owned a vehicle at all.

My daughter's high school is within walking distance of my house.  The stadium there is lit up on many Friday evenings when there is a home game.  It is full of students who are motivated to play football, cheer-lead, and play in marching bands with no remuneration at all, and in many cases not even a credit toward graduation.  What motivates these students?

My son sits for hours (when I allow it) playing his gamecube building up points, acquiring skills and weapons and awards that are entirely useless outside that artificial universe.  He fields calls from his friends while he does this who call mainly to either ask for advice about how to advance in the games they are playing or to brag to him about their own accomplishments.

People don't want drills -- they want holes.  People don't want money -- they want what they can get with money (beyond the basic necessities of life -- sometimes even instead of )

It should be noted that the rioters in France are complaining because they can't get Jobs.  They want jobs.  They want to work -- they are not allowed... even though in France, as in almost all of Western Europe a human being is afforded the necessities of life including healthcare -- so what is it that is really pissing these people off?

If we look at the problem of Colonialism and the problem of 'less-than' -- we see the same basic motivator in human beings -- it is Status.  

Take a look at the little microcosm Ron's created here -- what value do little stars by someone's screen name convey to anyone who is not a Pipster?  What has happened in the past when people have felt they aren't getting the recognition some other's attain in the Open forum?  Why do people want to keep poems on the top?  Why have people started Net terrorism over 'cliques'?  

In France, as in most of Europe -- there is a different paradigm for denoting status than even having a job though -- that's a more American trait.  Here in America when we meet a new person we're most likely to ask that person 'What do you do?' or 'Where do you work?'.  The more typical European inquiry would be 'Where are you from?'.  Social mobility is not a tradition in Europe.  One could attain all the money in the world and never change status.  

So, it is in my opinion a correct assessment that this isn't a financial problem at the root cause.
This doesn't, however, make the point that social justice doesn't 'work' or that providing the basic necessities to all citizens is a bad idea -- it can, and will, under the right paradigms be a springboard to better competition and private enterprise -- another subject for another day -- and, besides that -- it's the civil way to behave.


jbouder
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18 posted 11-10-2005 04:28 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Aenimal, Ron & Hawke:

I should have written "modern" terrorism ... then it could have meant whatever I wanted it to.

Hawke:

I'm not certain that occupation by a foreign power alone necessarily leads to terrorism.  In the case of the French in Africa, France approached native Africans as social Darwinian superiors aiming to civilize the natives ... what France called its "Civilizing Mission."  Unfortunately, many French settlers (called "pied noir") failed to consider the natives as equals in their humanity and dignity (Camus was criticized for this for never naming/acknowledging the Arabs in "The Stranger" and "The Plague").

I like Camus' thoughts on this ... they are amazingly timely ... but I fear they are naive:

quote:
The inexcusable massacring of French civilians leads to equally stupid destruction of the Arabs and their possessions.  It is as if two insane people, crazed with wrath, had decided to turn into a fatal embrace the forced marriage from which they cannot free themselves and because each of them by his excesses strengthens the motives and excesses of the other, the storm of death that has struck our country can only increase to the point of general destruction. You Arabs must spare no effort to show your people that, when they kill civilian populations, terrorism not only raises justifiable doubts as to the political maturity of men capable of such acts but also strengthens the anti-Arab elements, reinforces their arguments, and silences French liberal opinion which might find and put through some solution leading to reconciliation.


His observations, in hindsight, were (I believe) correct, but during his lifetime drew considerable criticism from the likes of Sartre.

I find it distressing that the senseless massacre of Americans on 9/11 has led to the senseless massacre of thousands more Arab civilians.  This is not to say that American Middle East policy does not serve a valid economic and military objective, but only that Atta and his colleagues, by killing a few thousand Americans, have brought exponentially greater suffering to the people they (misguidedly) aimed to vindicate.

Jim
Aenimal
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19 posted 11-11-2005 02:03 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

quote:
I guess Israeli's might also qualify as poorly defined, since I would have probaby said none existed in 1937


Yes, you caught me being lazy. Israel wasn't established in 1948, therefore attacks before this period were more accurately carried out by Jewish zionists(yes there are other forms of zionism).

With regards to terrorism, I was dealing with modern terrorist tactics. Staples of modern terrorism like car/hotel bombings, cafe attacks, letter-bombs, airline hi-jacking and hostage taking/killing, all commonly employed by Jewish zionists against Palestineans and British officials from 1937-1954.

quote:
I find it distressing that the senseless massacre of Americans on 9/11 has led to the senseless massacre of thousands more Arab civilians.  This is not to say that American Middle East policy does not serve a valid economic and military objective, but only that Atta and his colleagues, by killing a few thousand Americans, have brought exponentially greater suffering to the people they (misguidedly) aimed to vindicate.



Well said Jim
icebox
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20 posted 11-12-2005 03:52 PM       View Profile for icebox   Email icebox   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for icebox

I remember statements in the French media regarding civil unrest in the USA in the 1960's that put forth the proposition that such unrest simply proved the USA was home to an inherently flawed culture.  

Oh well, I guess they know what they were talking about.

 
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