Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Le Xington and Concorde?

In France, did we watch at Clichy-sous-Bois the "cars burned 'round the world," much as our first stand at Lexington Green was the "shot heard round the world?"

Is this jihadi inspired or grievance inspired? Since the France riots by young Moslems erupted and have spread, I have wondered which explanation is true. I've leaned to the grievance inspired side even as I've looked for evidence that jihadis are calling the shots.

Strategypage comes down squarely on the grievance side:

There are some Islamic radicals running around in all this, but they are a minority. The Moslem kids like to talk about respect and payback, but very few see this as a religious war. It’s become a sport, with various groups competing to cause the most destruction. Text messaging, Internet bulletin boards and email made it possible for the rioters to stay in touch and compare notes. The media coverage also encouraged the violence, giving the kids some positive (for them) feedback.

But now, nearly two weeks of street violence have thoroughly embarrassed the government so much that curfews and more arrests have taken some of the joy out of these Autumn antics. But it’s not jihad, and never has been.

This all sounds reasonable. This year's rioting is based on lack of opportunity and is not jihad coming to Europe this year.

But this begs the question of what happens next time? First of all, I obviously assume there will be a next time. I assume this because I don't think the French are capable of opening their economy, government, or society enough to bring these suburban aliens into French life. So hopes raised by increased government attention to their plight will be dashed in a few years by pitiful results that leave France's Moslems in pretty much the exact same spot as September 2005. A few dozen more Social Cohesion mime academies won't count as progress.

My fear is that the jihadis in France will increasingly lead the alien and alienated Moslems of France. Remember our own Revolution. When colonists first confronted British soldiers with arms in April 1775 at Lexington and Concord, and then lay siege to the British in Boston, we did not seek political separation. Our forebears only wanted their rights as Englishmen recognized. It was not until July 1776, more than a year later, that we made independence from the British our official goal.

This is not jihad and it never has been, says Strategypage. But this says nothing of the future. Will it become jihad? A cry for rights can become a cry for separation in remarkably short time. Will we look back at the events at Clichy-sous-Bois as the first clash leading to a declaration of independence by France's Moslems?