What France Means For Talk Radio
Uncontained Riot Recharges Talk Radio's Dead Batteries
If there's one cure for a Supreme talk radio overdose of nomination boredom, it's an uncontrollable riot.
But one in France? Can internal European issues engage American audiences?
While there may have been some doubt last week, there's simply no question it's now become impossible to ignore. And it's a great way to recharge talk radio's long-drained topical batteries.
Aren't the angles clear?
--- Why does the American media insist on avoiding the words "muslim" or "Islam" in coverage?
--- How can Europeans, quick to lambaste America over "slow" Katrina response times, explain France's inability to get a handle on the situation?
--- Why did Chirac, for more than a week, remain silent on the unfolding crisis?
--- Doesn't it prove, once and for all, that appeasement doesn't work? That our enemies look for weaknesses to exploit?
--- Is it the start of a jihad against the whole of Europe? Could it spread to America? Would we tolerate it here?
--- With its increasingly-apparent sophistication and coordination, how did it so easily catch France off-guard?
--- How much worse will it get before the French begin to fight back? Are they capable of defending themselves?
--- Will France ever again be in a position to criticize any foreign government, on any issue?
Columnist Mark Steyn, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, sheds the most light on the situation's stark reality:
Ever since 9/11, I've been gloomily predicting the European powder keg's about to go up.
''By 2010 we'll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on the news every night,'' I wrote in Canada's Western Standard back in February.
Silly me. The Eurabian civil war appears to have started some years ahead of my optimistic schedule.
As Thursday's edition of the Guardian reported in London:
''French youths fired at police and burned over 300 cars last night as towns around Paris experienced their worst night of violence in a week of urban unrest.''
''French youths,'' huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse?
Granted that most of the "youths" are technically citizens of the French Republic, it doesn't take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as ''French'': They're young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity more implacable than anything you're likely to find in the Middle East.
After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an explosive ''Arab street,'' but it's in Clichy-sous-Bois. The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry.
If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans?
For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc.
The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest.
They seem to have lost that battle.
Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.
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Graphics by David A Lunde