Friday, November 10, 2006

Les banlieus de Paris-Un an après

It has been about a year since the suburbs of Paris and other cities in France were burning. This blog didn't really exist then. So I will take this opportunity to comment on it. Lucky you.

In the U.S., we think of the suburbs as being nice and safe while the downtown area is usually the depressed and dangerous part of a city. Paris is the opposite. Well, that's not totally true, there are some nice suburbs of Paris in the west, but central paris, especially the 16e arrondissement, is exceptionally nice. The suburbs to the north are really the "ghetto" of Paris. I spent some time in Seine-Saint-Denis and let me tell you, it is scary. Unemployment among the young ranges from 50 to 80% in these areas. Crime and drugs are rampant. This is where a lot of Maghreb immigrants ended up several decades ago when manufacturing jobs were plentiful, and now their children find themselves jobless and disenfranchised in the french modèle social. Marseille, in a similar fashion, is also known for being une ville chaude.

It is a sad situation, similar to our own ghettos. I think these riots were a wake-up call to the french, who had grown accustomed to thinking that the their système social could solve all problems of poverty. Not that we're doing much better, mind you. Sadly, it seems that the french authorities, Sarkozy at the front, are reacting in a rather american fashion, by focusing on police enforcement rather than opening a dialogue on what needs to be done to get to the root of the problem. Le Monde article. I mean, I know people can't just run around burning cars, and laws must be enforced, but there's a bigger problem here.

Anyways, here's a great track from a French rap group from Seine-Saint-Denis called NTM. This is from a while ago, but I still like it. I'm not going to tell you what NTM stands for. Ask a french friend :) Bon week-end à tous!


Mademoiselle De Rigueur said...

Can't insert any condescending remarks on the French here. Was talking to Frenchboy about subway in NY, how when you as you go to the center of manhattan, you can see the racial divide (or seperation) Same occurs on metros in Paris.
Asked him if he hung out with people from arrondisements and got a blank stare. Things don't change no matter where you live.

THe french, for all their socialist proclamations, fare no better than the rest of the world. You are right, the focus is always on quelling the insurgencies rather than what led to them.

Mademoiselle De Rigueur said...

I figured out the Links!
I hope you don't mind, I borrowed the ideas from your own.

First Year said...

Hehehehe. Thank you. :)

the default attorney said...

Very true mademoiselle. The 18e in Paris is like being in a different country.

Nomadas Tribe said...

ahh Saint Denis....

Love the culture mix in Francia , they give the key in "mestissage music" I know that you can understand my bad english ;)

They have a lot of things to say!

Good video! thanks