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November 7th, 2005

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03:59 am - Paris is burning
For more than a week and a half there has been rioting in France with firebombs being thrown into schools and churches and cars set ablaze. Police have been attacked in rioting all across France, from Strasbourg to Toulouse and Saint-Etienne, as well as the capital. (Newswire story here)

The rioters are immigrants of Arab and African origin and their French-born children and grandchildren, with most being Muslim. These persons have not integrated well into French society, despite efforts at multiculturalism, and have become a permanent underclass, with their neighborhoods often being labeled as "no go" zones for those of ethnic French ancestry.

The current riots are only a symptom of a larger, more intractable problem, one that has been seen across Western Europe, from Scandanavia on south. Liberal immigration policies and a lack of cultural integration have created a problem that spans the continent.

Ethnic Europeans are feeling embattled by the rise of non-European cultural values and this has fueled the rise in popularity of the more right-wing political parties. The proposed addition of Muslim-majority Turkey to the European Union has also run into entrenched opposition because of fears of what that might do to the current cultural mix of Europe.

I am becoming quite concerned about what has been happening in Europe over the past 2-3 years -- it does not bode well for anyone.

The assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim angered at the filmmaker's work criticizing Islam's treatment of women led to the burning of mosques in traditionally religiously tolerant Holland. Two years ago the banning of the Muslim headscarf in French schools was a huge issue.

The bombings in London and Spain have not helped either.

A Muslim friend of mine living in Hamburg lamented the situation and recalled the days when she was seen as a a cute exotic-looking girl, not as a potential terrorist. I'm sure quite a few of the rioters have run into similar attitudes in the past.

The current riots will only make ethnic Europeans even more uncomfortable with those they tend to view as the strangers in their midst. There are already wisps of past ugly attitudes arising once more, only with Muslims as the scapegoat. Attitudes that are increasingly being spoken not in whispers, as in the past, but openly. (An example of this can be seen in this three part opinion piece from the Washington Times -- part 1, part 2 and part 3 -- published just over a month ago.)

I am afraid -- terribly, terribly afraid -- that the horrors of the past will be seen once again, as waves of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim intolerance wash over Europe. These riots will fuel the unease of ethnic Europeans and likely derail the inclusion of Turkey to the EU, which will likely add to the alienation felt by those in the European Muslim community.

That alienation is a very, very dangerous thing -- for from the alienated spring terrorists.

Der Osten brennt
Der Osten ist hier
Der Osten brennt
Der Osten sind wir
Sag mir siehst du nicht
die Feuerfront am Horizont
Der Osten brennt
Der Osten ist hier
Der Osten brennt
Der Osten sind wir
Unser Schlaraffenland
ist abgebrannt
Es brennt

The east is burning
The east is here
The east is burning
We are the east
Tell me, don't you see
the fire line on the horizon
The east is burning
The east is here
The east is burning
We are the east
Our utopia
is burned down
It is burning

Current Mood: worriedworried
Current Music: "Es brennt" by Megaherz

(Eat a pomegranate)

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