Monday, November 07, 2005
Jacques Chirac didn't want France to get involved in the Iraq war because he was afraid of repercussions from local radical Muslims. Now he has to deal with riots started by the very minorities his country has treated shabbily for years.
Chirac and Villepin have presided over a powder keg, ready to explode
Jacques Chirac had several reasons not to get his country involved in the Iraq war back in 2003. None of his reasons were very altruistic. Not only did his government have too many entanglements with Saddam Hussein and a desire to see the United States get its comeuppance, but Chirac had to deal with a sensitive issue at home. The French population is 10% Muslim which makes it a Western nation with a unique situation exacerbated by the French notion that its "culture" is heads and shoulders above all others. However, the Muslim immigrants and their second and third generation descendants have learned the hard way that French society is designed to be hostile towards minorities. Chirac was fully aware of France's inherently flawed social construct when he vehemently spoke out against the liberation of Iraq. Chirac was well aware that the effort to oust Saddam was perceived in the "Arab street" as a wedge wielded by imperial Western interests. Therefore, Jacques Chirac tried to mollify France's seething and angry minorities (predominantly Muslim) by trying to appease them. By pandering to France's Muslims, Chirac hoped to allay any criticism of his government and how it has failed to improve the lives of France's minorities.
However, Chirac's dismantling of U.S.-French relations only proved to be a delaying tactic in terms of staving off the inevitable. He can no longer sweep his country's injustices under the rug any longer. France's chickens have come home to roost. A country that has denied its immigrants and, in turn, their progeny the privilege to be considered "wholly French" has proved to be disastrous. Minorities in France don't have laws to protect them from discrimination in terms of employment, housing and education. And if there are any laws there is no political will or mandate to see those laws enforced. It has become very clear that France either tacitly or expressly supports segregation so that minorities are not able to be either seen or heard in the precious arrondissements that the French hold dear.
Chirac now presides over a government that is diminished both at home and abroad. His administration shamed itself by blatantly shilling for a mass murderer, Saddam Hussein, and conspiring to defeat the intent of the U.N. to implement its Oil-for-Food Program. Now, Chirac has the distinction of proving himself to be ineffectual during his country's greatest law-and-order crisis since the 1968 student riots. He was silent for more than ten days on the matter, preferring to leave ministers like Dominique de Villepin (a duplicitous foreign minister turned empty suit Prime Minister) and Nikolas Sarkozy to twist in the acrid wind that is wafting over Paris et les provinces. Jacques Chirac hoped that Muslim minorities would one day thank him for what he has done for them; this week, they returned the favor.
Update, check out: Michelle Malkin, Brussels Journal, QandO, Protein Wisdom, Winds of Change, Blogs for Bush, LaShawn Barber, Captains Quarters, GOP Vixen translating Chirac's words and the incomparable No Pasaran.