Thursday, December 08, 2005

L'Affaire Finkielkraut

Thanks to a link from Roger L. Simon, I read this interesting posting on Bad Hair Blog about the latest intellectual fallout from the French Riots--L'Affaire Finkielkraut.

Which led me to this quote on Solomonia, from Sarkozy:
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Sarkozy said: "Monsieur Finkielkraut is an intellectual who brings honor and pride to French wisdom ... If there is so much criticism of him, it might be because he says things that are correct."

Here's an excerpt from the Haaretz article that touched off L' Affaire:
What is its origin? Is this the response of the Arabs and blacks to the racism of which they are victims? I don't believe so, because this violence had very troubling precursors, which cannot be reduced to an unalloyed reaction to French racism.

"Let's take, for example, the incidents at the soccer match between France and Algeria that was held a few years ago. The match took place in Paris, at the Stade de France. People say the French national team is admired by all because it is black-blanc-beur ["black-white-Arab" - a reference to the colors on France's tricolor flag and a symbol of the multiculturalism of French society - D.M.]. Actually, the national team today is black-black-black, which arouses ridicule throughout Europe. If you point this out in France, they'll put you in jail, but it's interesting nevertheless that the French national soccer team is composed almost exclusively of black players.

"Anyway, this team is perceived as a symbol of an open, multiethnic society and so on. The crowd in the stadium, young people of Algerian descent, booed this team throughout the whole game! They also booed during the playing of the national anthem, the `Marseillaise,' and the match was halted when the youths broke onto the field with Algerian flags.

"And then there are the lyrics of the rap songs. Very troubling lyrics. A real call to revolt. There's one called Dr. R., I think, who sings: `I piss on France, I piss on De Gaulle' and so on. These are very violent declarations of hatred for France. All of this hatred and violence is now coming out in the riots. To see them as a response to French racism is to be blind to a broader hatred: the hatred for the West, which is deemed guilty of all crimes. France is being exposed to this now."

In other words, as you see it, the riots aren't directed at France, but at the entire West?

"No, they are directed against France as a former colonial power, against France as a European country. Against France, with its Christian or Judeo-Christian tradition."