Thursday, November 10, 2005

Helpful words from the Imams of Paris, and Frank Sinatra
Recent efforts by Imams to stop the rioting in France remind me of a story I once heard a comedian tell about how Frank Sinatra saved his life.

The comedian was walking down an alley in Las Vegas when suddenly two goons jumped him and started beating him horribly. Just when he was sure he was going to die he heard Frank Sinatra walk up and say, "That's enough".
"And that's how Frank Sinatra saved my life."

The "Black leadership" is usually similarly helpful whenever the Black street gangs (AKA youths) riot in the United States. After doing their best to prevent riots by announcing the time and place the riots will occur unless their demands are met, the leaders then "appeal for calm" as they negotiate with the government. Their power is increased as much by their ability to stop riots as by their ability to start them. We know what side they are really on by what they don't say: "There is no excuse for violence; if it occurs, the police must protect innocent people by using as much force, including deadly force, as necessary."

The (immediate) result of these French riots will be assertions that there is no connection with Islam, while at the same time the government negotiates with the Imams.

1 comment:

Dan Simon said...

Actually, the article you link to contains none of the usual signs of Sinatra-style "appeals for calm". There is, for example, no discussion of the "root causes" of the violence, and the condemnation of police aggressiveness is attributed to several left-wing secular political parties, rather than to any Muslim groups. Based on the information offered in the article, in fact, there's no clear evidence that the imams in question aren't simply calling for an end to the riots.

As for whether these imams will end up negotiating on behalf of French Muslims using the rioters for leverage, first they have to establish their "legitimacy" as spokespeople for the "French Muslim community". I would argue that whether they will be able to do so is almost entirely determined by the non-Muslim majority--or perhaps its political leadership--not by French Muslims themselves. After all, the latter will have little use for spokespeople--even ones with whom they agree entirely--if those spokespeople are completely ignored by everyone else. Thus, if the French public (or perhaps the French leadership) are more inclined to welcome Muslim spokespeople who implicitly threaten more violence, then French Muslims will rally around their most belligerent representatives. On the other hand, if the French public and/or leadership choose to ostracize such Muslim representatives, in favor of those who condemn violence and advocate peaceful integration, then the Muslim community will inevitably choose accordingly.

Not that it's obvious which way the French will go. In America, for example, the most belligerent Black leaders were for many years the ones who received the most attention and respect from the majority political leadership. And the French, needless to say, have a long history of accommodating (one might say, "collaborating with") brutal coercion. On the other hand, one should not discount the effects of traditional French arrogance. National self-flagellation is not nearly as popular there as it is here, and the appearance of capitulation is not nearly so well tolerated in France as its reality. It may be, then, that the successful leaders of the Muslim community will be much more circumspect about appearing "Sinatra-like", and will make all the right anti-violence, law-respecting noises while privately wielding the threat of street violence as a weapon.