Category Archives: banlieues

Postcard from Les Halles

Dalrymple writes that not long ago, the Paris newspaper the Monde published an article ‘inquiring why so many of the young people from the dispiriting banlieues (suburbs around Paris populated largely by blacks and people of North African ­descent) did not venture into the centre of Paris much beyond Les Halles, a huge concrete commercial centre. They said they did not feel at ease in the centre of Paris, they preferred Les Halles because it felt more American — by which they meant pop music throbbing everywhere, and shops selling ghetto outfits with baseball caps to wear backwards and sideways.’

France’s chronic malaise

Dalrymple notes that among the country’s problems are

  1. its frightful battery farms of resentment, trafficking and delinquency — in atmosphere if not physically, worse than anything in England
  2. the decay of its vaunted educational system thanks to the belated adoption of gimcrack theories
  3. its appalling modern architects, who are among the worst in the world. After 1,000 years of successful practice, the French now cannot build a decent house
  4. its rigid labour laws, social charges, regulations and legal bias against small businesses that inhibit efforts at expansion and reward idleness

On 4. Dalrymple writes:

Only three weeks ago, two small businessmen — one a forester in the depths of la France profonde, the other a Parisian taxi driver of Vietnamese origin — complained to me that, after 40 years of work and paying taxes, their pensions would be no larger than those who had never worked in their lives. (The taxi driver said that if, in the second round of the election, it came to a choice between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, he would vote Le Pen.) I did not ask them how many people they knew of pensionable age who had never worked; but certainly I know people in France who regard a two-year sabbatical on unemployment benefits as their right rather than as a shameful act of exploitation.

Maison Dalrymple

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 23.04.13His French home, Dalrymple explains, is

isolated and peaceful, a clear stream babbling through its large garden, the cicadas singing and the bees busy with the lavender. Alas, the peaches are finished, as are the cherries and wild strawberries, but the apricots and apples are ripening.

In France, he points out, social problems, riots, etc.,

are relegated to the suburbs and cités, where they may safely be ignored.

What the jeune-de-banlieue wants

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 21.53.30He desires, writes Dalrymple,

a good time.

Bakunin’s aphorism about the destructive urge being a constructive one

would have been nearer the mark if he had mentioned that it was, above all, a highly enjoyable one.

Destruction

is fun; but to destroy in the name of a supposed cause, that is bliss. Impunity helps, of course.

Insofar as the jeune-de-banlieue

has a discernible if unexpressed demand, it is for extraterritorial status. He wants to be left alone. He does not want the State to interfere in his affairs — theft, drug-dealing, the abuse of women — in any way.

Europe is asking for a fascist reaction

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 08.14.51The price the West pays for stifling debate

Nationalism, writes Dalrymple,

is fraught with dangers, of course, but so is the blind refusal to recognise that attachment to one’s culture, traditions, and history is a creative, normal, and healthy part of human experience. A democracy that stifles debate on such vital and difficult matters by means of speech codes, explicit or implicit, is asking for a genuinely fascist reaction.

He points out that in France the genie of unease about the North African influx cannot be returned to its bottle. For the sake of democracy,

vigorous, civilised debate must replace the law of silence that political correctness has imposed.

France, Dalrymple reminds us, has

a large, undigested, and growing immigrant population from North Africa that congregates—unwanted by the bulk of the population—in huge and soulless modern housing projects that surround French cities, as if besieging them. There are now Muslim ghettoes in France so crime-ridden that the police will not enter, except in armoured convoys.

The Front national addresses

widespread anxieties that ‘respectable’ politicians have preferred to ignore for fear of appearing illiberal and unenlightened.

The party dares say on the subject of mass immigration

what many Frenchmen think and feel. A problem as essential to France’s future as how 5m North African Muslims are to be integrated successfully into French society has been left unexamined, obscured behind a cloud of wishful thinking and politically correct platitudes.

Dalrymple explains that the ‘respectable’ politicians,

by espousing the banalities of multiculturalism, left those with a desire to conserve something of traditional French identity with nowhere to go but Le Pen. By declaring that realities as obvious as the high immigrant crime rate and the resulting fear that many Frenchmen feel cannot be mentioned by the polite and sophisticated, they have ceded all public discussion of such evident facts to the impolite and the outré. The élites were the architects of the Front national‘s triumph.

This is happening not only to the French. For example, the Danes

have seen that, in the name of diversity, everywhere is becoming the same. There are large parts of Copenhagen in which it is impossible now for a stranger to guess what country he is in. The Danes fear to become foreigners in their own land.

Islamism is for the feeble-minded and vicious

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 09.23.38The continuation of criminality by other means

The story of Omar Ismail Mostefai, the first of the perpetrators of the Paris attacks to be named, is, writes Dalrymple,

depressingly familiar. One could almost have written his biography before knowing anything about him.

A petty criminal of Algerian parentage from the banlieue, he was sustained largely by the social security system, an erstwhile fan of rap music, and

a votary of what might be called the continuation of criminality by other means, which is to say Islamism and the grandiose purpose in life that it gives to its adherents. For feeble minds, the extremity of the consequences for self and others serves as some kind of guarantee that their cause is just.

Doctrine that points the way to revenge

Imagine yourself, writes Dalrymple, a youth in Les Tarterêts or Les Musiciens,

  • intellectually alert but not well educated
  • believing yourself to be despised because of your origins by the larger society that you were born into
  • permanently condemned to unemployment by the system that contemptuously feeds and clothes you
  • surrounded by a contemptible nihilistic culture of despair, violence, and crime

Is it not possible, he says, that you would seek a doctrine that would

  • explain your predicament
  • justify your wrath
  • point the way towards your revenge
  • guarantee your salvation

Might you not

seek a ‘worthwhile’ direction for the energy, hatred, and violence seething within you, a direction that would enable you to do evil in the name of ultimate good?

Les Tarterêts

Les Tarterêts

Guide to Asiatic Birmingham

Birmingham Central Mosque, Highgate

Birmingham Central Mosque, Highgate

Former longtime resident Theodore Dalrymple answers your questions

How many Muslim Brummies are there?

In the last census, in 2011, 21.8 percent of the inhabitants of Britain’s second-largest city said that they were Muslim.

Will the figure rise?

The percentage is likely to rise because of higher birth rates among Muslims, immigration, and the departure of white Christians.

What have been the movements in and out of Brummagem?

Residents of Birmingham who identified themselves as ‘white British’ declined by 11 percent between 2001 and 2011, while the ‘white Irish’ declined by 33 percent. The proportion of Christians would have decreased further had it not been for the arrival of Eastern Europeans. The Muslim Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations increased over those ten years by 40 and 50 percent respectively.

Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif, Small Heath

Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif, Small Heath

Are there no-go areas?

Since ethnic and religious groups are not scattered evenly throughout Birmingham, the population in some areas is overwhelmingly Muslim. White women report being verbally abused there, as sluts ex officio, though it would not be true to say that any of the areas are truly no-go.

Where might I dine?

Spot the difference: Jamiah Masjid Mohiuddin Siddiquia, Aston. To the left is Christ Church Baptist Chapel (1865), which long ago fell into disuse. It appears to be the church hall (1888) that has been converted into the mosque, with the cross now hacked off

Spot the difference: Jamiah Masjid Mohiuddin Siddiquia, Aston. To the far left is Christ Church Baptist Chapel (1865), no longer used for worship, having been made into flats. It appears to be the red church hall (1888) that has been converted into the masjid, with the cross hacked off

One of these Muslim areas is notable for its profusion of small, cheap, and good restaurants, patronised by the rest of the population.

Do these districts resemble the banlieues?

No part of Birmingham is as cut off from the rest of the city as are some of the banlieues of Paris. Physical (if not social) mixing of populations is evident.

What is the relative educational, social and economic level of Birmingham’s Muslims, and to what extent are they prone to criminality or semi-criminality?

Before and after: at Jamiah Masjid Mohiuddin Siddiquia in Aston, someone has climbed up to the roof and hacked off the cross

Before and after: at Jamiah Masjid Mohiuddin Siddiquia in Aston, a zealous Mohammedan (whether a supple-limbed imam or a layman is unknown) has climbed up onto the roof and righteously hacked off the cross, doubtless to the cheers and cries of Allahu Akbar! of the throng below

In Britain, Muslim populations like those in Birmingham have relatively poor educational attainment and high rates of youth unemployment, crime, and imprisonment.

Hindus and Sikhs are much more successful than Muslims and than whites (who no longer have any religion) in life, are they not?

Hindus and Sikhs, present also in large numbers, have lower rates of youth unemployment than whites and much lower levels of crime than whites. The Sikhs have the second-highest average household wealth when such wealth is broken down by religious affiliation.

Place households in order of their respective wealth by religious persuasion.

Sikh households are richer than Christian ones; Muslim households are much poorer.

What do you say to the suggestion that the city government has exhibited a high degree of moral cowardice in the way it approaches the matter of the growing appeal of jihadism?

Birmingham Central Library: women-only tables

The great cringe: Birmingham Central Library provides apartheid-inspired, Muslim-women-only tables so that study of the Koran and the Hadith need not be confined to men; their wives and concubines may also gain access to the texts

Supposedly to placate Muslim sentiment, local authorities have sometimes agreed to or imposed measures worthy of an apartheid regime. For example, the Birmingham Central Library provided women-only tables, in practice for the use of Muslim women.

Who came up with the idea of Muslim-women-only tables at Birmingham Central Library?

I don’t know whether this gesture came in response to a request or was an anticipatory cringe; the argument in its favour would almost certainly have been that without such separate facilities Muslim women would not have been allowed by their males to use the library at all.

Would a demand for Christian-women-only or Hindu-women-only or Buddhist-women-only or Sikh-women-only library tables have been acceded to by the Birmingham city government?

It is unlikely that such an argument would have succeeded for any other religious or social group, and indeed it would have provoked feminist ire, in this case notably absent.

Neither seen nor heard in Birmingham

The sisters: neither seen nor heard in Birmingham

Why was it absent? Why no feminist fury in this case? Why no library-users’ sit-in? Why no demonstrations against this grotesque denial of the gender equality that it has taken so many years and effort to achieve? Why no lingerie torched in protest at Birmingham Central Library’s fostering of a collective image of submissive females who must be set apart to protect their ‘purity’? Why no occupation of the library by protesters? Why no petitions? Why no revival of the anti-apartheid movement? Why no Gender Equality Speakout and Festival in Centenary Square? Why no resolutions to reclaim the library and liberate it in the cause of equality? Why the silence?

Fear.

Wife-beating etiquette

Calling all Brummie believers: wife-beating rules

The public conveniences at Clichy-sous-Bois

Residents of Clichy will never forget what the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has done for them

Anne Hidalgo: arguably the greatest mayor Paris has ever had, and certainly the bravest

The name of Anne Hidalgo is ever on the lips of Clichy dwellers, who will never forget the many kindnesses that the mayor of Paris has shown them in working tirelessly to improve their security and quality of life

Dalrymple quotes a resident of this go-to zone of Paris:

‘What I like about it? No need to look for public toilets. They are under the sky, in the buildings.’

The resident has a travel tip:

‘Come armed.’

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 07.19.04 Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 07.27.52

 

 

 

 

Relative calm in the banlieues

Youths burned only 1,064 cars in the banlieues on New Year’s Eve, about 100 fewer than on the same night in 2012, Dalrymple reports.

Who says that there is no progress?