Category Archives: riots (France)

A burning sense of injustice

In Nantes, in response to the shooting by police of a man called Aboubakar Fofana (the subject of an arrest warrant for organised robbery, possession of stolen goods, and criminal conspiracy), who had tried to run them down in his car,

for four successive nights 100 youths with balaclavas descended into the street and burned at least 50 cars, as well as a doctors’ office and parts of a school and petrol station. Some threw Molotov cocktails at the police.

It is difficult to believe, writes Dalrymple,

that they did not take delight in the opportunity, combining delinquency with supposed moral purpose.

What could that purpose have been?

Let us grant for the sake of argument that the shooting was unjustified. Would it then make sense to burn 50 of your neighbours’ cars and destroy a doctor’s office? At the very least, this response does little credit to their thought or logic.

Dalrymple notes that the fact that Fofana had a criminal record

did not cool their ardour. As is usual in these cases, friends of the deceased could be found to say that ‘he was a smiling and intelligent young man’ who ‘never looked for problems’ (other than robbing people). We might wonder whether, if he had been shot by a member of a rival gang, there would have been any rioting.

Dalrymple says it is hard to escape the conclusion that the rioting was in part motivated by the desire that people like Fofana

should be left to carry on their depredations without hindrance.

Did Goolagong’s victory help the Aborigines?

Dalrymple writes that the victory of les Bleus in the World Cup

no more solves the social problems of France than did the victory of ­Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon solve the problem of Australia’s Aborigines.

The outburst of hysterical optimism in France

is destined not to last very long — as it did not the previous time, in 1998, and as the riots in the Champs-Élysées and elsewhere indicate.

Of course, he says,

the desire for a magical or symbolic solution to intractable problems springs eternal.

Celebratory looting and rioting

National rejoicing in France

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.