Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"The Republic Is At An Hour Of Truth"

The above sounds so surreal, like something from Star Wars or Mad Max. But it is in fact a quote from French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin regarding the continuing riots happening all over France. There is, or at least has been, concern that they may erupt in other European countries. Indeed, France is in deep shit.

The reason the quote sounds so surreal is that there has been no real "moment of truth" in my memory. I remember the Berlin Wall coming down. I remember the collapse of the Soviet Union. But I havn't been around for any real government overthrow, at least not in Europe. It wasn't that long ago, in 1968, when, from what I understand, the government was basically ran out of office. When the Prime Minister says, "this is the hour of truth," that, to me, sounds like "holy shit, they're going to run us out of office."

At risk of being offensive or conveying opinions that are easily misinterpreted, I won't address the Muslim aspect of this, which is basically that most of the rioters are Muslims, except to say that there is something to be said for advocating a degree of assimilation into the culture, and regulating immigration. Inequality or not, I hardly doubt that if the shoe were on the other foot the Muslims governments would blame themselves.

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