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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Chirac to Ask for Extension of Crisis Rules to Combat Riots

New York Times:

President Jacques Chirac, addressing his country for the first time since unrest broke out, said that he had asked Parliament to extend a national state of emergency to February and that he would set up a program that would provide jobs and training for 50,000 youths by 2007. The president, stressing respect for the law and the need to recognize the diversity of French society, acknowledged that the past two weeks had been proof of a "profound malaise" in the country, calling it a "crisis of identity." "We'll respond by being firm, by being just and by being faithful to the values of France," he said. Mr. Chirac had been widely criticized for staying silent and out of the public eye while the government faced the worst crisis of his tenure. Recent polls show that less than a third of the French have confidence in his ability to manage the unrest.
I continue to believe that this will not be resolved until the basic idea of what it means to be French changes. Whether the eventual meaning will be a Islamic dominated society, a facist France that solves the 'muslim problem' or a melting pot society where all can be considered 'French' is yet to be seen. I fear that the third option is the least likely though.


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