01:10:29 amCategories: Politics, Riots

Real and fake youth, in Clichy-sous-bois

There are also real youth, whom we must help… Interior Minister Sarkozy has not really been up to it when making public statements lately, to say it the least.

Poèsie de banlieue

A short time after two young boys got electrocuted when hiding from the police in a transformer station, M Sarkozy plainly and affirmatively stated that the police had arrived after an attempted break-in, but no, they had not been chasing the boys. A few days later there is still no sign of any break-in, and no one wants to say for certain why three boys (one survived, but got badly injured) would climb a three-meter high wall with barbed wire and hide in such a lethal place if there were no need for it… And Sarkozy still rambles on about zero tolerance to urban violence, about cleaning up the hoodlums (“voyous”) and riffraff (“racailles”) and eradicating the traffickers… One of the few clear facts in this story is that the three victims had no previous police record. The boys’ families have refused to meet the interior minister because of his clear signs of incompetence. Sarkozy’s version of life in the banlieues and the local grasp of things in Clichy-sous-bois seem miles apart. I heard a kid on the radio, sounding a bit like a rapper, saying about the youth in Clichy-sous-bois: on veut de logements, on veut de bulots, on veut de vêtements, on veut d’intégrer… One out of two youths in the area is unemployed, and the general precarité in French quartiers sensibles is well-known. The newspaper Liberation (left-wing) claims that Sarkozy is trying to capitalise politically on the situation, situating himself to the right indeed. Such an analysis does not seem to be foreign to many issues concerning social integration in this country.

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