Tuesday, 9 August 2011

What Does Paris Think of the London Riots?

I would love to be in Paris right now so I could find out what the banlieu kids think of the London riots... I know I come across as having the political views of a limpet, but I've just seen something frightfully interesting on The Guardian website and I thought I'd share it- their Paris correspondant Kim Willsher lets us know how Parisiens are feeling about all these 'riots':

Paris is no stranger to rioting youngsters, and burning cars is so much a new year and high holiday tradition, that is passes almost unreported. But the rioting in London and other parts of Britain made the front-page headlines in most of the French newspapers.

The coverage was mostly news reporting of events, but the Monday edition of Le Monde carried the headline: "Riots in London: the British press dramatises and tries to understand."

Most surprising were readers' responses to the upmarket and respected newspaper's report, which varied from echoes of the paper's leftwing, anti-market, anti-capitalist line, to outright Schadenfreude and xenophobic anti-English sentiment...

...Jean Baptiste Clamence wrote: "There exists in England an underclass that does not exist anywhere else in Europe. White, little educated, without any means of social evolution, they are a perfect example of the results of Anglo-Saxon capitalism and its dehumanising program. The English perversion is to make this population proud of their misery and their ignorance. The situation is hopeless. I've more hope for the youth of our banlieues."

So there you go- seems like most of Paris think we are idiots then.

I agree that the press is dramatising everything: I know they have to report the news, but by showing 'live feeds' they are just showing people where the looting is going on, unpoliced, thus accelerating the situation as people sitting at home, looking at their shit trainers, realise there is a JJB being looted round the corner, with little chance of anyone getting caught.

The irony is, that compared with the banlieues of Paris, the areas affected aren't even that grim; they are hardly destitute, hopeless ghettos... But now that everything has been ransacked and burnt to the ground; they probably will look like destitute, hopeless ghettos. And the sad thing is that the looters will probably love this, being 'proud of their misery and their ignorance' (although I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the looters have come in from nicer, middle class areas, desperate to get in on the action).

If the riots continue to spread it will turn Britain into an apocalyptic wasteland, run by gobby kids with baseball bats.

Oh my God.

Who will fly my plane to Ibiza??


  1. "There exists in England an underclass that does not exist anywhere else in Europe. White, little educated, without any means of social evolution..."

    Funny, the first thing that popped into my mind were the French kids in letterman jackets perched on metro station stairs drinking cheap liquor out of McDonald's cups and asking me in inverted French if they can go home with me. Or has this person not strayed from his cozy Marais apartment in so long he's unaware of this phenomenon in his own country and can only point his fingers at the evils of so-called "Anglo-Saxon capitalism"?

  2. HA! I bet he does love live the in Maraiss as well!

    France is a lot worse off than Britain, I know it's a random example, but in Paris you get little Romany traveller kids robbing you on the metro, in England we have made a program about them having fancy weddings... Britian isn't as broken as France and yet with all this rioting you would think we were their chavvy cousin.

  3. haha..."chav" is a word I have recently learned, thanks to American coverage of the English riots.

  4. What is the American coverage saying? I'm really interested to know what other countries think of it...

  5. Eh, I haven't heard a lot about it other than "oh, and by the way, the Londoners are still rioting." But I'm not that good at keeping up with news.