Saturday, April 09, 2005
Mugged by la Réalité.
On March 8, tens of thousands of high school students marched through central Paris to protest education reforms announced by the government. Repeatedly, peaceful demonstrators were attacked by bands of black and Arab youths--about 1,000 in all, according to police estimates. The eyewitness accounts of victims, teachers, and most interestingly the attackers themselves gathered by the left-wing daily Le Monde confirm the motivation: racism.
Some of the attackers openly expressed their hatred of "little French people." One 18-year-old named Heikel, a dual citizen of France and Tunisia, was proud of his actions. He explained that he had joined in just to "beat people up," especially "little Frenchmen who look like victims." He added with a satisfied smile that he had "a pleasant memory" of repeatedly kicking a student, already defenseless on the ground.
Another attacker explained the violence by saying that "little whites" don't know how to fight and "are afraid because they are cowards." Rachid, an Arab attacker, added that even an Arab can be considered a "little white" if he "has a French mindset." The general sentiment was a desire
to "take revenge on whites."
Sometimes petty theft appeared to be the initial motivation. One or two bullies would approach a student and ask for money or a cell phone. Even if the victim complied right away, they would start beating him or her. A striking account was provided by Luc Colpart, a history and geography teacher and member of the far-left union SUD. Colpart said the scenes of violence were so disturbing that he could not sleep for days. He saw students being beaten or pulled by the hair. He stressed that assailants who stole cell phones smashed them in front of their victims: "It was a game. Hatred and fun."
Colpart, who is active in anti-racist causes, confirmed that "these were racial assaults," and the attackers used "far-right slurs, violent and racist." One black student he saw come to the defense of a fellow student under attack by three blacks was called "a white sellout" by the assailants. Some scores of victims were taken to hospitals. Those who were interviewed confirmed that they had been caught up in an "anti-white" rampage and that the cops did nothing to protect them.
In response to this event, a group of leading public figures, along with 1,000 high school students, issued a statement denouncing "anti-white" pogroms. Among them were the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, the journalist Jacques Julliard from the weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, former minister of public health and founder of Doctors Without Borders Bernard Kouchner, bestselling Iranian-born author Chahdortt Djavann, the journalist Ghaleb Bencheikh, and the film director Elie Chouraqui. At a press conference announcing the release of the statement on March 25, Finkielkraut denounced Francophobia and Judeophobia.