Thursday, November 29, 2007


Sarko's gift to lexicographers: la voyoucratie, which is what he sees at work in Villiers-le-Bel.

«Je réfute toute forme d'angélisme qui vise à trouver en chaque délinquant une victime de la société, en chaque émeute un problème social» he also said.

Yet if the president is right, and Villiers-le-Bel really is ruled by une voyoucratie, operating with impunity just a few kilometers from the center of Paris, arming itself with shotguns loaded with buckshot, and going to ground only when faced with the superior firepower of a battalion of CRS and a dozen helicopters, then one might conclude that this in itself is un problème social. I'm not sure what else to call it.

The saddest post-riot scene was the conversation on France2 news last night between M. Pétillon, the owner of an auto dealership that was burned to the ground, and a young man from a neighboring town who had come to Villiers to assess the damage. "Don't they realize that the people who work here live in the zone?" M. Pétillon asked. "Where will they work now?" The young man said he was just as "disgusted" by the waste as the businessman who had invested 2 million euros 15 years ago to develop what had been a vacant lot and who employed 30 people, all devastated by the news that he will not reopen the business.


Anonymous said...

The frustration around this topic is insurmountable. I saw a comment previously asking if the French national sport was rioting. It is unfortunate that there are so many criticizing Sarkozy over this topic since he was by no means the cause. I would agree that his hardline stance has not alleviated the matter though.

The cultural conflict between 'two French societies' is not simply a French problem. I think the greater dilemma of how to properly integrate immigrate communities (such as in Britain) seems to create an ignorance between the two groups. BBC's 'World Have Your Say' spoke to several French reporters in Paris yesterday evening and they gave a wonderful description of this overriding problem.

Suggesting these riots/rioters are isolated and the incidents of years past not linked is an attempt to belittle this, as you say, probleme sociale

Anonymous said...

"C'est degoutant" = "That sucks"
"Je suis degoute"="I am fed up"

Quico said...

Just a plea to remember that we don't all speak great French. (That, surprise surprise, is a big reason why we read your blog!)

What, again, does voyoucratie mean?

Unknown said...

Sorry: un voyou is a hoodlum or thug, so you might translate as "thugocracy"

Anonymous said...

"Je réfute toute forme d'angélisme qui vise à trouver en chaque délinquant une victime de la société, en chaque émeute un problème social"

I reject a form of naivete that views every criminal as a victim of society and every riot as a social problem.