Bouna Toure, Zyed Benna, chased by Police, and dead – comment by Abdellali Hajjat

On October 27 2005 in Paris, 15 year old Bouna Trouré and 17 year old Zyed Benna were electrocuted after taking refuge in a power station while being chased by Paris Police.

“On October 27th, Bouna and Zied died of electrical burns when they fled from the police. Riots broke out in Clichy-sous-Bois and other housing estates across France. This is the first time since May 1968 that there has been urban violence of this magnitude; it is also the first time that young people from the neighbourhoods have risen up together, realizing that they share a common fate. This fate can be summed up as having no future but unemployment, low-income housing, daily humiliation and police racism, a ghetto culture that makes us outcasts, but which on a certain level is also a source of pride, because it’s ours” – fromhttp://atouteslesvictimes.samizdat.net/ – accessed Dec 22005

Sarkozy called them racille – scum, rogues:

“But Sarkozy is not the only one who shows contempt for the popular suburbs. When certain “left-wing” leaders talk about “savages” or the “little Le Pens from the suburbs,” they are adopting the same approach of constructing dangerous classes. It is true that the social and political causes of the riots have been widely discussed in the French media (which for once avoided, for the most part, talking about the “fundamentalist menace,” unlike Sarkozy), but some left-wing sociologists and journalists also noted the “vacuum” or the political “desert” in the popular suburbs, where a majority of the descendants of post-colonial immigration live (either French or foreigners). They claim that France has been the scene of “jacqueries,” [translators note: “peasant insurrections”] like in the 19th century, carried out by the “lumpen of the lower proletariat,” “without class consciousness.” The implication is supposed to be that if some political force could only organize this rebellion, then all of its subversive potential could be directed in a revolutionary direction. From the comfort of their positions in the media and/or the universities, they do not hesitate to deplore the rioters’ “handicap”, for unlike class conscious workers there is no place for them in the Marxist framework. But in explaining this lack of political organization, they do not deal with the question of why the French left has been incapable of appealing to the people who live in the suburbs, and more specifically the fate of immigrant activists.” (by Abdellali Hajjat – France’s Popular Neighbourhoods Are Not A “Political Desert”).

 

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