Let them neat cake

Published 5:39 pm Monday, November 14, 2005

By By Tray Smith
As the people of France suffered from hunger and starvation during the late eighteenth century, Mary Antoinette, their Queen, notoriously declared, "Let them eat cake." This elitist attitude and the continuing negligence of the common people by the royal family eventually caused a hatred of the monarch so intense that the French people overthrew their government in the French Revolution. The revolution eventually succeeded in overthrowing the monarch, creating a new government, and killing Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI.
But as we so often do, humans have once again forgotten history. The violence occurring in France over the past weeks has many parallels to the French Revolution, though on a much smaller scale. But ultimately, the blame lies on the French people and the French government.
Over the past couple of years, France has admitted several immigrants from places such as Algeria. These populations contain people who are mostly of African origin and Muslim faith. Once in France, these people have become recipients of the nanny-state. They receive public health care for free, get public housing for free, and get food for free. All of these benefits are paid for by the French government. But, because the French economy is based on the mid twentieth century economic system of socialism (which, by the way, the Democrats are still trying to bring to America), France simply cannot create jobs or stimulate economic growth. As a result, these newly admitted immigrants receive all the bread and cake they want, straight from the government treasury. But these citizens do not have the basic need of a job fulfilled, they do not have the ability to create wealth on their own, and they do not get the privilege of owning something.
So they are then forced into suburbs of high un-employment, high crime, and rampant poverty where living conditions are substantially lower than those of the affluent areas of France. These areas are very similar to our inner-cities, but France has not done near as much to reach out to these groups and help them as we have done with our minorities.
As if their economic condition was not bad enough, the notoriously rude French have excluded these people from the main stream of their society. They have not integrated these immigrants into their country well at all. Even the police force that oversees these areas of high-crime is made up mostly of white officers. Thus, the immigrants have no trust or respect for the French or for the French government.
As a result, France now has highly concentrated populations of impoverished, unemployed people who feel excluded and mistreated, and have grown bitter toward the French. So, when late last month, two young men of African origin were killed in an electric substation hiding from French police, the French under class revolted. It was the icing-on the cake of poverty and employment that these poor immigrant-citizens have been forced to eat for years.
In response, these citizens have revolted over the past two weeks. France has now endured "a second revolution" that has resulted in the arson of more than 4,700 vehicles. The government there is unable to get control of the situation. Meanwhile, France, already despised by many in the world, has made a true idiot out of itself. Prizing itself on its welfare-state model for years, it is now forced to come to grips with the fact that it doesn't work very well. Bashing the United States for years, France is now forced to admit they we are better off socially, economically, and politically.
Treating their immigrants reprehensibly for years, France is now forced to reach out to these groups with open arms. This must be a hard task for some of the most arrogant people in the world.
As the United States suffered in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Denis Lacorne, senior associate at the Center for International Studies &Research in Paris declared of our response, "It confirms many of the worst stereotypes we have about the U.S., that it is a racist country, and that the U.S. has perverted priorities."
As we mourned the death of one of our greatest civil rights leaders, the French minority of Muslims and African Americans rebelled (forty years after our Civil Rights movement). I guess the only thing the French are eating now are their own words. I doubt that they taste as good as cake.
That's the bottom line.
Tray Smith is a freshman at Escambia Academy. He writes a political column for the Atmore Advance. He can be reached for comment at tsmith_90@hotmail.com. His column appears weekly.

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