Sunday, November 06, 2005
EXTRA LEISURE HOURS
Cast your mind back to the faraway land that was France in 2002. The France that SMH columnist Adele Horin adored:
More than a year after France legislated a 35-hour week, the economy is flourishing, unemployment is falling, consumer confidence has hit a historic high and most French say their lifestyle has improved.
People are spending more time at the gym and more time with their kids; they dine out more often, take more holidays and spend extra leisure hours sprucing up their homes.
Gangs of youths torched 1,300 vehicles overnight in the 10th consecutive night of violence in Paris’s poor suburbs and major French towns, despite the deployment of thousands of extra police.
Cars were burned out in the historic center of Paris for the first time on Saturday night. In the normally quiet Normandy town of Evreux, a shopping mall, 50 vehicles, a post office and two schools went up in flames ...
“Many youths have never seen their parents work and couldn’t hold down a job if they got one,” said Claude Chevallier, manager of a burned-out carpet depot in the rundown Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.
But authorities now say the rolling nightly riots are being organized via the Internet and mobile phones, and have pointed the finger at drug traffickers and Islamist militants.
Overnight, 1,295 vehicles were torched across France, the highest total so far, police said.
Torched cars = more walking = reduced need to visit gyms. French social policy triumphs again! Some quotes from citizens who’ve taken time out from sprucing up their homes:
“We feel rejected, compared to the kids who live in better neighborhoods,” said Nasim, a chunky 16-year-old with braces and acne. “Everything here is broken down and abandoned ...”
“We don’t have the American dream here,” said Rezzoug, as he surveyed the clusters of young men. “We don’t even have the French dream here.”
Not even the French dream? That might be the saddest line you’ll read all week.
UPDATE. Latest flourishing economy news:
Police last night found a petrol bomb factory in a southern suburb of Paris, on France’s tenth and worst consecutive night of violence.
Six youths, all aged under 18, were arrested in a raid on a building in Evry, south of Paris, where more than 100 bottles, gallons of fuel and hoods for hiding rioters’ faces were found.
Arrests to date: 800. Cars torched: 3,500.
(Via Astute Blogger)