Just a bit more on the riots in France. My wife, being French, just returned from a trip and had the following observations that I thought I would pass on.
* The French have an expression, entre l’enclume et le marteau, meaning ‘between the hammer and the anvil.’ It describes people in an impossible situation, such as having no native country other than France but not being considered truly French. She was only surprised that these citizens hadn’t spoken up this way a lot sooner.
* Similar to my first impression, her view is that a French interest group doesn’t get proper treatment until it stands up and protests.
* She asked whether they were burning cars in the expensive neighborhoods, or just where they live. She thought they wouldn’t get much attention from the government if they only burned their own cars.
* If this works out like it usually does, the government will announce a decent set of initiatives to mollify the mob and implement half of them. The rest will languish until the mob rises again or until some candidate needs to buy their vote.
Following up on that last bullet point, Chirac plans to announce some sort of policy initiative. Stay tuned.