Words fail to give an adequate picture of the present days in France, but this Map despite the fact that it is without doubt dated at this time, does reveal what the media has clouded with smoke and mirrors.
From Leaders fiddle as France burns
By Colin Randall in Paris
11am update: France declares state of emergency
In pictures: Paris burns after week of rioting
France was struggling to overcome one of its gravest post-war crises last night as every major city faced the threat of fierce rioting that began 12 nights ago and now seems to have spun out of control.
A mechanic inspects the wreckage of a burned-out car
Despite an assurance from Philippe Douste Blazy, the foreign minister, that France was "not a dangerous country", the spread of violence prompted the Foreign Office in London to warn travellers that trouble could break out "almost anywhere".
Dominique de Villepin, the beleaguered prime minister, announced that officials in riot-hit areas would be authorised to impose late-night curfews "wherever it is necessary" in a bid to halt the disturbances.
He rejected calls by a police union for troops to be sent in but said that 1,500 reservists were being called up and repeated an appeal to parents to keep adolescent rioters off the streets.
Although the disorder began on the intimidating sink estates of Paris's northern suburbs, trouble had been reported yesterday in the early hours from most regions of the country. Even areas such as Brittany, the Loire and Bordeaux, favoured by British holidaymakers and second- home hunters, have now been drawn into the worst wave of unrest in France since the spring revolt of 1968 set in motion the downfall of Gen Charles de Gaulle.
More than 1,400 vehicles were destroyed during a night of increasing violence
Yesterday the violence also claimed its first life. A 61-year-old man died in hospital three days after being beaten unconscious when he left his home in a northern Paris suburb intending to stop rubbish bins being set on fire.
Even before renewed disturbances broke out last night, figures showed that rioters had wrecked 4,700 vehicles, injured more than 100 police and rescue workers, and opened fire in at least six separate incidents
The Times of London has a handy table of the numbers of cars burned during each day of the French riots. Tim Blair and Mark Steyn have called this metric the Car-B-Q. A graph showing the numbers of cars Car-B-Qed against day is shown below
Two inflection points immediately jump out. The first occurs on Day 6 when the car burnings really took off after trending flat for the previous 5 days. I think this represents the missed opportunity to deal with the riots at an early stage, either with large concessions or large crackdowns. I don't think it mattered which as long as the authorities acted decisively, which they didn't, because this was the period when the French government stood paralyzed like a deer in headlights.
The second inflection point is Day 11, when the graph appears to be flattening out. Appears because Day 11 is also the day in which the modality of the disturbances began to change from Car-B-Qs to arson against churches, schools and buildings combined with shooting attacks against police officers. But clearly it may be the case that the French riots may be running out of steam and therefore susceptible to the countermeasures the government is now putting in place. Let's wait and see.
Early skirmish in the Eurabian civil war
By Mark Steyn
According to its Office du Tourisme, the big event in Evreux this past weekend was supposed to be the annual fete de la pomme, du cidre et du fromage at the Place de la Mairie. Instead, in this charmingly smouldering cathedral town in Normandy, a shopping mall, a post office, two schools, upwards of 50 vehicles and, oh yes, the police station were destroyed by - what's the word? - "youths".
Over at the Place de la Mairie, M le Maire himself, Jean-Louis Debre, seemed affronted by the very idea that un soupcon de carnage should be allowed to distract from the cheese-tasting. "A hundred people have smashed everything and strewn desolation," he told reporters. "Well, they don't form part of our universe."
Maybe not, but unfortunately you form part of theirs.
Mr Debre, a close pal of President Chirac's, was a little off on the numbers. There were an estimated 200 "youths" rampaging through Evreux. With baseball bats. They injured, among others, a dozen firemen. "To those responsible for the violence, I want to say: Be serious!" Mr Debre told France Info radio. "If you want to live in a fairer, more fraternal society, this is not how to go about it."
Oh, dear. Who's not "being serious" here? In Normandy, it's not just the cheese that's soft and runny. Granted that France's over-regulated sclerotic economy profoundly obstructs the social mobility of immigrants, even Mr Debris - whoops, sorry - even Mr Debre cannot be so out of touch as to think "seriously" that the rioters are rioting for "a fairer, more fraternal society". But maybe he does. The political class and the media seem to serve as mutual reinforcers of their obsolete illusions. Or as the Washington Post's headline put it: "Rage of French youth is a fight for recognition".
Actually, they're very easy to "recognise": just look out the window, they're the ones torching your Renault 5. I'd wager the "French" "youth" find that headline as hilarious as the Jets in West Side Story half a century ago, when they taunted Officer Krupke with "society's" attempts to "understand" them: we're depraved on account of we're deprived. Perhaps some enterprising Paris impresario will mount a production of West Eid Story with choreographed gangs of North African Muslims sashaying through the Place de la Republique, incinerating as they go.
Let?s pretend we don't see it, and it might disappear
Let?s pretend there isn?t any alarm. More to the point, let?s call it all alarmism. If doesn?t explain the traffic and chatter on the boards that the PR slicks can?t influence. Here?s one of the people out there exposing a corner-store jihadist who has been using chat boards to ply his trade:
Go to !No Pasaran! for the reast of the story.
It is claimed by some that by over reacting we may create a religous war where none yet exists. I am afraid that time has past and on the matter of religous war or no religous war we no longer have a choice.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!