Communique from the Mouvement de l'Immigration et des Banlieues*
Wednesday, November 9th, 2005
“Die in peace my brothers, but die quietly, so that we hear nothing but
the faintest echo of your suffering…”
Anyone who does not understand why people are rioting either suffers from
amnesia, blindness, or both. For the past thirty years the suburbs have
been calling out for justice. For twenty five years the rebellions, the
riots, the demonstrations, the marches, the public meetings, and cries of
anger have been making very clear demands. It is fifteen years since the
Ministry of Urban Affairs was set up to deal with the poverty and exclusion
of the so-called underprivileged areas. Ministers come and go with their
promises: a Marshall Plan, Economic Free Zones, DSQ, ZEP, ZUP, Youth Employment,
Social Cohesion, etc. … The suburbs serve as a dumping zone for the ministers,
politicians and journalists with their deadly little sound bites about “lawless
areas”, “irresponsible parents”, organized crime and other “consequences
of Islamic fundamentalism.”
The men and women and especially the young people who live in these areas
are stigmatized and blamed for all the problems of our society. It doesn’t
cost a lot to give civics lessons, point your finger at the “trash” and
“savages” and throw them to the lions. And it can pay big dividends. The
suburbs become a problem unto themselves, which have to be managed by the
police and the courts. Today we are told about these “young people from
the suburbs” (by which we are to understand “these Blacks and Arabs”) who
burn things down as if they were foreigners who came to pillage France.
And yet from Minguettes (1981) to Vaulx-en-Velin (1990), from Mantes-la-Jolie
(1991) to Sartrouville (1991), from Dammarie-les-Lys (1997) to Toulouse
(1998), from Lille (2000) to Clichy, the message is plain and clear:
Enough with unpunished police crimes, enough with police profiling, enough
with crappy schools, enough with planned unemployment, enough with rundown
housing, enough with prisons, enough with humiliation! And enough with the
two-tier justice system which protects corrupt politicians and consistently
convicts the weak.
All of these cries have been ignored or covered up.
Just as they cover up the silent suffering of millions of families, men
and women, who are subjected every day to social violence far worst than a
burning car. With the curfew, the government is responding to this by collective
punishment and special legislation that gives full power to the police.
They put the lid on it; in our neighbourhoods we will remember this for
a long time. There will no peace in our neighbourhoods until there is justice
and real equality.
There are no pacification measures and no curfew that will stop us from
continuing to fight for this, even when the cameras have gone away…
No justice, No peace!
The Mouvement de l'Immigration et des Banlieues, November 9th 2005
MIB - 45 Rue d'Aubervilliers 7518 Paris - http://mib.ouvaton.org/
EMail : firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel :
01 40 36 24 66
* The Immigration and Suburbs Movement
Please note that the above text about the riots
in France comes from the Mouvement de l'Immigration et des Banlieues in France
and was translated by yours truly. I have a “fast and loose” translation
philosophy, meaning that when there is a choice between readability and the
original phraseology i tend to favour the former, provided that the meaning
stays the same. The original document can be seen in French.
This originally came from my blog - Sketchy Thoughts
- and is one of a number of pieces i wrote or translated regarding the riots
that rocked France in October and November 2005. To see the a complete list
of such posts, i suggest you check out the 2005 Riots In France page on the Kersplebedeb