Monday, November 14, 2005

The State

France has specially trained a force of 15,000 riot police, called the CRS, to go into the neighborhoods most hard hit by rioting, and reestablish order:

The announcement came yesterday as the regular police threatened action over the detention of an officer after a young man appeared to have been hit and kicked by two policemen in a Paris suburb.

A third of France's 15,000 riot police, whose brutal reputation comes from its violent repression of student-worker protests in May 1968, will remain in the country's 17 neighbourhoods hardest hit by the rioting of the past two weeks.

The CRS's new chief, Christian Lambert, who took over only three days before the riots began on Oct 27 said the force would spearhead a new form of neighbourhood policing in the toughest suburbs.

He insisted that the CRS had received training to perform their new role: "We will go to the most difficult neighbourhoods. Without stirring things up but by imposing ourselves, we will win back these territories.

It sounds like they plan to reoccupy their own land. That's a good thing.

What is extraordinary is France has also extended the State of Emergency for three months:

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Jacques Chirac's government decided on Monday to ask parliament to extend emergency powers for 3 months to quell unrest.

Wow, that's a long time for a state of emergency to go on, isn't it? Isn't an emergency something that requires immediate attention, and/or treatment? Doesn't the word imply speed?

At what point does it cease to be called a state of emergency, and, instead, begin to be called something else? And, what word would be more appropriate?

Well, Chirac has found another word he likes to describe the situation:

PARIS - President Jacques Chirac said Monday in his first televised address to the nation since rioting erupted more than two weeks ago that the violence reflected a "profound malaise" in France.

A "malaise" huh, Jaques? Good choice of words. Remember how well it went over when Jimmy Carter used that one back in the 70's?

Night night, Jaques. It's time to go to sleep.