The fog of riots
I'm still trying to get a bead on what's happening in France. This post by Clive Davis seems to be an attempt to do the same. It contains this interesting quote:
As of this evening, AFP is quoting police commanders as saying there's "nothing to support the existence of an organisation behind the riots... speculation of "a radical Islamic influence is baseless."
So, are these police statements merely the equivalent of a politically correct "move along now, nothing to see here"? An effort to avoid adding more fuel to the fire by calling attention to what is really happening? Or are they the truth?
In the same AFP article, (that's "Agence France-Presse," by the way), you have this:
The leader of one police union, Bruno Beschizza, described the riots as "urban terrorism", led by a radicalized minority of criminals and "Islamic radicals".
There is no doubt that a certain "fog of war"--or rather, "fog of riots" has descended for the moment. My guess is that, as usual, there's a mixture here--and that, as I said before, a host of factors are coming together to create these riots: cultural, generational, economic, and yes, Islamic. I'd be foolish if I said I knew what relative weight to give all those factors.
I am surprised, however, that police chiefs have denied any organizing factor at all in the riots. This seems to contradict the bulk of the coverage. For example, see this from Reuters, not known for its right-wing bias:
While fewer clashes with youths were reported, judicial officials said the unrest was being organized via the Internet and mobile phones..."Without question what is taking place bears all the hallmarks of being coordinated," Yves Bot, the Paris public prosecutor, told Europe 1 radio.
So, I feel I'm on fairly safe ground saying the riots are being organized. But by whom? My current theory: not one group alone, and not for one reason alone. All of the above.