Riots Came Late
In an interesting report, Paul Silverstein and Chantal Tetreault argue that, by all rights, the riots in France should have come years ago. Indeed, in 1995-96 a French movement started to redress the poverty, crime, and unemployment of the banlieus. When the programs began being cut a few years ago, the problems started again. As the authors note, it's a terrible irony that after the French government cut programs in education and social services, it used the money saved to pay for more security personnel and equipment.
The venerable French rap group Supreme NTM made the original prediction in 1995. Their words are eerily prophetic:
In English translation:
From now on the street will not forgive
We have nothing to lose for we have nothing
In your place I would not sleep well
The bourgeoisie should tremble, the gangstas are in town
Not to party, but to burn the place down...
Where are our roots? Who are our models?
You've burned the wings of a whole generation
Shattered dreams, soiled the seed of hope.
Oh! When I think about it
It's time to think; it's time that France
Deigns to take account of its crimes
But in any event, the cup is full
History teaches that our chances are nil
So stop before it gets out of hand
Or creates even more hatred
Let's unite and incinerate the system.
But why, why are we waiting to set the fire?