Blaming inequality for French terror attacks is facile and dangerous

Jul 31, 2016

By Joseph Downing

France is experiencing one of the most horrifying and severe bouts of terrorism since World War II. Given how often French streets have been targeted by terrorists in the past year, it’s easy to see this as a unique problem. Even in a world beset by regular terror atrocities across the globe, the frequency must surely tell us something.

Some have even gone as far as to resurrect the spectre of French colonial history. Resentment, they argue, still lingers after the painful and bloody war of independence in Algeria that contributed to the collapse of the Fourth Republic.

Much has also been made of France’s social problems. Concentrating minorities in situations of socio-economic marginalisation has left the suburbs of French cities to become breeding grounds for radicalisation. Periodic bouts of mass disorder in poor high rise estates, most recently across France in 2005, but as early as the 1970s in Lyon, give further credence to this view. These recent terrorist incidents are part of a longer-term, France-specific trend.


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21 comments on “Blaming inequality for French terror attacks is facile and dangerous

  • From the article linked above:

    The people who have been attacking France are warped individuals who are intent on engaging in criminal and violent acts. They are not rebelling against prevailing social conditions.

    xxx

    But arguing that the causes of these attacks are social, economic, historical or religious risks marginalising those hundreds of thousands of individuals attempting to further their lives in France.

    You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s all down to a bunch of deranged lunatics? This is the most myopic analysis I’ve ever read.



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  • “What unites … is a history of psychopathic behaviour, crime and violence.” (Source)

    Maybe, but so what? Malevolent political movements always benefit and recruit from such people, whether it be National Socialists in 1930’s Germany, or Global Jihadists in 2000’s (or indeed other eras). The personal motivations of the individual low-level operatives are subsumed by the wider cause. I doubt that many Auschwitz guards had read Mein Kampff, but they relished carrying out their daily tasks. Just because the Nice truck driver had rarely or never opened a koran is irrelevant to the strategic aims of the ISLAMIC movement, led by an avowed ISLAMIC ‘scholar’, that facilitated and endorsed his actions.



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  • @OP – Some have even gone as far as to resurrect the spectre of French colonial history. Resentment, they argue, still lingers after the painful and bloody war of independence in Algeria that contributed to the collapse of the Fourth Republic.

    Strange – Quoting ACTUAL historical causes in arguments! – Who would have thought of that!!!!??

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/07/what-is-a-constant-cycle-of-violent-news-doing-to-us/#li-comment-207773

    especially when French interference (along with others), is STILL causing conflict and civil war, in North Africa! – Just across the Mediterranean from France!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/07/what-is-a-constant-cycle-of-violent-news-doing-to-us/#li-comment-207857



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  • There will no doubt be more refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean, now that the US and western allies are busy repeating the mistakes of Iraq in Libya, where we may recall interfering western powers decided on regime change, and to give political and military support to rebels overthrowing Gaddafi thereby staring yet another civil war, thus opening up opportunities for infiltration and recruitment by Islamic State!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36941934

    The United States has carried out air strikes on positions of so-called Islamic State in Libya, following a request by the UN-backed government there, the Pentagon says.

    The strikes targeted positions in the port city of Sirte, an IS stronghold.

    Libyan PM Fayez al-Sarraj, in a televised addressed, said the strikes caused “heavy losses”.

    Western powers have become increasingly concerned at Islamic State’s growing presence in Libya.

    The air strikes are the first such US military intervention co-ordinated with the Libyan unity government.

    The Pentagon said the strikes, authorised by President Barack Obama, were in support of government forces currently fighting IS militants.

    The government began an offensive against IS fighters in May and said two weeks ago that it had made its largest gains to date.

    “These actions and those we have taken previously will help deny ISIL a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and our allies,” the Pentagon statement continued, using another term for IS.

    I suppose it is slightly different to the earlier air strikes against Gaddafi government forces, which were trying to put down the initial rebellion and restore law and order!



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  • The first failure in all these interventions was that the military victor made no attempt to secure or destroy the ex-regime’s weapons, allowing them to fall into jihadi hands. THAT should have been done immediately on defeat of Gaddafi. Actually the first failure was complete lack of understanding of Islam- which states clearly the Allah’s Law overrules all man-made ones, such as human rights and the concept of democracy.
    In a true Islamic State democracy is impossible.



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  • JimJFox #5
    Aug 2, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Actually the first failure was complete lack of understanding of Islam- which states clearly the Allah’s Law overrules all man-made ones, such as human rights and the concept of democracy.

    As such, people thus indoctrinated will have no intention of co-operating with civil law or respecting democratic processes.

    In a true Islamic State democracy is impossible.

    Perhaps Gaddafi, Saddam, and Assad knew this, and had matters under control, before interfering, do-gooding, western, asset grabbing, oil hunters, decided to conduct their ideological failed experiments of imposing regime-change and “democracy” by starting and funding civil wars in the hope of installing puppet regimes!



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  • JimJFox #5
    Aug 2, 2016 at 5:02 am

    The first failure in all these interventions was that the military victor made no attempt to secure or destroy the ex-regime’s weapons, allowing them to fall into jihadi hands.

    The failures were that there were no “victors”, and usually are no victors in these types of wars. (Unless we count the profits of munitions industries).
    Afghanistan has a long history of failed colonial rulers achieving partial victories but eventually giving up.

    While media hype often glorifies wars, wars are about thousands or millions of ordinary citizens who are losers as a consequence of the political and military manipulations of well funded ambitious colonial, neo-colonial, criminal gangs, or corporate, power-seekers!

    Many terrorist groups are under-dog relics of previous wars and conquests.



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  • Western foreign policy as a story for kids: (correct me if I’ve got any of this wrong)

    Head into the forest with a chainsaw. Take down a huge tree, easy. Cart it off for furniture or firewood, doesn’t matter. Now, observe the clearing. Left to itself, there’s a fierce competition for the new patch of sunlight, fast growing weeds battle it out. Maybe we planted a sapling to replace the big tree we felled, but what hope has it against the fastest growing stuff, all kinds of creepers and climbers, none of which can replace the fallen giant, but overall they can prevent the growth of a new one. The former clearing becomes an impenetrable thicket, and no longer a habitat for all the life that lived successfully under that big old tree.

    Now, move along a bit and take out another giant tree….



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  • The failures were that there were no “victors”, and usually are no victors in these types of wars.

    Agreed- but I couldn’t think of a word to define the initial military success in toppling the regime.
    Western military tactics seem to have morphed from full invasion/occupation into ‘minimal boots
    on the ground and get out fast’. Somewhere between these extremes may be the best of all the
    bad options; the utter indifference in not hammering ISIS from day one [JV team?] led to allowing
    the bestial practices that followed and it’s ability to recruit psychopaths.

    Now there’s another deluded fool preaching idiocracy–
    http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/08/02/islamic-state-answers-pope-francis-religious-war/?
    What can be done to preserve freedom in the face of this Obama-like denial?



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  • Any young person seeking their identity, resenting their parents choices, etc, and who is from an islamic background, who reads the founding documents of their culture, will find nothing but the deification of a classic psychopathic, narcissistic, paranoid rapist/pedophile straight out of the DSM (pick an edition). A culture that does not discipline or teach self control or courtesy to its young will automatically produce these behaviors in any economic setting. Add to this a genetically skewed population after 1500 years of culling out the “normals” and you have a perfect recipe for today’s nightmare.



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  • 13
    Pinball1970 says:

    @12 Only in the USA Bonnie, from the article “We’re students and doctors and business persons. We’re friends and relational partners and parents and siblings.”

    Yes but you are also followers of a book that says a lot of bad stuff and some of you follow those verses to the letter.

    People are dying as a result.

    Either you are a good person and dont follow the book ie not a muslim Or you are a bad person and do follow it and all the hate that goes with it ie a muslim.



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  • bonnie2 #14
    Aug 3, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    news/ct-muslim-group-billboards-

    The problem is, that it can be impossible to tell if particular Muslims ARE peace loving, or if they are simply, indulging in compartmentalised thinking, in denial, or going for the “No True Scotsman option!

    As far as a Muslim to Muslim message goes, back in Pakistan, Africa, and the Arab world, Muslim attacks on (“the “wrong sort” of) Muslims, are commonplace, so any pretence of unity is a facade, presented for a western audience, – or a seeking for religious support where they are a minority within the wider population!
    Some are even seeking alliances with Catholics in looking for privileged positions for “faith beliefs”!!



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  • 16
    fadeordraw says:

    For me, it was the Rwandan genocide, where thousands were killed by machete that had me dismiss explanations based upon history or ideology, socio-economic conditions, or religion for that matter. The vision of people hacking to death children and neighbours brought the conclusion of madness, even epidemic madness. So I agree with Joseph Downing’s assessment that, “The people who have been attacking France are warped individuals who are intent on engaging in criminal and violent acts. They are not rebelling against prevailing social conditions”. Picasso’s Guernica tells us about terrorism and the terrorism that has been ongoing in Syria for these many years. Europe would rather try to impossibly manage hundreds of thousands refugees than address source issues. And the arms manufacturers, and there are only certain countries involved, as well as their home economies, are the ones who benefit. That’s terror. Shock and awe is terror. Lone or a few mad individuals running amuck killing people club dancing, watching fireworks, or cutting a priest’s throat are horrific, and their frequency definitely is increasing in France, but their relationship with so-called global movements such as, currently, ISIS, is tenuous because of their madness and, if it were the case, it’s minor and grossly ineffectual; one is still more likely to be harmed by a natural disaster than one of these madmen; that is, if one is living in a non-middle eastern area. We need to look at those who profit from the resultant paranoid narrative focused on individual safety, increasing security and diminishing liberty, and all involved in the masters of war industries. These madmen have hate in their hearts to do what they do. How to we manage hate?



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  • 17
    Stoffel says:

    What unites a fairly recent arrival from Tunisia, ex-drug dealers from Belgium and the son of Malian immigrants who attacked a Jewish supermarket is not a common struggle with colonial history or even a life of socioeconomic marginalisation – it is a history of psychopathic behaviour, crime and violence.

    Which boils down to the basic reasoning that terrorism, which is violent, criminal and often psychopathic, is caused by … psychopathic behavior, crime and violence.
    Circular reasoning at best.

    On socioeconomic marginalisation:

    But this assessment is not only too simple, it’s dangerous. France is not a case apart, it is one of many countries affected by three or so decades of international jihadism.

    Is, for instance, socioeconomic marginalisation of monorities confined to France then?
    No it isn’t.

    This is an important point to make because relying too heavily on historical or sociological explanations for the current terror trends in France actually has the potential to be extremely counter productive. The people behind these attacks want to create division, and this explanation falls into their trap. It could serve to accelerate the marginalisation of Muslims and minorities in France.

    So resolving socioeconomic marginalisation in order to remove potential breeding grounds for terrorism by providing better socioeconomic perspectives for young immigrants is accelerating the marginlization of Muslims and minorities??????

    From Charlie Hebdo, to the Bataclan, to Nice and Rouen, the attackers have histories of petty crime and violence.

    Yes they have. Which is ALSO partly (not altogether!) explained by modern criminology as an effect of socioeconomic marginalisation.

    There are hundreds of thousands of people from North and West African backgrounds living in France. Many live in conditions of severe social and economic marginalisation. But hardly any have any sympathy for terrorism at all.

    Does the criminological theory of socioeconomic deprevation as a cause of criminal behavior (or terrorism for that matter) say that ALL who are subjected to social and economic deprivation will become criminal?
    No it doesn’t. Why assuming then?

    Many feel France is their home and regard themselves as French first and foremost, even if they have an attachment to religion and a second country on the southern shores of the Mediterranean.

    NOT true.
    Muslim immigrants and other minorities increasingly feel alienated from the society they live in. Subsequent studies on immigration show that first, second and even third generations of immigrants tend to feel themselves as in the middle of nowhere: they only partly feel themselves, for instance, French but back in their land of origin, they there feel themselves a stranger too.

    This is a unique feature of the immigrants compared to all those autochtonous Frenchmen who also experience socioeconomic marginalization. Bear this in mind when:

    Indeed, their primary concerns are the same as other French nationals. Be they religious or secular, they are experiencing the same pressures as everyone else, including the worst unemployment, specifically youth unemployment, for more than 30 years.

    NOT true. They do not experience the same pressures as autochtonous nationals. The unemployment, specially youth unemployment, under immigrants is VASTLY more severe and structural.

    Now on top of that add the alineation again, mentioned above. not to mention the poorer education among immigrants. Their often scanty language skills.



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  • Blaming inequality is perhaps correct, but understanding the roots of inequality is key. If your culture requires you to withdraw from the wider world, restricts your dress, inhibits your imagination and your capacity to rationalise, represses your sexuality, and ultimately promises you heaven via the certitude of moral superiority, then it’s no surprise that you might become socially (and cerebrally) unequal. From this background there is little likelihood of finding any economic success in the real world.



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  • The basis for all this tragedy is in four causes:

    religion (a betrayal of the human spirit and mind control).
    ignorance (= never question authority+indoctrination).
    overpopulation (this increases the level of poverty and ignorance).
    corruption (who depend on ignorance and poverty).

    Just look at Latin America and the Mid-East and SE Asia (Islam). It is the same story.



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  • Alan @ # 6.

    “Perhaps Gaddafi, Saddam, and Assad knew this, and had matters under control, before interfering, do-gooding, western, asset grabbing, oil hunters, decided to conduct their ideological failed experiments of imposing regime-change and “democracy” by starting and funding civil wars in the hope of installing puppet regimes!”

    Those three knew, and so did those who assisted them initially, but then ignorance of history led Bush and Blair to blunder onto the scene.

    The very idea that Saddam had anything to do 9/11 was absurd; he and bin Laden were sworn enemies.

    Also, they knew Saddam had no WMD, because had done so they knew he would have used them with alacrity.



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  • Saddam wasn’t so concerned about the threat Islamism posed to democracy as the threat it posed to his power base. He even changed direction himself and promoted Islam by building Mosques and was a driving force behind the Return to Faith campaign.

    I guess he assumed he could keep it under his control and perhaps figured it was a good idea at the time to get on side with the Muslim Brotherhood.



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