Remember the Los Angeles riots? Remember the terrorist attacks of 9/11? Remember the invasion of Iraq in 2002? In every one of these circumstances one country has always come to the aid of the United States with advice on how to better handle the situation. This country consistently and aggressively offered criticism without ever actually contributing. The country I am referring to is, of course, France.
On Monday the French celebrated the third week of uncontrolled rioting in their country by extending their 12-day state of emergency for the next three months. According to MSNBC.com the bill that would extend emergency measures into mid-February was approved by the Cabinet and will most likely be approved by the parliament and put into action by the time this column hits the presses.
Also according to MSNBC.com, thousands of cars (1,400 in one night) have been torched throughout France and this trend continues every night despite the curfews and inspections now being imposed. Attacks on schools, stores, warehouses, factories and the police, as well a healthy dose of looting, have also been prominent in many areas of the country. All of this occurred, I might add, for two weeks without any response from President Jacques Chirac and the French government.
France criticized America during the L.A. riots for not being able to properly integrate minorities into our society. Now, in response to the accidental death of two impoverished teens, their minority population is burning the country to the ground. France also criticized our ability to handle terrorism both at home and abroad post 9/11. Now all French citizens and their property are in a constant threat of destruction by terrorists living in their own country. And yes, in case you were wondering, those rioting are terrorists. They are destroying property and attacking people to further their agenda. Innocent civilians don't use fire-bombs to get their way. It appears now that the omniscient mediator that is France can accomplish none of the things they have been criticizing the rest of the western world for during the past several years.
A three month state of emergency, millions of dollars in damage and not a single viable solution to the ethnic tensions that have caused all of the above, have left France in a state of stunned hypocritical stupidity where no one should feel very bad for them.
Before you all start outlining your letters to the editor, let me clarify that this is a terrible situation and should not be taken lightly. The blame for this crisis certainly falls on many different parties including both the French economic system and the immigrants (many illegal) who are causing the damage. All I am trying to do is point out the hypocrisy running rampant in many European countries with respect to the United States. France can no longer claim the moral high-ground in world affairs and point out everyone else's short-comings.
Chirac pompously lecturing this country on how to handle our own affairs has become equivalent to Michael Jackson teaching a parenting seminar, or Ken Lay (former CEO of Enron) teaching a business-ethics class. It just doesn't make any sense.
Ryan Chapman is a senior marketing major. His column runs every Wednesday in the Collegian.