Paris, as most people know, is one of my favourite places. I go there whenever I can. I love the art, the vibe of the city.
The film La Haine (Hate) was made in 1995 by Matthieu Kassovitz, starring Vincent Cassell, a story of youths living in apartment blocks, no jobs, fighting with the police. The sad thing is, although made some 14 years ago it could have been made this week.
An 18 year old man was killed on Sunday night, seemingly he didn’t stop at a travel control point and was pursued by a cop car in Bagnolet in the North of Paris.
The man came off his motorcycle. The police say that its not their fault, they didn’t hit the guy. Locals say otherwise.
Most people know what some of this area looks like, heck, you’ve passed it on the train going to the city from Charles de Gaulle airport. It’s not exactly pretty. Tower blocks and vacant wastelands as far as the eye can see.
There is a history of violence and tensions with the police in suburbs in Paris. Riots in 2005 almost brought the entire country to a standstill with imposed curfews and were reported around the world. Riots are the last thing the area needs right now.
The rates of unemployment in these areas are high and there are religious cultural and sometimes radical divides.
It seems to me, an outsider, it seems a lot of the problems here stem back maybe thirty years or more. Immigrants from the French empire travelled to The capital in search of a better life. Unskilled workers seem to have gotten into a cycle which they passed on to their children.
Its sad and its sadder, though everywhere is experiencing financial difficulty, the under 24s are in the highest group of unemployed agewise.
Nicholas Sarkozy has brought in some new measures into effect to get the younger people into apprenticeships.
Hopefully this will help the situation, nobody wants riots, nobody wants another, real life, La Haine.