I promised myself, I would only touch upon Scandinavian issues, but this one is so bad, it makes my blood boil. It is a story that has been known for some time now in French media, and is only now beginning to seep into the english-language media. The Observer has taken it up, but in a way that angers me beyond belief. More about that in a bit.
By now, everybody should have heard about the riots in France, now in their 10th consecutive day. The ritual burning of all things available has resulted in several thousand cars, nurseries, schools and assorted other buildings burned. A handicapped woman unable to get off a bus has been doused with gasoline, then set on fire. She luckily survived.
The Observer is the Sunday edition of the British leftwing paper the Guardian, and for this Sunday the paper had opted to include a "Focus"-article on the riots. It opens up with victimology at full tilt, assuring us of the innocence of the two youths, then describing how they ran from police despite said innocence. We end up with the youths killing themselves when they choose to crawl over a 2-metre wall adorned with scull and crossbones, to be electrocuted by the electricity substation behind the walls. The thing gets raised a notch more by the mention of the two devastated families.
But during all the coverage of the riots, did you ever hear about Jean-Claude Irvoas?
The same day that the two youths electrocuted themselves, Mr. Irvoas (51) got out of his car to take a photo. Instead, he was set upon by three arabs and beaten to death while his wife and daughter - both still in the car - could only look on in horror.
Nobody rioted for him.
But that is not what angers me - that is the treatment the Observer chose to give him. After the victim-worship of the two youths in the top-3 paragraphs of the article, Mr. Irvoas is stashed in part of the 2nd-last paragraph, but only as a pawn in an evil politicians´plot to get "the intolerant rightwing vote". What brings my blood to near-evaporation state is that neither he nor his family qualify as victims - they are "victims" - hyphenated people who apparently had it coming since they werent black or moslem.
The full treatment by the Observer:
Yet in a country where 28,000 cars have been burnt on housing estates this year alone, Sarkozy's gamble for the intolerant right-wing vote could still pay off. In today's Le Monde, the Interior Minister is unrepentant in a personal opinion piece titled 'Our strategy is the right one'.
Last week, on the day Bouna and Ziad were killed, Jean-Claude Irvoas, 51, got out of his car in Epinay-sur-Seine to take a photograph. As his wife and daughter sat in the car, Irvoas was attacked by three men, said to be Arabs from a nearby housing estate, and savagely beaten. He died in hospital later that evening. While speaking of the perpetrators, Sarkozy speaks to France's 'victims' - and they don't live in Clichy-sous-Bois or Aulnay-sous-Bois.
If in the past the 'louts' were forgotten, it looks like they could now be used as pawns by France's politicians.
If you, like me, want to express your disgust to the Obersver/Guardian, the following email addresses should be of help:
For the web-edition the links direct you to:
- Emily Bell, editor in chief - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Newsdesk - email@example.com
For the paper as such, the following addresses should be of use:
- News desk - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Foreign desk - email@example.com
- Readers´ editor - Ian Mayes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, feel free to tip off whatever blogs you may frequent, and suggest them to take part.