I recently visited the northern Parisian suburb of La Courneuve, because of French-Africans, living in tents. Since mouth, after they had been expelled from their apartments in "Barre Balzac". (more about Balzac = "Au revoir mouvementé à la barre Balzac")
Let us not forget: La Courneuve is the place where the current French President sparked a kind of "French Intifada" with his famous demand to clean up all these suburbs with a "Kraecher". It is a tale, a living metaphor, that these places stay for "Black violence" and / or "Islamic extremism" in France… It is simply not the reality!
The reality I found: La Courneuve now features many large "HLM's" (low-income housing projects). The streets are relatively wide and empty, with little street-level commerce, aside from government services and large supermarkets. I did not see visible signs of an Islamic presence and I passed only one synagogue but not a single mosque. The police, I've have been asking for a direction, warned me "do not show your camera too visible for others", but on the contrary the suburb did not feel dangerous at all; - instead it seemed more bleak and deserted than anything else…
Its appearance confirmed what statistics report: the overwhelming majority of Muslims in France (whether from Africa, the Maghreb, or other parts of the Arab world) are moderate. The problem lies with the one or two apartments harbouring Islamic extremists hidden within the tens of thousands that do not. This is not a "security issue", it is a social issue.
French law prohibits ethnic statistics, so several studies, such as INSEE census or surveys must be used for an estimate. The inhabitants of the overseas territories are 2.5 million people, Sub-Saharan Africa about one million. An other study by Cran-TNS Sofres in 2007 estimates the Afro-French population inside France to about 1.9 million people. This is a figure lower than in reality, because it does take the third generation descendants of migrants into account, so the overall number lays closer at 2.5 to 3 million.
France does not only have an integration/immigration problem. "Le Grand Nation" must also work to give a place to people of other ethnic backgrounds in the French identity. Despite claims that its commitment to secularism nullifies prejudice against any religion, it is an open secret that historically Catholic France has heretofore failed to muster sufficient will and understanding to truly accept for followers of other beliefs and ethnic groups as French citizens.
With the destruction of public housing, precisely: buildings that had been being built for the purpose to avoid social hardship and on top of it, paid for from public funds, it is totally anachronistic to justify this actions with security concerns, because at the same time the moaning about a lack of affordable housing does not stop on contararry, rents exceeds easily 30 € per square meter.
Background: During the 1960s, as Paris could not longer meet the demands exploding population, caused largely by the immigration of people, that followed a failed policy in former French colonies, "La Courneuve" was one of many other suburbs in Paris, Ile de France, designated as one of the "zones à urbaniser en priorité" (areas to be urbanized quickly). Architectual Monsters, 40 meter high, 200 long, painfully boring, had been built up from taxpayers money to secure a effordable housing for those had flewn to France because they had been loyal to their former ocupiers. All these buildings, with colorful names, criticized by some, loved by others, simply crystallize the economic and social problems resulting from the self inflicted crisis of capitalismn, unemployment, lack of resources, overcrowding, all that and anyway, between 1962 and 1968 the population nearly doubled.
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