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The Riots

Like you, I have been following the rioting in Paris pretty actively. The good news is, that the curfews set out by the state seemed to have curbed some of the violence and burning. The bad news is, it isn't over yet. The spread of burnings has not reached my region yet - and is bound not to. I live in a very agricultural part of the country. It would be like riots in Chicago effecting the people in southern Illinois - not bound to happen. It has moved to other cities around the country, and there have been isolated incidents in Brussels and Berlin as well.

Most of the unrest stems from unemployment, which anyone could tell you is a major problem here. The second problem comes from the first generation Muslims. Do you remember (the answer will be no unless you read about it, because you are all pretty much too young) what New York city was like in the early 1900's? Alot of unemployment, or people unable to get jobs because their name was too European, etc? That is basically what is going on here? There was alot of immigration in the 80's and 90's from countries like Morocco and Algeria, and the children who are born and bred French are tired of being treated like immigrants. Many of them are beginning to enter the work force, but their chances of being turned away because they have an Arab sounding last name is five times higher than someone with a French sounding last name.

Also, because of the school system here, if you aren't intellectually bound, you basically can leave school around age 14 and have to find a job. This is totally legal, but incredibly difficult. Unemployment can be as high as 50% in immigrant neighborhoods. And, in a country where people work for the government just to make sure they can't get fired, getting a job at 15 doesn't seem very likely. Additionally, there are some new ideas floating around the EU about cutting agricultural subsidies to France (because they receive the benefits more than any of the other EU countries) which would put even more independent farms out of business and cause an influx of younger workers into the major cities searching for jobs - where there currently aren't any.

So, the long and short of it is, I'm safe and so is my town, but this isn't the end of the problem or the things that sparked it. Also, to further quell your fears (Family especially), I am registered with the American Embassy in Paris. That means they have my information and contact stuff and will come and get me if need be. I also receive email advisories about unsafe zones or places in the country, and any abnormalities near the American Embassy. Travel advisories included. Mom, Dad, Lorien, and Travis can obtain my personal information from the Embassy if need be, and Dad is my emergency contact in the US (though it is the house number, so really, it is both of you).

You should also know that the major Muslim and Islamic groups in the country have come out against the riots and are encouraging the youth to desist and allow the government to respond appropriately. Hopefully that will work. These major religious groups coming out for peace also means that terrorist acts (at least those that originate from this country) aren't bound to be happening any time soon. Again, we can keep our fingers crossed. If you believe in this sort of thing, pray that the hearts of those involved will be calmed/pacified and that the government will be able to come to some sort of reasonable solution. Ooo, also that Austria will not use these riots to let their xenophobic conservative party pass a law outlawing immigration. Love and miss you all. ~Heather


kmcmurray said…
Hey girl! I'm glad that you have been doing well and that you are safe. I've been trying to keep up with your blog lately. I think its cute that you sign your name at the end of each entry (as if those of us reading it don't know that you wrote it;) I'm praying for you. ~Kayla