Why the French identity crisis has gotten so deep

Why the French identity crisis has gotten so deep

In 2002, three years before the riots in the French banlieues that severely tested Chirac's presidency, the historian Georges Bensoussan directed a collective work, "Les Territoires perdus de la République", which is still today a point of reference for understanding what happens beyond the périphérique, the road belt that surrounds Paris, in those territories where a cultural and identity separatism is underway that a certain political-intellectual world stubbornly does not see. The recent riots following the killing of the young Nahel have revived the debate on the suburbs and their state 18 years after the events in Clichy-sous-Bois. “There are basically two points in common between the riots of 2005 and those of three weeks ago: the starting point in both cases was the death of a young Frenchman from old immigrant communities, from a youth who believes they are victims of a state's policy of segregation. The ultra-left and the Islamists feed this fire which applies the colonial scheme of 19th century France to the present, to arrive at a logic of territorial secession”, George Bensoussan tells Il Foglio. “The second similarity lies in the young age of the rioters: a third of those arrested are minors and among them there is a large number of thirteen and fourteen year oldsthe. This brings out the problems of education and family structures, highlights, against a background of poverty, the impressive number of single-parent families (single women raising their children), but also the role of the male in Maghrebi families. These are factors that fall within the field of cultural anthropology, alongside more well-known social factors. The most important difference is 'immediate looting' and a brutally expressed hatred of France. But also the organization of the rioters (sometimes informed of police movements), much better than in 2005 thanks to social networks”.

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