Algeria is a country on the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa. Algiers is the capitol city.
In 1830, the local ruler in Algiers got into a heated argument with the French consul and struck him with his flywhisk. The king of France, Charles X, decided to do something rather un-French -- he decided to retaliate with a show of force.
The French soon defeated the Algerians, primarily Muslims, and colonized the region which included imposing the French language and culture on the inhabitants.
In due course, France would also conquer and colonize neighboring Morocco and Tunisia.
After World War II, France encouraged workers (laborers) in North Africa and Turkey to emigrate into France and help to rebuild the nation from the devastation of war. These immigrants were confined to isolated housing projects (soon-to-become ghettoes) and treated as second-class citizens.
In the 1960s, France's economy was stagnant and the government was running a deficit. They figured the solution was expansion -- more people in the economy would mean a larger tax base which would lead to more prosperity. So France once again recruited immigrants, primarily Arabs and black Africans, to stimulate growth.
Today, 3 million Muslims live in crowded ghettoes in France, the largest Muslim population in Europe.
On October 27, 2005, the conditions created by the greed and arrogance of the French finally exploded.
In a Paris suburb, police were checking identification papers of young Muslim men, a practice often used by the French police to discourage minorities from entering middle class areas, when two Muslim teens apparently ran from the police and hid in an electrical power station where they were electrocuted.
This sparked about two weeks of riots throughout 300 cities in France which included some 1,200 arrests and over 4,000 burnt vehicles.
Outrage had been building for some time. There had been an average of 80 cars torched per week in France leading up to the riots. Suddenly, the deaths of two Muslim teens triggered additional latent hostility.
Most of the rioters were young Muslim men and boys. The unemployment rate among this group exceeds 40%. Their parents or grandparents were emigrants to France but most of them were born locally. Their birthright is French but they're not considered to be French by the indigenous inhabitants. Thus, they're basically excluded from French society. While their elders accept this fate, the young ones don't like being treated like scum.
Contrary to the popular opinion of those who believe in a collectivist approach to social harmony, these young rioters do not want to be assimilated into French society. They want to be excluded from integration into a social fabric that shuns them and prefer to remain in their own private Muslim enclaves. Specifically, they want the French establishment (police) out of their territory and desire to rule their own neighborhoods.
The French are a snooty people. They feel and act superior to all other forms of humanity. Being a minority, surrounded by those who consider you to be inferior, is a hard way to go through life. Being a young man with no future is also a hard way to go through life. And being checked for identification papers every time you wander from your own neighborhood could cause a young man (with no future and being treated like dirt) to be volatile.
The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the hill. It all started with human greed. The French government was greedy by colonizing other countries. The people of France were greedy for bringing in cheap foreign workers to do the manual labor and add to the tax base. The immigrants were greedy by presuming life would be better elsewhere. Once thrown together, the indigenous French people and the immigrants developed a mutual dislike for one another, each desiring an existence that excluded the other (another form of greed).
Some people can find happiness in their present circumstances while others assume happiness is always just over the next hill. But sometimes when you venture over the next hill you wind up in a dump like France.
Happiness is not over the next hill -- it's an attitude.
The key to happiness is between your ears.
Quote for the Day -- "Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without an accordion." U.S. Army General Norman Schwarzkopf
Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and an imaginary girlfriend named Tequila Mockingbird.