the article touches on an idea raised by one of my berkeley friends:
The Egyptian daily Al-Massaie referred to the riots as ``the intefadeh of the poor.'' Arabic satellite networks have given lead coverage to the mayhem, with regular live reports. Newspapers have followed the story on inside pages, calling it a ``nightmare'' and a ``war of the suburbs.''the idea is that while the riots might seem to have nothing to do with radical islam, and perhaps islam itself in general, muslim groups across europe and elsewhere have latched onto this outburst and used it as an illustration of the western world's poor treatment of muslims. this can be a vehicle for their ideas.
i think the reality is that questions around islam in france are certainly worth considering in light of this uprising, however to focus on that might be to neglect more important concerns about race, political access, and workplace access for minorities in france.
my friend also wished that there was some way someone could interview all the people arrested in this uprising: why did you do it? did you have goals? were there leaders? how do you feel about... etc..
i think doing that is extremely important, and one dimension of its importance that particularly fascinates me is how the sum might be very different than the individual parts... things have emerged from these actions that might have nothing to do with any of the goals of the involved individuals. how does that happen? how does the meaning change and evolve as it moves through the network of public thought and opinion?