When You Cannot Sweep the Dirt Under the Carpet Anymore

Yasin Yağcı - Netherland
The recent revolt of foreign youth in Paris, which is considered the capital of European civilization, has now been suppressed, even though it first spread to some of the other European Union countries and especially to Belgium.
The incident of two young immigrants, who were killed by an electrical transformer when they tried to hide while running away from police officers who wanted to see their IDs, caused the revolt.    Everywhere was like a battle ground. The spread of this revolt into other European countries had also been considered. As a matter of fact, similar incidents had occurred in the Netherlands the previous year. And what is the reason for this reaction? What state of mind fills people with such rage? What are they angry at, what do they want? There are plenty of questions and answers, and they are very clear.

It’s no mystery that the incident that started in and spread in waves from the “suburbs" of Paris, which house immigrants from Morocco, Africa and Turkey, was a revolt. This is the silent revolt of people who are considered as "others” and treated contemptuously, obviously discriminated against among their friends at school and in their professional lives, and having a low social status. This is why many wise men are trying to bring this subject to the agenda.

The incident is not simply a matter of headscarf restriction nor a superficial display of rage. The events which occurred before our eyes are very profound and complicated matters which may reoccur with highly devastating force in future days. Besides, it is very wrong to assume that the reasons for such incidents only exist in France. In all the European countries which house immigrant groups the view is the same.  

The main reason creating these social explosions is without a doubt the excluding attitude of the society. The rage accumulating in the immigrant masses which cannot have their own space in public can from time to time cause such explosions. These people, who do not succeed in obtaining the living standards they deserve, also represent the lowest economic group of society. These problems, which are very common among the members of the young population who got involved in these kinds of incidents, derive from ghettoism, as Prof. Tarik Ramazan put it. Ramazan's following observation is very accurate: "France is becoming a surrounded middle-class and socio—economically collectivist nation which constitutes very well-protected living conditions for its rich citizens and which tries to hold the unwanted people in their ghettos.” This diagnosis is also true for the Netherlands and Germany since the situations in these countries are pretty much similar.

Especially in the last few economically depressed years, Europe has made its foreign citizens into a target. They are considered to be redundant in public opinion. Economically, there are great gaps. The high living standards of certain groups, while a great portion of the immigrant groups live on the verge of starvation, causes the rage to accumulate.  

Some know how the so called “multi-cultural" life of Europe is distorted by the politicians of the current government. The terms “multi-cultural” and “tolerance” have become meaningless expressions, especially after September 11. It is clear that this mindset, which does not tolerate any differences, is trying to make us adopt the concept of assimilation. “The other” will either accept being assimilated or go back to where it has come from. But the group to be assimilated is already a part of this society. If we don’t take into consideration the first generation, the rest have all been born in, had their educations in and, furthermore, hold the passports of these countries.

Whether Europeans accept it or not, this ancient continent has a multi-cultural social structure and has to live with it. The problem cannot be solved by putting pressure on different cultures. At best, these problems are swept under the carpet. But one day the carpet can't hold it any longer. Look at what happened in Paris! We all saw, with our very own eyes, that the carpet did not hide the dirt anymore.

(March 2006, 19th Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07