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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

02 November 2005

a horrible end to Ramadan in Paris

Firemen try to extinguish a car
which was set on fire during the fifth night
of riots in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois
on Tuesday 1 November. (Reuters photo)


Last night Bob had another relapse back into his Internet Relay Chat addiction, and found himself in a private chat with Mohamed, an Egyptian university student (studying management) from Cairo.

Everyone on chatroom Undernet #israel was in a Time Zone Coma and not chatting, but as I always do, I came on and announced my presence loudly and sillily:

[Droog4] shalom salaam ramadan kareem & mubarak hola ola salut servus privet buna shazam konichi-wa bonjour wie gehts howdy aloha werd sup?

Nobody answered, so I moved on to other chatrooms, like my favorite porn channel, #zebracockroachsexpix .

But then someone followed me and private-chatted me. I don't mean to make fun of his English. It was perfectly clear, and later he told me he taught himself English.

[NILEGUY] Where you from?
[Droog4] USA
[NILEGUY] You are Jew?

[Droog4] I are Jew.

[NILEGUY] Why you say this? salaam ramadan kareem & mubarak
[Droog4] How many more days until Ramadan ends?
[NILEGUY] Ramadan ends tomorrow

[Droog4] Ramadan Kareem! Did you have a good Ramadan?
[NILEGUY] fast ends tomorrow
[Droog4] Where you from?

[NILEGUY] egypt
[NILEGUY] Why all Jews hate Muslims?

[Droog4] I don't hate Muslims. Muslims are my brothers and sisters. Muslims are my neighbors.

[NILEGUY] You really think this?

[Droog4] Yes. Is that okay? You like hate and war better?


The chat lasted a long time. He told me his name was Mohamed and I told him my name was Bob.

It's pathetically easy for an American Jew to give Muslims heart attacks on IRC. If I hated Muslims and wanted to kill them, all I'd have to type is:

[Droog4] I don't hate Muslims.

You can knock Muslims to the floor on IRC just by saying

[Droog4] Salaam

Or, in the Holy Season that has ended today:

[Droog4] Ramadan Kareem

What a pathetic moment this is for Earth. Where being a respectful, peaceful neighbor is as rare a thing for most people to experience as a lightning bolt hitting your head.

I told him about the day I stumbled into Amsterdam's MiddleEastStraat, and the Egyptian restaurant guy who pointed to an Israeli restaurant across the street, and said:

"We don't all love each other.
But we all came here
because here,
our kids
don't have to murder

each other every 15 years."


I think Mohamed and Bob are friends now, as soon as he recovers from his heart attack. He wants to show me Egypt. I want to see the Animal Hospital in Cairo that was founded in the 1920s by a rich crazy English woman. She's long gone, but her crazy hospital is still there and still takes care of the sick horses and dogs and cats and camels of Cairo. I want to see Abu Simbel and the High Aswan Dam. I told him about New England and our beautiful autumn trees. He wants to come to America, but suspected it will be very difficult for him to get a visa.

Maybe it was all a trick. Maybe he is a Terrorist. Maybe I am a spy for the Mossad.

Yawn.

I find all the suspicion and hatred on Planet Earth to be very tedious. And particularly the violence and the wars.

Want to hear a secret? Jews and Muslims fall in love with each other and get married all over the world. I guess there are about 50,000 mixed marriages in Israel today. The families are ripshit. (But things calm down a little after the grandchildren are born.)

In Yugoslavia, under Tito's long dictatorship and enforced ethnic/religious peace, there were a million mixed Muslim-Christian marriages.

U.B. told me a heartbreaking thing when I visited Berlin the first time. (More about that trip soon.)

There is trouble all over Europe: hatred, violence, suspicion between Christians and Muslims. Sometimes mobs chase Muslims through the streets to beat them up or worse.

But in Berlin -- always through modern history an Englightened, Educated City -- businesses put signs on their street doors:

EMERGENCY ENTRANCE

(not EXIT)

so that a Muslim from North Africa or Turkey who is running in terror and fear for his life can push open the EMERGENCY ENTRANCE, and inside, he or she will be safe. The store owner will not let the mob follow him.

I hope almost everyone all over Europe and Asia and Africa had a Ramadan Kareem (generous) and a Ramadan Mubarak (blessed, like Hebrew "Baruch").

But Vleeptron is very sad to report that not everyone had a peaceful Ramadan Kareem.

Vleeptron is very happy to report that Everyone on Ciudad Vleeptron -- it has 31 mosques, 31 synagogues, and 31 churches -- had a peaceful Ramadan. You should come to Ciudad Vleeptron on the Zeta Beam someday, I'd love to show you around. Early every morning, you can listen to the Call to Prayer echoing from the minarets as the last of Vleeptron's five moons sets.

*********

The Washington Post (Washington DC USA)
Wednesday 2 November 2005


Anger Spreads Across
Paris Suburbs After Death
of Muslim Boys

By Molly Moore
Washington Post Foreign Service


PARIS, Nov. 2 -- Clashes between angry youths and French police spread to at least six Paris suburbs overnight, with police firing tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at street fighters who lobbed Molotov cocktails and burned cars and trash bins.

With unrest expanding through the northern suburbs of high-rise apartments that house some of France's poorest immigrant populations, senior government officials were debating how to curb the violence during Wednesday morning's weekly cabinet meeting.

The clashes began last Thursday after two African Muslim teenagers were electrocuted in the northeastern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois while trying to evade police. On Sunday, as the street fighting continued, a police tear gas canister landed inside a mosque during Ramadan prayers, further inflaming the impoverished communities.

On Tuesday night, sporadic fighting crossed into the suburbs from Clichy-sous-Bois to Aulnay-sous-Bois where groups of youths threw stones at police in riot gear and torched 15 cars.

France-Info radio reported about 150 fires throughout the area, including 69 vehicles and dozens of garbage bins.

Adel Benna tried to put himself in the shoes of his shy 17-year-old brother, Ziad, and two teenage friends who scaled a wall and leapt into the cables of a power substation last Thursday evening -- willing to face electrocution rather than the French police officers they were trying to evade in this impoverished Paris suburb.

"Young people don't just throw themselves into an electrical current," Benna said Tuesday, his voice trembling in anger. "They looked behind them and saw something that made them so terrified, so desperate, they did it out of absolute fear. I hate the police. They are responsible for my brother's death."

Ziad Benna and his friend Bouna Traore, 15, sons of working-class African Muslim immigrants, were both electrocuted. A third youth survived.

It set off five days of rioting, firebombing and car burning that continued here at least through Tuesday.

Groups of young men have attacked postal service vans and a police station, and set fire to trash bins during the rampages. The French news media reported that about three dozen law enforcement officials and rioters have been injured in the violence.

The street fighting less than an hour's subway ride from the heart of Paris has underscored France's failed efforts to stem the growing unrest within a largely Muslim immigrant population that feels disenfranchised and is beset by high unemployment and crime. An estimated 6 million Muslims live in France, many of them in dismal high-rise enclaves like this one.

"It's unemployment, it's pressure -- it just exploded," Bouhout Abderrahmane, 54, who heads the local Muslim Cultural Association, said Tuesday morning, visibly exhausted after an all-night effort to quell the continuing violence in this town.

Many residents were outraged Sunday night when a police tear gas canister was thrown into a local mosque during prayers for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. About 700 coughing and panicked worshipers ran for the doors.

Residents accused the police of deliberately attacking the mosque. French officials said they were investigating the incident, which occurred during police skirmishes with youths near the place of worship, a white concrete box of a building attached to a small grocery.

The violence focused criticism on Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, a prominent candidate in the 2007 presidential stakes. The week before the youths' deaths, he had announced "a war without mercy" on crime in the Paris suburbs.

Sarkozy, who has also called for affirmative action programs, fumbled in his initial response to the violence. He at first referred to the two dead boys as juvenile delinquents who were wanted in connection with a robbery, then amended that to say they were suspected of vandalizing a construction site.

On Monday, during a visit to the nearby police station, he said the youths were "not criminals" and had no criminal records, and promised a full investigation so that "everyone will know the truth."

In response to the crime problem in the suburbs, Sarkozy said he would deploy more police on the streets and dispatch more undercover agents to penetrate criminal gangs. He said he would start an experimental program in Clichy-sous-Bois to mount video cameras atop police cars to record the actions of suspects and to show that "police are behaving properly" during arrests.

Residents say more police will only exacerbate tensions.

"People are fed up with being controlled by cops, being stopped over and over," said Jean-Jacques Eyquem, a 53-year-old taxi driver who has lived in this town of 28,000 for most of his life.

"My brother paid the price of zero tolerance with his life," Adel Benna, brother of one of the dead youths, said in an interview, referring to Sarkozy's anti-crime mantra.

According to Benna, his brother and two other friends had been playing a game of pickup soccer and were on their way home to break the daily Ramadan fast last Thursday when they spotted a police checkpoint. Officers there were demanding identity papers, a common tactic in the high-crime neighborhoods of the Paris suburbs.

One of the boys had left his papers at home, Benna said. Hungry and fearful of being dragged into the police station after a day of fasting, they tried to dodge the checkpoint, Benna said.

Witnesses told the family that police began chasing the boys, according to Benna and other relatives. French officials have given several versions of the incident, with some officials saying that although the youths were not pursued by police, they believed they were being chased, and panicked. The teenager who survived, the son of Turkish immigrants, is undergoing surgery for severe burns, according to family members.

In a memorial march for the two youths over the weekend, a group of friends and neighbors wore white T-shirts emblazoned with the French words for "Dead for nothing."

Benna described his brother, Ziad, the youngest of five children, as "very shy, very nice, very helpful -- he was a good boy, the baby of the family."

Their father works for the city of Paris as a truck driver based just a block from the Eiffel Tower, in one of the city's most affluent neighborhoods. As he earned enough money over the years, he brought members of his family from their native Tunisia to live in the small apartment in a shabby, 11-story high-rise in Clichy-sous-Bois, which means Clichy Under the Woods. All signs of woods disappeared decades ago.

Ziad, who arrived four years ago, was struggling to learn French in school, Benna said. In a community where 25 percent of all heads of household are unemployed, Ziad was thrilled that his high school teacher had arranged for him to start a vocational training program this week, according to his brother.

- 30 -

1 Comments:

Anonymous patfromch said...

According to french TV Antenne 2 (I can watch french TV, not just because I understand french) violence spread to other cities in France within the last few days, including Dijon and Marseille and Paris where a Bus Depot was burned down.
During a Parilament Meeting a few days ago , Nicholas Sarkosy, Interior Minister, had made a few furious remarks regarding the recent Innner Citiy Violence and it is assumed that these remarks fuelled the anger of the youth in those Beaulieus.
If you want to follow the story then Sarkosy is The Man To Watch. Just elected into office this Summer, he promised a lot and has't done very much. He had some very strong remarks for the protesters ("don't think that you can get away with this" and such) but as of yet he has not offered any solutions on what he intends to to with the unemployment rate, crime, drug abuse etc etc in the Beaulieus.
Ever seen a movie called "La Haine" ("Hate") ? If not, go out, rent it or buy it and watch it. Maybe it will help you understand what those kids are up to (which does not mean that I agree with them)

18:13  

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