France’s Go Ahead and Go (If You’re Brave) Zones

I was working the Worst President Twitter account and I came across a tweet by National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke, regarding an article he’s written about Paris. In the article he discusses, among other things, the now-infamous Fox News report about Paris’ no-go zones:

Outside the periphique, it’s dangerous, ugly, tense—often lawless. If you’re Jewish you’re in trouble. There’s little sense of “Frenchness.”

To which I responded, in Twitter form, that if it isn’t French; if Jews better watch out and it is rather lawless then that would fit the definition of a no-go zone, if you ask me. Cooke took exception to that, asserting vigorously that the concept of a no-go zone is untrue. I promised to read his National Review article. Proving definitively that National Review is not part of Obama’s America, I had to pay twenty five cents for the privilege of reading it – and it was well worth the two bits (actually, it is worth quite a bit more than that). If you’ve got a quarter and a little time to spare, I highly recommend it – and you can read it here.

Getting down to no-go brass tacks, the article includes this:

Approximately 80 percent of those who live in Aulnay’s cités are Muslim, I am told. “So,” I ask, “is this one of those sharia-bound no-go areas that we always hear about?”

To my surprise, the question provokes laughter. “That’s a myth,” my hosts exclaim. “It’s impossible.” There are certainly serious “tensions” between the police and the locals, one guide says. “Police won’t go and interfere with women illegally wearing niqabs because they don’t want to prompt retaliation. Definitely, there’s tolerance toward this stuff.” Recently, I learn, a veiled woman who was stopped by police refused to hand over her ID. Instead, she called for help. Quickly, the police in the area were surrounded, and, hoping to defuse the situation, the local commissioner let her go. Angry at the intrusion, a gang came back and burned a copy of the civil code.

This, it seems, is fairly typical. But sharia, as we understand it? “No.”

I have immense respect for Mr. Cooke and enjoy his writing on a regular basis – but, for crying out loud, the wearing of the niqab is required by Sharia law and forbidden by French law…and the French authorities allowed the lady in question to adhere to Sharia law.

I get the point that what is in the public mind when they think “no-go” is an exaggeration; the concept that there are places under French jurisdiction where the police and other authorities never go. If that is what is claimed as a myth, then I concede the point. The French police and military are fully capable of entering any place under French jurisdiction any time they wish and I’m sure that when something the authorities can’t ignore happens, they go in. But, as it actually made pretty clear in Cooke’s article, there is massive criminal activity going on in parts of Paris and the authorities aren’t doing much about it. Cooke’s story of pretty open drug dealing out in front of a Mosque means, to me, that the police know full well that if they try to interfere with this then Muslim radicals in the area will kick up a fuss and lots of elite voices in France will start making accusations of racism…and so they just don’t go. The area is, for practical purposes, a no-go zone for the French authorities. Not because they can’t go, but because they won’t go – and they won’t go because they believe the political costs of going outweigh the benefits of not going.

Don’t be too down on the French about this: there are no-go zones in the United States, as well. Why do you think in places like Chicago there are neighborhoods horrifically crime-ridden while the neighborhood just down the street is nearly crime-free? I can’t think of any other reason than that the police are protecting one area very well, but not too interested in what is going on in the other. Take a look at the crime stats for the Hyde Park and Washington Park areas of Chicago – Hyde Park ranks 44th of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods in violent crime; Washington Park ranks 5th. They are right next to each other. Seriously – you can cross the street from Hyde Park to Washington Park. Criminals can’t cross the street? Of course they can – but for some reason they don’t. In fact, why don’t criminals routinely head to the richest areas of town to rob and burglarize? Its not like criminals don’t have cars – why beat someone for $50 when you can beat someone else ten miles away for $500? One area is protected, another area isn’t. One area is under the laws of the City of Chicago, one area not quite so much. As to why these two neighborhoods are different I’ll leave that to someone with the time for more in-depth research…but, to me, Washington Park is a no-go zone. I won’t go there. Certainly not after dark. So are those neighborhoods of Paris where Mr. Cooke recently toured. They aren’t entirely part of France – I can’t expect a friendly and polite French police officer to protect me in some areas. I can’t even be very certain that if I were killed in one of those areas that an in-depth investigation would be done…after all, it might lead to someone of a certain faith being the prime suspect and arresting him could cause a riot. Better just to send the American stiff back home and close the case as “unsolved”.

As a citizen of the United States, there should be no part of the United States where it is unsafe for me to travel – any time, day or night. And if I got myself a visa to visit France, I should be able to wander aimlessly about France with never a worry for my safety. That is what government’s which are doing their job ensure. Indeed, it is the prime reason to have a government. Most of the rest of what government does is dross. But, that is not the case. Of course, it has always been like that: there have always been bad neighborhoods that are best to stay out of. But the difference we have today with the past is that a bad neighborhood in the past might have been that way for a multitude of reasons, but some of the bad neighborhoods in Paris (and elsewhere in the Western world) are to be stayed out of simply because of the faith of a majority of the people living there. Safely defended by a craven fear among our elite leadership, areas of the West are being sutured off from our laws and customs. To be sure, a great deal of run-of-the-mill criminal activity is going on in these areas, but the defense of the run-of-the-mill criminals is the fact that they operate out of primarily Muslim areas.

There are various kinds of injustice in the world but one of the worst is when average folks are not afforded protection. In our elite’s desire to not deal with real problems, they have essentially thrown a large number of people to the wolves. In the Muslim neighborhoods of Paris – as Cooke points out – you don’t see a lot of women on the streets and those you do would fit nicely into Mecca. But is that what they really want? Do all Muslim women in those Paris neighborhoods want to wear the niqab? I doubt it. Human nature being what it is, there are certainly some who would prefer to dress like French women – but they dare not, because French law and customs don’t matter and while in theory a Muslim French woman in those areas could appeal to the police for protection, the reality is that she’s at the mercy of those who actually rule the neighborhood. We do it, too, you know? Just for one example we throw people to the criminal wolves on our border because we refuse to enforce our laws – and if we won’t enforce our laws, then someone will enforce their laws. In the case of our border the laws are those of various criminal gangs. If what it would take to ensure the enforcement of French law is an armed French policeman on every corner in the Muslim neighborhoods, then that is what France’s government is morally bound to provide. But, they don’t. Too difficult. Might get called a racist.

It is a paradox of the modern West that as our governments have asserted increasing power over our lives, they have less able to actually protect our lives. This is a sign of civilizational collapse. I’m not at all certain how this is all going to come out in the long run, other than a solid assurance that it can’t go on too much longer, and when the final smash comes, it will be quite astonishing. Whether the remains of western civilization will emerge to rebuild – or be buried forever – remains to be seen. But if we do want our western civilization to survive, then it is a requirement that we look at the facts with a clear eye. Needlessly causing offense is wrong – that is why I asserted a few days ago that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were wrong – but if telling the truth is offensive, then offend away.

Muslims living in the West have an absolute right to the same freedoms that the rest of us enjoy and if we don’t guarantee them their rights, then we have failed in our duties. Among these rights are, of course, the right to be as devoutly Muslim as they wish to be – but they also have a right to be as slipshod and/or heretical as they wish to be, just as the rest of us have the right to be devout about our beliefs, or ignore them nine days out of ten. Just as, say, a Jew must be in no danger if he doesn’t adhere to Judaism, so much a Muslim be in no danger – no matter where the Muslim lives in the West – for not adhering to Islam. And whatever amount of law enforcement activity is necessary – guided, of course, by a strong sense of justice tempered by mercy – to ensure this state of affairs, that is what must be done. Say, if you wish, that there aren’t any no-go zones in Paris or other Western cities. Fine. Granted. But what are we going to do about those non-no-go zones where a person steps away from the ruling orthodoxy at the peril of their life?