Headline Jan 30, 2016/ ''' AT BEST : * AN XENOPHOBIC WORLD * ''''

''' AT BEST : 


WRITER JG BALLARD  -determinedly un-grand old man of English letters, wrote many masterpieces.

In his brilliant new autobiography, this is how he paints his understanding of the world in 1940s :  A vast cruelty lay over the world, and was all we knew,'' he writes of the war and its effect on him and his generation.

Ballard saw terrible things in China  -killings, bombings,  starvation  and suffered great deprivation himself. Since that time, what exactly has improved? 

This post too, has been researched in great and growing pain..............   

IN APRIL 2010, they were living in Perpignan, in the South of France, new parents of an eight-month old daughter.

They trod carefully in the neighbourhood, because Arab and black youth hung out there, revving their scooters, partying and swearing up a storm.

One night, after they had put the baby to sleep and were watching a movie, the youths started up.

Marc-Henri called down for them to be quiet. They got louder.Frustrated, he got pitcher of water and dumped it down on their heads.

All of a sudden, they had an angry mob at the door, trying to break in. Pieces of plaster broke off around the frame. As her hand fended off hands that stretched through the hole to try to open the door-

Myriam barricaded herself in the bathroom with their daughter and her mobile phone.

While calling for help, she heard she heard shouts that she would be raped and her husband killed. Alerted by police sirens, the youth ran off. But Marc-Henri and Myriam knew they had to move fast.

Soon after, Marc-Henri accepted a job as a mayor's communications director in Montfermeil. The post is part of Lemoine's plan to change Les Bosquets for the better.

''When we came here, people said we were going from the frying pan into the fire,'' says Myriam, now caring for the couple's second child. ''Tensions are high here, and my husband was attacked again a few weeks ago. But there's a real political will in Montfermeil. There's an effort to bring Muslims into the community at large.''  
The attempt also includes razing many of the tenements in Les Bosquets and La Forestiere, the housing project in Clichy-sous-Bois.

The plan is to replace them with low-rise social housing to instill a pride of place. A social centre now offers language programmes, and a new offers language programmes, and a new police station helps build helps trust between people and law enforcement.

As well, there is a team of three people working full-time with families, resolving conflicts when, for example, inhabitants are confronted by drug dealers in and around their housing.

''The overriding goals are to restore these populations' pride and dignity, and to draw and preserve this town's middle class,'' says Lemoine. ''We need positive ways to intervene and make this place a unified community.''

Abdel coca doesn't see much difference so far. 

''I grew up in this dirty place,'' says Coca, a tall, beefy unemployed 22  year-old from Turkey who lives with his parents and two younger siblings in a tiny apartment in Les Bosquests.  ''Look around, it's still dirty.''
Across the English Channel,  Mike Hardy, executive director of the Institute of Community Cohesion at the University of Coventry, speaks about the dreadful riots that took place in England last August.

''Martin Luther King said that riots give a voice to the voiceless,'' says Hardy. ''Being voiceless doesn't have to mean a lack of education or poverty. It just means you feel  that you aren't being heard.''

The past 18 months have brought huge changes: the Arab Spring, the spreading movement to Occupy Wall Street, and international uncertainty about how social policy is developing.

And, what bodes ill, says Hardy, is that many people still don't have jobs and must struggle to make ends meet.

In a world beset by  economic woes  and discontent, Hardy could be speaking about many paces in Europe   -the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Greece to name a few. 

But the fact is, twice so far in this century   -in 2007 and 2005  -it has been France where riots have erupted.

''We have to understand the tensions. We must work on knowing our communities and understanding them better,'' says Hardy.

We have to be a lot more transparent and open. And I think national authorities must be far less righteous and lot more humble.''

This sentiment is echoed by sociologist Didier Lapeyrommie. ''People are tired in general but in the suburbs, they are tired and closed off,'' he says.

''They want to be the masters of their own existence but they can't. This leads to a highly charged political climate,  complete with misunderstandings and pressures.

While the solution is probably political, I don't have much hope.'' 

With respectful dedication to the Leaders of Europe. See Ya all Your Excellencies on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011.

''' Taking On Challenges '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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