Monday, November 07, 2005

Brennt Paris?

Indeed, Paris is burning again, but this time the fires are of its own making. Listening to French officials lambasting the Arab-African communities for their days of riots, I am reminded of the rhetoric of American segregation proponents of the 1950s. France is way behind the times when it comes to integration.

But riots are not enough to help France’s Muslims to deal with their problems. A Muslim equivalent of Martin Luther King Jr. is needed here. Hell, even a Moroccan Malcolm X will do. But there are no leaders to be found. Arabs can only produce terrorists and dictators these days, but no leaders. Leaderless people cannot but inspire disdain.

This is not meant to whitewash French racism of course. But, if MLK has taught me anything it is that racism cannot be truly opposed until its victims learn how to stop thinking and behaving like victims.

We need leaders, and if don’t have them, we need to learn how to give birth to them, how to raise them, how to make them. In order to do this, we have a lot of introspection to do, and a lot of heresies to conjure, learn and practice, all sorts of heresies.

Heresy is freedom. But heresy means more fire as well, albeit a different kind of fire.