Meanwhile, On the Other Side of Paris

Butterfly at Rest

An outraged citizen films a shootout between two gangs and sells it to tv. An outraged politician, labelling her racism an unpopular truth, suggests immigration control would solve the problem. The only accent I have heard dealers speaking with is pure Parisian ghetto–slang bouncing to a rap rhythm.

It’s election season and the populists are rising in the polls. The police are sent in to break up the bigger drug markets. They come back the next day to harass the milling customers. The majority has the means to show they are also for law and order.

Gang violence is always alleged to be motivated by turf wars. Any fight that I know about has always started as a personal dispute. More often than not, cherchez la femme will be fruitful. It’s vendetta escalation that puts turf in play. The exception is when a gang strays onto someone else’s turf because the police have pushed them out of their old one.

A few days later the market is back in operation. The roundup must have been more effective than usual: The single lookout has been fortified with spotters at the bottom of the hill, at the top of the hill and probably others that I can’t spot (all probably new recruits to the lifestyle); The dealers have moved under the trees to stay out of sight of any police cameras that may be watching from neighbouring windows; the log fencing that separated some of the areas has been burnt to make fleeing quicker; Iron bars on the fencing separating other parts of the area have been cut away for additional getaway routes.

Unintended consequences of the crackdown will be claimed, an additional dose of outrage will attempt to shift the blame and it is the neighborhood which is the victim of the predictable result of a misguided police action for political gain.

2 thoughts on “Meanwhile, On the Other Side of Paris”

  1. You’ve been watching Gene Hackman movies again? Wait for the bit with Mr Wong (someone stole their travelers cheques).

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