Hundreds of burned cars, clashes with the police, looting of public transport or destruction of schools: the images of the French neighbourhoods in the last two weeks are those of a rebellion feared for a long time, of a fevered feeling translated into hostilities and profound antagonism.
The current fires in the French neighbourhoods are not surprising for similar events have already taken place in other European countries. What has been different is the intensity. Since the 70s, a series of mistakes, illusions and vile acts motivated the emergence of a real internal enemy and the formation of “lost territories of the Republic” which have their own counterparts in almost every European nation. Zones where French laws and values have been substituted for other laws and values; foreign territories where power is in the hands of the “big brothers”, gang leaders and imams, whereas the police, the fire-fighters and even teachers are being looked down on by a rejected en block system.
The discovery of an incendiary arms factory in Évry and the circulation of weapons of war in the cities shows that an armed uprising is possible. France, on the other hand, with more than 9,000 police cars hit by stones in the first ten months of the year, has begun to experience a law intensity conflict, a widely silenced national uprising.
From now on, the time for confrontation has arrived for many European countries as well as for France. The champions of prevention had their chance. Are we, by any chance, just ahead of a civil war in Europe? This continent will soon deal with a conflict that will transform it and whose first signs are already visible. It will be a different war, subversive and symbolic, declared and decentralized, intermittent and intense, where chaos and fundamentalism will join to fight normality. A community and generational intifada, a series of specific and epidermal clashes inserted in a whole set of identities and with enough time between each to make people have doubts about the next occurrence. A contest which democracies will have to deal with to preserve the control of their territories, the stability of society, legality of markets and the freedom of peoples’ minds. This is a lethal challenge.

Le Temps (Switzerland)

Sommes-nous à la veille d’une guerre civile en Europe”, by Ludovic Monnerat, Le Temps de Genève, November 8, 2005. Article published by Courrier International too.