The fire kept burning, across the country and inside me. I was hoping it would keep burning until things would finally change. But it didn’t.
Soon, the unrest disappeared from our collective memories, despite it returning from time to time, such as in the 2007 riots in Villiers le Bel.
The cité in which Mr. Sarkozy famously called the rioters “thugs” has been destroyed since. I guess the Kärcher really worked.
The little diversity we had has disappeared. People who could afford to fled in their droves to other wealthier neighborhoods.
It seems like people have either wiped the unrest from their memories to help them move on. But how is it possible to move on when things stay the same?
As someone born and raised in France I feel it is very French, for things to remain unchanged - to not confront the issues which make people uncomfortable.
10 years later, it feels like things haven’t changed, perhaps they’ve even gotten worse.
The police officers who pursued Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré in the chase that led to their deaths have been cleared entirely of any wrongdoing by a court.
Police brutality shows no sign of slowing, with non-white people still dying in custody. In 2009 Ali Ziri, a 69 year old Arab male died while he was being detailed for a traffic incident. His body was covered in bruises. Just last year Amadou Koumé died in police custody. While the official line was that his death was caused by drugs, French newspaper Liberation reported that the autopsy found the young man had died of asphyxiation aka suffocation.
Yet rarely a trial for the police officers are held, and certainly no one is convicted. It is a system that has legitimized unnecessary violence from the police and put them above the law.
the court in charge of judging police brutality is itself a part of the police
Ironically, like Mathieu Rigouste, a researcher and activist explains, in the French legal system, in order to be trialed in case of police brutality, the police watchdog needs to investigate the case first. To sum it up, the court in charge of judging police brutality is itself a part of the police.
Charities and organizations like AC Le Feu try to improve the banlieues and communities, but with so little financial means and support from our politicians, what is left to do?
Either leaving, like I did, or staying and being stuck forever in an endless loop.