As civilians, we trust the government and police force to keep us safe from wrongs of the world. However, for the minority groups in France there is a much different truth. Their truth involves their police officers using force and violence against them and in turn causing potential for bigger issues. When order is shattered with brutality, especially by the ones who are supposed to be maintaining this order, it is not surprising that the people being affected will react violently and angrily.
France has been known to pride itself on the equality and the idea that there is no such thing as racism in France. After so many minority groups fought in wars for France, they were placed in suburbs and poor ghettos. This created segregation between classes. Police were then given permission to expel any immigrants who failed to show proof of employment and housing. On October 25th, 2005 a group of boys of African and Arab descent, living in Paris were stopped by the police on their way home from playing soccer. They were told to show their identification papers. All of them had identification papers, however they had forgotten to bring them along. So instead of being honest with the officers, they fled in fear of what their punishment might be for forgetting their papers at home. The police chased them and cornered them into an electricity sub-station. While inside, the boys came in contact with a highly electrified piece of equipment. One of the boys got away, but with severe burns all over his body, the other boys were electrocuted to death (Schneider, 135).
This sad news carried further remorse for these communities because the officers were told they were not at fault by high standing officials, in particular, Nicholas Sarkozy (Schneider, 135). Not one of these officers was charged until they were indicted eighteen months later, and thus causing a major outrage in the community (135). There was three weeks of violence; cars being torched, buildings damaged and police officers wounded. The reason being that the government supported its officers in behaving violently towards the minority groups in France; this in turn made the people feel as though they had no other options than to act out in an outrage.
Neither group can really say that they found justice in these actions. The police officers used brutality through following orders, and pursuing the peace. The minority groups felt nothing but pain and suffering, even in the midst of receiving revenge for the wrongs that had been done to them, and publicly displaying the grievances they had experienced over the years.
The people are wary of everything in France and the major reason being that the police and government will not take responsibility for it. Mostly, families in these minorities groups now want justice for the two innocent boys and an resolution to keep the community safe from habitual police harassment. For theses minorities now, getting justice sometimes means more or, indeed, less than getting revenge. One thing that is seen as admirable, if not impressive, is the class solidarity and unity that is now formed amongst the repressed, politically isolated, and racially stigmatized by those who suffer at the hands of the French police and officials.
The issue of state-sponsored violence and police brutality is a major issue for GWSS because it is greatly influenced by oppressive ideologies. In resolving the issue, it will also return a balance to the communities effected.
Cassara Harmelink, Bessie Browne, Hannah Hill, Simar Warraich, An An Hua, Michelle Williams