French reaction to world opinion and media reports on the French riots is of notable interest. Reuters has this fascinating piece about world reaction:
"'From Italy to South Africa, Poland to China, from CNN to al-Jazeera, the newspaper headlines and television commentaries set against a background of blazing cars are really hyping it up,' the popular daily Le Parisien complained.
The Foreign Ministry has criticised some foreign reports as excessive and at least one cabinet member, Labour Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, has hinted the critical reporting was meant to hit back at France for opposing the U.S.-led Iraq war...
Eric Raoult, mayor of the eastern Paris suburb of Raincy, did not like being at the receiving end of outside attention.
'Last night, Japanese television and Turkish television were in my city hall telling me what should be done. That hurts me,' he said."
This is all so ironic considering French political grandstanding and French media reports on the Katrina hurricane in America and the war in Iraq. The French may be good at dishing out disdain but take it themselves in poor stride.
"'Fire and blood in France -- at least that's what some foreign media claim is going on,' Le Parisien wrote. 'Paris is burning, civil war, war zone, race riots -- the headlines, especially on TV, often have no nuance.'
The conservative Le Figaro was indignant about the way U.S. media reported from riot-hit areas such as Seine Saint Denis, the rundown area between the capital and its Charles de Gaulle airport to the north.
'American newspapers don't hesitate to compare Paris to Baghdad or Seine Saint Denis to the Gaza Strip and to call the crisis a "Katrina of social disasters",' an editorial fumed in a reference to the recent hurricane.
Other commentators objected to the way foreign media stress the ethnic backgrounds of the rioters and the racial discrimination they complain about -- issues less prominent here because France officially does not recognise it has minority communities."
However, the article does go on to say that the irony is not lost on all French media outlets.
"Le Figaro said the riots were 'too good an opportunity to pass up, an opportunity to mock the country that claims to have invented human rights and that's always ready -- yes, it's true -- to lecture the rest of humanity.'"
Whatever the French think of Western civilization reaction, the Arab media is having a field day with the riots and seems to lack the clear eye of distinction between a more free France and the jobless, authoritative regimes most Muslims live in.
World Reaction - Opinions outside of France
This editorial in Al-Jazeera highlights the Arab reaction:
"Beyond Paris' official discourse, the reality on the ground, inside the fenced-off rings of wretchedness and misery that border its affluence, is one of chilling social marginalisation, destitution and profound feelings of forced otherness, and exclusion.
With more than 20% of those born in France having immigrant parents or grandparents, France is a land of immigrants. Yet France does not perceive itself as a multicultural country.
Its national identity is founded on the demand for unconditional assimilation into so-called "republican" and "French" values. Prompted by the myth of cultural and racial uniformity, France insists on keeping its immigrants invisible and turning a blind eye to the endemic racism of its socio- political system.
Instead of confronting its spiralling crises with a measure of moral and political responsibility, the French government continues to resort to repression and the greater policisation of the poverty-ridden, rundown suburbs, further stigmatising its African and Arab communities and turning them into a scapegoat for its failures and troubles."
Another Al-Jazeera article can be found here on the Arab perspective.
The Chinese use the riots to denounce the French system and coyly bash globalization that results in immigrant worker populations:
"Bullets cannot identify the real cause of the anger and frustration of young Arabs and Africans.
French observers and sociologists are not surprised by the unrest.
The resentment over government neglect, high unemployment and relegation to shabby suburbs provided dry tinder for the flare-up of violence in the African immigrant community.
France's assimilation policy has failed to absorb the North African immigrants that arrived to work in the 1950s. Some 5 or 6 million French citizens are immigrants from North Africa, most of them Muslims.
Many of the immigrants' suburbs are cut off from the rest of French society by barriers of poverty and cultural alienation. In the suburbs for immigrants and their offspring, there are mostly substandard houses. Unemployment stands at 19.6 per cent - double the national average - and at more than 30 per cent among 21 to 29-year-olds, according to official figures. Incomes are 75 per cent below the average.
The French Government labels these places 'sensitive urban zones,' mocking France's official policies of assimilation and equality....
The rioting by immigrant youths has revealed a profound cleavage in French society. It should serve as a wake-up call to the rest of the world when they are confronted with a large influx of immigrants from other countries or labour mobility within their countries."
The Israelis generally feel the French "deserve it" and liken it to a "Paris intifada":
"'They deserve it,' say many Israelis about the Paris intifada: The French 'deserve it' for their one-sidedness with regard to the al-Aqsa intifada, 'deserve it' for their understanding of Palestinian suicide bombers, and they especially "deserve it" for pointedly ignoring a flourishing Muslim problem in their own house, in view of the Louvre.
But now it is impossible to ignore: In France, as in other parts of Europe, there is a large Muslim minority that feels no kinship with European civilization. Each one rejects the other.
This minority is seeking and finding its spiritual and cultural homeland in radical Islam. Wandering outside the borders of the Christian-European nation, they are drawn in and accepted by the 'Islamic nation.'"
Each opinion brings its own unique perspective and the country of origin's history and politics to the analysis. Regardless, the French are getting a black eye internationally about their very real troubles at home.