But the prize for lucidity goes to a real youth, a 17 year-old from Draguignan named Habib. He was accosted by those hooligans on his way to Nice with some friends on the afternoon of the 31st. “They were Arabs. We tried to defend ourselves but they said they had 47 guys with them…. They said they were going to go on the rampage (‘hala’ in Arabic), they were going to make a massacre on New Year’s Day…. They pushed around some guys, and then they went after the girls. They would rub their own sex and then smear the girl’s face. They threatened us with teargas bombs….They said they had knives. The way it looked to me, they were organized…..The next day we waited until the afternoon train. We didn’t want to meet up with them again.”
Ah bon? So it didn’t all start at the break of dawn?
In fact, the police first met up with the Barbary pirates when they sailed into Nice on New Year’s Eve, already drunk and disorderly. The police patted them down, took mug shots, held the most dangerous ones under arrest for the night, and kept tabs on the others so they wouldn’t get into trouble. Then, making sure the kids calmed down, they escorted them to train N° 17430.
And that’s how the Arabs whose behavior shocked and frightened Habib turned into youths. And that’s how the hooligans who wreaked havoc from one end to the other of a ten-car train calmed down and became youths whenever a railroad security guard or gendarme approached gingerly and ducked out in a flash. And that’s how the vandals who made grown men tremble turn into youths when they walk into a courtroom, and get released.
My thanks to the person who sent me this article.
(technorati tag France)