Today all of France is united in celebration of the annual Festival de Musique, during which music is performed by the citizenry outdoors and for everyone, and our pretty little haven of peace and solitude called La Roche-sur-Yon is slightly more active than it normally would be on a rainy Thursday evening.
The street just below our apartment is no exception.
Alex was the first to notice the commotion, and she stood by the window watching the events unfold for a few minutes before informing me that a fight seemed about to break out. There was a small band of Arab boys (is that P.C.? If not, sorry) gathered in front of the garage of a facing house, quite obviously drunk, and looking to start something with any other group of passers-by that happened to be similar in age and gender. Though this fight didn't really materialize into more than a few traded insults, a good hour of entertainment was to follow.
Two of these young gallants were more out of control than the others (totalling between 6 and 12 at any given time), and when not trying to pick a fight, they occupied themselves with pissing against the house, kicking the cars parked in the street and giving each other long and, dare I say it, pretty homoerotic embraces. The closest we saw to a real fight was when four French boys happened by. Taunts ensued, and when one of them was dumb enough to take the bait, he was rewarded with two punches to the head. The young Frenchmen nearly retaliated before thinking better of engaging attackers who were backed by a much larger--well--posse.
Perhaps most interesting was who the lads didn't bother about: families, children and old people were routinely ignored. Dozens of families (including one carrying a giant, pink, dolphin-shaped balloon) came and went, easy prey for these charming sophisticates, and were allowed to continue unmolested.
Young women, on the other hand, were fair game.
Now, it's easy to see why this type of crap provides fodder to the likes of Sarkozy, or the even less tolerant Le Pen, but as our own experience with drunken louts proves (see earlier posts), it isn't just the Arab population that causes this kind of problem. Our asshole neighbors were 100% French, and they were 100% just as obnoxious as this rowdy pack of dipshits.
Here's where it gets complicated (sort of). I don't want to make excuses for these guys. Clearly they are idiots. And yet, then again, I can't help it. Isn't this the kind of behavior that arises from growing up in poverty and being marginalized? Yep, of course it is. So, my reaction is twofold. On the one hand, I wanted to see these two imbeciles (yes, I feel a little bad calling them that) pick on the wrong people and get the thrashing of their lives, and then naturally I have to sympathize with people who never had any advantage in life, and probably never will.
PS. The next morning I checked out one of the cars they were beating on, and they really pounded the shit out of it. Broken window and dents everywhere. Now I feel bad we didn't call the police. How strange that nobody else did, either.