M. Nicolas Sarkozy, Ministre de l'Intérieur et de l'aménagement du territoire.
Place Beauvau, Paris,
Republique Francaise (Ex. Royaume de France)
Cher Monsieur Le Ministre,
This memo is written on the directives of a very high authority of the land. He is disturbed by the TV footage of the city of lights turning into a city of flames. He is further disturbed by the call for your resignation by the left, and not at all bemused by the offers of help made by the respectable governments of Libya and Morocco. He asked who this French Interior minister in dire need of help is and we told him your good sounding name. He asked if we knew which important family or thigh of a tribe you belong to, and we could only inform him –and correct us if we were wrong- that you seem to have the support and enthusiasm of the Hebraic tribe, peace be upon it, both in France and in the Mediterranean Kingdom. He ordered us to write to you.
Not to belittle our sisterly countries, but if you are looking for the experts on how to deal with unrest caused by perceived marginalisation, discrimination or exclusion, look no further than here. Only few years ago, our streets and villages were raging with the kind of turmoil you are witnessing today in your banlieus. But look where we are today: an oasis of peace and tranquility. Did we solve the underlying problems? No. Did we find a brilliant exit strategy? You bet. We realise it is hard for a republican regime to swallow its fierte and listen to a royal advice, but if you wish to live up to your long title, and respond to the calls from the right to establish effective and speedy order, then you should.
To maintain your national self esteem, let us hasten to say that your sociologists have it right. ( it's only in France where a table has a fine baguette, fine camembert and fine sociologie au menu). The problem is indeed spurred by failed expectations of the youth. We know this first-hand. In the 70’s , some lower segments of our society witnessed upward mobility, only to be sharply reversed –due to compelling political reasons- in the 80’s, hence the turmoil of the 90’s. So how do you deal with the situation? You simply work on altering these expectations; de nouveau, and drastically.
For an appetiser for the masses, begin by pointing the fork at a common enemy that will serve to rally your troupes and allies, preferably foreign-based. One perfect candidate always springs to mind: that Lebanese party with a recently banned satellite channel in Europe. The motive is perfect too, they are acting on the behest of the Syrians to punish France for its UN resolutions. You can arrange for a tape of some bearded young men to appear confessing on TF1. And if confessions are hard to come by, give your friendly counterparts in the countries to the south a call and they will readily supply you with the right kind of confessing detainees, for a small charge.
The main course (and plat de resistance) will be to identify your target territory, sharpen your security knife around it, and begin your expectation altering experiment. No one is to enter or leave without significant difficulty, old and young, women and men alike. Make an ill woman plead her case, a school headmaster face the wall in the sun along with his pupils. It is all for a purpose: no one shall be immune. Use tear gas and rubber bullets freely, and not a night should pass without tear-gas filling the air over those areas, or break-ins into the houses. For intensive tear gas usage, focus on congregational places like mosques and prayer halls – you don’t’ have maatams do you?- with special emphasis on special religious orsocial occasions or periods of school exams. Parents of youth caught causing damage to public property - like a traffic light or a transformer, shall made to pay the full replacement cost of the item and then some. They can’t pay? Exactly. The point is to deliver pain and suffering to those bearing the genetic markers that produced these mal-faisant youths in the first place: the parents and grand parents. Never lose sight of your ultimate objective: to produce an ideal, wholesome deterrent experience that lasts for a lifetime/ a generation, one that will inevitably help alter the expectations of all concerned.
Also, the point must be made that a French passport in and of itself means nothing. It is loyalty that confers rights. To drive home the message, you may need to strip a score of people of their citizenship and ship them –by sea of course- to the homelands of their ancestors. And no law should stop you. Concurrently, you got to work on demographics. You can devise a scheme whereby thousands of impoverished but grateful families from new Eastern Europe are invited to install into the same neighbourhoods. They should be granted instant citizenship and all material rights, from HLM housing to assurance sociales to employment in the branches of the security forces, including la police de proximite and the gendarmerie.
To sweeten your tooth, you must have the ears and hearts of the outside world. The BBC reporter is not on message? Have her threatened or replaced. You must use your good offices to ensure that the world media always refer to the protestors as Shiite, oops, North African rioters. It helps on the western front. As for the Arab part of the world, you need not worry. Should your North African journalist friends prove less malleable to serve the cause, you can always count on the East of Mediterranean contingent of writers, editors and research centres.
When the right span of unrelenting offensive has passed - the optimal period is 3 years but can be shortened in time for your presidential election bid in 2007, no one will even remember what they were protesting in the first place. All they want is to be safe and away from harm way. If you protest anything, you will hear: do you want us to go back to the bleak Al-Ahdaath years? When you reach that benchmark, you know you have succeeded and can begin phase II, which is the planning for your charm offensive.
Now, you must be asking why are we letting you in on our secrets? I personally have no clue, but the British officer who is supplying the gist of this advice seems to be rooting for you against Monsieur De Villepin. He says that with you as the president of France, the United Kingdom would have another irrefutable proof of superiority over the French Republic.