This entry is to serve two purposes. First to let you know that I am safe, second to give background on the feeling here in southern france. Toulouse was hit by the rioting Friday night, and I believe it has happened every night since then. While that sounds terrifying, it isnt anywhere within the vicinity of myself our my team-mates. For the most part it is happening in a sort of gehtto area. This city (along with paris) are very segmented in regard to where different socio-economic classes live. To be blunt, its divided my race, and income level. The areas that have been experiencing the violence have long lived in the blind-spot of French government. A government the people have pride in because of their humanitarianism, and social programs. A government that in its subsurface mentality is anti integration, and anti foreigner.
Loaded phrase I know, let me explain with a couple recent examples. Their ban on headscarves and crucifixes in public schools. It seems weird on the surface but the reason it was past was to tell those with religious conviction that they are not as welcome, and to be welcome you need to leave what you believe at home. In essence, this law was past to unify the children in their French-ness. They distance from anything religious. The French are scared of anything religious and look at themselves as being past it, if they only could see the crutch that science is and the faith it takes to believe.
The second is the lack of integration. This feeling is so strong among a large enough part of the population to have the last presidential election come down to Chirac and laPen. For those that dont remember the latter, one of his major platforms was to deport anyone not native French by at least two generations While the world scoffed at the idea, it is not as extremist as one might think. The only extreme was in his solution to a problem that French people hold in common, foreigners (mainly African and Arab) taking jobs. Not that they get many jobs, a large majority of them are unemployed. Which is where tensions get very escalated. The second generation of the emigrants doesnt remember or know what they left, and most likely cant understand how this could be better (and in some circumstances it may not be). When opportunities arise to riot they take them.
Over a week ago the rioting started over the accidental death of two teens who hid in an electrical substation (and its not even clear if they cops were chasing them or not, its appearing that they werent) and they were, ironically, electrocuted. When the fire departments showed up to try to rescue the kids, they were stoned back into their truck. Only later able to reach the children and bring them to a hospital, but it was to late. My gut tells me that it is their fault, they hid in a building we know never to enter, and their friends kept help from arriving. The riots are no longer about them, they are about the oppression. Ive read articles that say France is due for another revolution within 10 years (they are on their 4th republic right now). Who would have thought this would have unfolded at the beginning of our time here serving Christ.
Please pray for the safety of our team, for the world Christians to continue to intercede and bind Satan from France, for the violence to do what the Lord wills it too, and for the Fame of Christ to be magnified through this. I will continue to post things to my blog so that you know I am safe, or otherwise. Thank you for your concern, and your intercession on behalf of the saints in Toulouse.
Continue to be nothing before Christ,