With over 1,300 cars torched and destroyed, and with 800 people — some of them boys as young as 13 — arrested, France is literally up in flames. And there is no end in sight for the root causes of the riots, according to the government’s own admission.

The riots began in Parisian suburbs ten days ago when Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, boys of Mauritanian and Tunisian background, were electrocuted while hiding from the police. Their deaths sparked the tinderbox of frustration that has been building among the nation’s immigrant population, with poverty, unemployment, and discrimination fanning the flames of resentment.

Commenting on France’s North African immigrants and their locally-born children, Secretary of State for Local Government Brice Hortefeux stated today on French radio that “For 20 years, urban policy has been plugging holes but has not resolved the fundamental problem of integrating … We will find a way out of this with determination and firmness … But I don’t know how long it will take.” An honest but grim appraisal of the situation for a country in which 10 percent of its 60 million residents are immigrants. Even when order is restored in France, the root causes for the riots have only been highlighted, with no particular solution in sight to the grievances of the nation’s immigrants and issues relating to the nation’s immigration policies.

Mimi Hanaoka

In The Fray is a nonprofit staffed by volunteers. If you liked this piece, could you please donate $10?