Iraq war "horrific," could increase racist attacks in France: French PM
PARIS (AFP) Mar 27, 2003
The war now unfolding in Iraq is a horrific conflict like many of those seen in the 20th century, and a far cry from the almost surgical high-tech
confrontation predicted by some of its backers, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said Thursday.
"Some people expected a speedy, technological war, a war of the 21st century," he said, addressing an official French human rights committee on the
subject of anti-Semitism.
Instead "they are discovering one of the most horrific wars, like those that the 20th century gave us," he said.
Raffarin stressed "the horrors of a war that is taking place in front of our eyes, and in conditions which had not been announced."
The general public had not been prepared for the violence of the war, he said, and there was a real risk that it would greatly exacerbate racism and
anti-Semitism in France.
"The images (of the war) really entail traumas, the consequences of which should not be underestimated," the French leader said.
"This is a very strong concern in the government," he told the French National Consultative Committee on Human Rights, which was submitting its
report on racism in France.
The report says that tensions in the Middle East have led to an "explosion" in anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2002, with a six-fold increase
over 2001 in acts of violence against Jewish property and persons. Of 313 acts of racist violence documented in 2002, 193 were anti-Semitic, it said.