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At least one of the French ZUS areas has an important Palais de Justice (Courthouse), as can be seen on the map below and Google Earth. So, while “no-go zones”, depending on the definition, may exist within some ZUS, they are clearly not equivalent to ZUS. An English speaker can read “Justice” on the map below. At the very least, reading “Justice” should raise questions for an inquiring mind, as to the nature of ZUS. As we have already noted elsewhere, ZUS appear to be planning zones, including urban renovation.[1]

The person who first made ZUS synonymous with “No-Go Zones” seems to be Daniel Pipes, a Harvard Ph.D., who has very cheerfully and nobly fessed up to his (lazy) blunder, many years after having first made it. How many Ph.D. dissertations and books is this mistake now in? [2] Harvard is supposed to be the number one university in the world [3], which speaks volumes to the lamentable state of academics. It also suggests that the state of academics has been deplorable for longer than most realize, since Daniel Pipes is 65 years old.

Here is the ZUS, which includes a Courthouse, Palais de Justice, as can be seen on the map. The Red outline is the ZUS. We cropped the map to place focus on the zone in question. A university backs onto the ZUS. Why didn’t Daniel Pipes, Ph.D., write them, or someone in government, to find out what a ZUS is?
cropped from ZUS Palais Creteil http://sig.ville.gouv. fr/Atlas/ZUS/ http://sig.ville.gouv.fr/Atlas/ZUS/
The Courthouse actually has, or had, an asbestos issue, which could be why it is in the urban renovation zone: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palais_de_justice_de_Créteil

The Creteil Palais de Justice (Courthouse) was designed with doors shaped like guillotine blades, when shut at night!
Palais de Justice Creteil Guillotine doors
This is what some of the ZUS public housing (HLM) near the Palais de Justice looks like. These used to be called cabbages by the locals.
Tours-Chous Creteil

We harp on this topic of free speech due to French government owned Nuclear AREVA dragging small anti-nuclear organizations to court for defamation, clearly trying to silence opposition. In this light, the Mayor of Paris apparently trying to silence the US media’s right to say sometimes stupid things is alarming. [2] Whether intentional, or unintentional, her threats to sue have a chilling effect on free speech.

So, which is worse? It is Mayor Hidalgo because no one knows what idiotic person we are not learning about, when free speech (and press) is shut down. Daniel Pipes is one big example. He’s apparently been involved in US foreign policy,(as was his father Richard Pipes) and people should have been reading him for that reason, and probably most, like us, were not. The world may well have paid a big price for his being a Middle Eastern expert, though we have no time to investigate one way or another, others may want to.

Daniel Pipes appears to be at the root of Fox’s blunder. Can Fox really be criticized for believing something put forth as fact by a famous Harvard Ph.D.? Daniel Pipes seems to be the person who put ZUS and no-go zones together. While there may be no-go zones, depending on the definition, within ZUS, ZUS are planning districts. If anyone needs to be held accountable for Fox’s blunder, it is Harvard, for giving him a Ph.D., for reasons that we outline below.

Furthermore, everyone has learned something from the Fox News blunder. The only thing that we have learned from the Mayor of Paris is that she is apparently silly (because Fox News has nothing to do with Paris); arrogant; and seems to think it’s still the Spanish Inquisition. One can wonder if she is going to sue Fox to compensate for tourists staying away because of terrorist attacks? Tourists don’t generally go to the ZUS areas anyway.

In fact, Daniel Pipes receiving a Ph.D. in history and becoming a Middle East expert may well be the legacy of the US government trying to SILENCE and destroy anyone who opposed their policies for half a century or more, and especially during the Cold War. See, for instance,: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Un-American_Activities_Committee It is a point to which we intend to return soon, because those opposed to the nuclear war machine were clearly in their sights, and mostly unfairly accused of being communists. Many lost their employment or were otherwise marginalized. Now the privatization of universities via grant monies plays the same role of silencing dissent. The House Un-American Activities Committee was not alone. There were other programs for spying on Americans (e.g. CoIntelPro).

Daniel Pipes and Mayor Hidalgo also show the downside of immigration. Since immigrants are people, they sometimes bring authoritarian cultures, stupidity, and laziness with them. If you think that Hitler’s rise to power only led to the deportation of the best and brightest, Daniel Pipes may make you think again. He had the best education that could be offered as a child and his father was a Harvard prof. Both he and the father appear to have been implicated in American’s failed international policies, but that’s what the US gets for forcing out those patriotic Americans who criticized BOTH Russia and US policies. Unfortunately, other countries have paid a very heavy price for stupid and dangerous US Foreign Policies. We must leave it to the reader to investigate how responsible the Pipes are, or are not, for various US Foreign Policy Fiascos. The UK also locked some of its best minds out of academia during the Cold War. France appears to have locked out its great minds too.

As a (65 year old) Ph.D. in history, Pipes should understand the idea of documentation, at least. Does he? Apparently not. In 2006 when he clearly would have had e-mail, he apparently couldn’t bother to ask for information regarding what ZUS are. His “think tank”, “Middle East Forum”, sounds serious enough that his mail would surely not be ignored. Just off the top of my head, I could name several French academics at various universities who speak English, and who would have responded to his question, and there are most certainly many more, as English has surprisingly come to dominate as lingua franca in Europe.

Daniel Pipes even had the opportunity to study in Freiburg, Germany, at a time when foreign studies were much more rare. Although Max Weber is considered a father of sociology, if you go into a bookstore in Freiburg Germany, Weber is found under “Geschichte“, i.e. History, which is Pipes’ alleged area of expertise. How do I know? Because I personally bought Weber’s “Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” in Freiburg, Germany and it was in the “Geschichte” (history) section. Plus Weber’s research seems to have been primarily historical, even though his Ph.D. was in law. Some of his schooling was in history. Weber even taught in Freiburg for a couple of years. It’s hard to see how Pipes wouldn’t know Weber, from either the US or Germany.

Weber used this idea of “Verstehen“, literally to understand, to put himself into the shoes of historical figures. “Verstehen” has been extended to understanding the perspective of others, still living.

So, just how is Daniel Pipes lacking in “verstehen“? Well, after declaring ZUS areas no-go zones for no reason that anyone can understand, outside sheer laziness, he visited a couple of these areas in broad daylight, had a nice time and very charmingly decided he was wrong!


If you can wander around safely, and no one is around save animals, between 3 am and 5 am (earlier depending on bar-pub-nightclub closures), then you are probably in a mostly crime free zone. In the daytime, many have wandered around the most dangerous areas of what was, and probably still is, America’s most dangerous city, and come out with no problem at all. However, those who lived there had to sleep on the floor at night, for fear that a bullet would fly through the window and kill them.

Pipes noted that he felt safe in a few Paris ZUS and not endangered like in some of America’s slums. He even wishes to throw away a potentially useful idea called the “no-go zone”. Was he threatened by Mayor Hidalgo and forced to change his mind? Probably not. We think he lacks “verstehen” and common sense.


The first litmus test for no-go zones needs to be if women who are unveiled, and not accompanied by a man, feel safe and are safe.

Furthermore, if anyone, regardless of race or gender, feels threatened and/or is in danger, that is a no-go zone. If they are not really in danger, then one must examine why they feel in danger and address that (bad experience, etc). It is not only if Daniel Pipes feels safe.[5] Didn’t we hear about a neo-Nazi town in eastern Germany, where no one else is allowed in? Or was it elsewhere in Eastern Europe? That’s certainly a no-go zone. Aren’t there areas of Europe where immigrants get beat up by white gangs? One can guess that there are still KKK dominated areas of the US, where blacks would be in a “no-go zone”. Actually didn’t someone attack an African immigrant with a chainsaw in Zurich, Switzerland a few years ago? The immigrant was at his work washing dishes, if we recall correctly.

So why would Pipes feel in danger in a US ghetto/slum, but not in France? Does it necessarily tell about the safety of the area, especially since it was broad daylight? Well, maybe he feels better in France, because he is Polish-Jewish: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Pipes And, he could be a Middle or Near Easterner of any religion, looking at him. We only deduced that he was Jewish, and then read, because Pipes doesn’t sound very Polish. Daniel Pipes actually looks like a cross between former Egyptian President Nasser and a vampire cartoon. If anyone saw Pipes in a dark alley they would be the ones running. Paris has a lot of Arabs, as well as Jews. Pipes even speaks Arabic. So, he’s actually a perfect fit in Paris ghettos, but not in American ones! He can’t be a litmus test for French “no-go zones”! If he had any level of intelligence, he would know that. He could live in a predominantly Muslim or Jewish area and study them, as he actually did in Egypt, but he cannot understand why others might be fearful for he doesn’t stick out too much (other than the vampire eyebrows).

Why might a Jewish or Arab man feel uncomfortable in a black American slum?
Well, here are some hints:
In 1903, black historian W. E. B. Du Bois interpreted the role of Jews in the South as successors to the slave-barons: ‘The Jew is the heir of the slave-baron in Dougherty [Georgia]; and as we ride westward, by wide stretching cornfields and stubby orchards of peach and pear, we see on all sides within the circle of dark forest a Land of Canaan. Here and there are tales of projects for money getting, born in the swift days of Reconstruction ‘improvement’ companies, wine companies, mills and factories; nearly all failed, and the Jew fell heir.“[15]

Black novelist James Baldwin (1924–1987) grew up in Harlem, and expressed a view of Jews that was representative of many Harlem blacks of that era: ‘… in Harlem…. our … landlords were Jews, and we hated them. We hated them because they were terrible landlords and did not take care of the buildings. The grocery store owner was a JewThe butcher was a Jew and, yes, we certainly paid more for bad cuts of meat than other New York citizens, and we very often carried insults home along with our meats… and the pawnbroker was a Jew—perhaps we hated him most of all.“[14][16]

Martin Luther King, Jr. suggested that some black anti-semitism arises from landlord-tenant relations: ‘When we were working in Chicago, we had numerous rent strikes on the West Side, and it was unfortunately true that, in most instances, the persons we had to conduct these strikes against were Jewish landlordsWe were living in a slum apartment owned by a Jew and a number of others, and we had to have a rent strike. We were paying $94 for four run-down, shabby rooms, and …. we discovered that whiteswere paying only $78 a month. We were paying 20 percent tax. The Negro ends up paying a color tax, and this has happened in instances where Negroes actually confronted Jews as the landlord or the storekeeper. The irrational statements that have been made are the result of these confrontations.[17]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American–Jewish_relations Since Daniel Pipes could pass for an Arab, it is worth looking at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_the_Arab_world and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_slave_trade This article is related, though slightly off topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jizya

So, we conclude that the right to say stupid things is important. Stupidity is also a legacy of attempts to suppress free speech. As such, Mayor Hidalgo’s, intentional or unintentional, attempt to stifle free speech will only lead to more stupidity. It has a chilling effect. If she were intelligent and less authoritarian, she would have asked to appear on FOX news (assuming that she didn’t) instead of CNN, or, at least, used CNN as a forum to discuss ZUS, and how they are related to her alleged plans for low income housing in Paris. Instead, she has reminded everyone that neither the Spanish Inquisition nor Franco’s dictatorship were very long ago.

Although we believe that Daniel Pipes isn’t the brightest man around, at least he gave a good example of unabashedly saying he was wrong, rather than hiding under a rock as most would, and much of what he says forces people to think.

Mayor Hidalgo’s over-the-top arrogance makes her and the City of Paris the big losers. She is a Spaniard who grew up in Lyon, but ironically has served to reinforce stereotypes of arrogant Parisians. Previously these stereotypes were false. Are they now true? Mayor Hidalgo, AREVA and EDF make France look really bad.

People forgive stupidity from nice acting people, but not stupidity from arrogant people. Agree or disagree with Daniel Pipes, love him or hate him, but he forces discussion of important topics.

Vive la liberté!

In the words of Braveheart-William Wallace: FREEDOM!

[1] There is no clear, concise, definition readily found on the ZUS web site. We clicked in various spots, trying to fetch up the law, as we are French-English bilinguals, but could not find anything quickly. However, we did see, within the site, a reference to things such as re-painting. Based on this, the fact that the French love priority planning zones of various sorts (ZIP, ZUP, etc.), and reading in French and English wikipedia, we believe that urban renovation is the best word. It may also include things like more police, social services.
[2] This is presumably why most professors want more than one reference. However, one has to be certain that the second and third reference are not based on the first. This problem is easiest to see in genealogical research where people often just copy whatever, and everyone copies it, even where the years and locations don’t add up.
[3] http://www.webometrics.info/en/world
[4] At least Fox News occasionally asks important questions and sometimes has intelligent people on, even if they try to spin and direct what is said. By making people angry, at least it makes them think. It’s better than their international private competitor, which we won’t name – you know the one where the news reporter was fired for reporting that the US had attacked a milk factory and not a chemical weapons factory way back when. It’s the same one whose international station thinks that everyone wants to watch endless filming of war zones and nothing else and got an award for it. Twenty journalists got an award for saying nothing. 19 weren’t even in the war zone! We don’t get Fox News, we have never seen it more than a few times, but just making the point. We don’t watch the other ones anymore either.
[5] It is important to recall that both Muslims and Jews have been victims of attacks both recently and historically. Nazis were present in some parts of Europe (e.g. Copenhagen) when there were almost no immigrants! France, on the other hand, has a long-standing immigrant presence and abuse of immigrants.
Nonetheless, Hitler rose to power in the context of unrestricted immigration and high level unemployment. The wrath fell upon fully integrated Jews, as well as newly arrived non-integrated Jews. Societies need to work on helping everyone who is already there and not adding to the problem by immigration. It’s unfair that people should have to move to other places seeking employment while others take their jobs. Then they become unwanted immigrants as well as away from home and family. Or, unemployed at home. Who will not be resentful under such circumstances? Speaking in L.A., a few weeks before he was killed, Martin Luther King pointed out that blacks arrived in the USA in 1619, before the pilgrims. And, that when they were freed (1865) they were given nothing at all. To add insult to injury, around the same time newly arrived European immigrants were given vast homesteads in the western US for free.

While Daniel Pipes probably passes for Muslim-Arab, and apparently has in the past, his own father probably couldn’t. Pipes, Jr. seems jovial and easy-going (based on his blog), considering his family background. He is apparently an advocate of moderate Islam.

No one should forget that Nazi Germany became a “no-go zone” for Jewish people and that’s how Daniel Pipe’s father, and perhaps mother, went to America. It is worth recalling what Richard Pipes said in an interview 10 years ago:
When I was in Poland under the Germans, any German in uniform could take out his revolver and shoot me just because he didn’t like my face,’ Pipes said in a recent interview.” From: “The hard-liner: Harvard historian Richard Pipes shaped the Reagan administration’s aggressive approach to the Soviet Union. His support for confrontation over containment prefigured the Bush foreign policy of today.” By Sam Tanenhaus, 11/2/2003, Boston Globe http://www.boston. com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2003/11/02/the_hard_liner/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pipes