Most Europeans are looking at the current US riots with great surprise and bedazzlement. Already we are wondering whether a repeat of the infamous 1992 Los Angeles riots is in the works. What is clear is that our media refuses to take sides in the matter.
Given that the most important superpower also has presidential elections this year which are looking quite tight at this point as to the outcome, the coming few days could be a dealbreaker.
Over on the old continent, people in Western Europe (the low countries (Netherlands, Luxemburg and Belgium), France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany) are certainly discussing the Minneapolis riots and the subsequent looting and burning of stores.
In the midst of all this, Europeans are of course taking sides. One of the most progressive countries, the Netherlands (which boasts legal euthanasia and was one of the first in the world to allow legal marijuana), has taken a clear favorite as to whom it supports.
Allow me to present you with Dumpert.nl, the Dutch version of Reddit sort of speak. This video voting site ranks 7.600 on Alexa’s worldwide ranking of websites, which for a country of only 17 million people, the Netherlands, is quite impressive.
It is a simple website which tells you what the Dutch agree with, what they laugh about and what they don’t agree with. This week multiple videos of the Minneapolis (and other US cities) riots graced the website (just as was the case for the rest of Europe), and users were able to upvote which one they liked best.
Just like the tabloid newspapers in the UK (like The Daily Mail or The Sun) or in Germany (the biggest newpsaper there is the tabloid Bild) show the ‘underbelly’ of the average Brit or German, Dumpert shows what the Dutch are thinking.
As to the US riots, by yesterday evening, a clear video came out on top of the daily top 10. It won with some 4.190 upvotes and 187.000 views (once again, not bad for a country of that size).
Protecting shops against anarchist looters
The winner showed several American citizens in Minneapolis earlier this week choosing to protect some shops from getting looted, armed with long guns.
The subtitle of the video states: Protesteren prima, plunderen nope, meaning that it’s fine to protest, but not to loot.
The top comment read:
Ik vind dit toch wel de mooie kant van het vrije Amerika, burgers die opstaan om de middenstand en hun winkels te beschermen tegen anarchistische plunderaars in tijden van onrust. Ik kan daar moeilijk iets negatiefs van vinden.
I think this is the beautiful side of the free America, citizens who stand up to protect the middle class and their shops against anarchist looters in times of unrest. I can hardly find anything negative to say about that
Furthermore, some 90% of all comments received on the video were positive and in favor of protecting your own city.
Looting and the European mindset
Although European mainstream media is mostly anti-Trump, the looters are of course getting the least respect in nations of shopkeepers (as the UK has been famously labelled by French historical ruler Napoleon Bonaparte). Furthermore, The Netherlands thanks it’s glorious past mostly to commerce and shopkeepers willing to invest in overseas travel (which unfortunately resulted in the continent’s famous Tulip Bubble, the first stock market crash). It is therefore understandable from a cultural standpoint that any sort of looting is highly frowned upon in Holland (and in Western Europe as a whole).
(Picture above – the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, normally a newspaper focused on financial matters, also carried the Minneapolis riots as it’s front page – the storyline condemned the looting)
(Picture above – Italian newspaper La Repubblica opened it’s weekend edition with Minneapolis, la battaglia che lacera l’America or Minneapolis, the battle that tears America open)
Justice for Floyd
Whereas everyone agrees that justice for Floyd George is needed, the protesters who participate in looting (and any politician who would condone this behavior) will see their support drop in European surveys.
And thus the mainstream media in Europe treads on a fine line: the young journalists understand the anger in the US, but the somewhat older editors know that no European liberal shopkeeper (and thus their advertisers) will dare to place an ad in a publication that would condone looting in any way.