You have to give France’s new president, Nicolas Sarkozy credit for picking a Minister of Foreign Affairs – Bernard Kouchner – who not only comes from an opposition Socialist party – but also admits that he disagrees with Sarkozy on some points. Turkey is just one example. Sarkozy says that Turkey is not in Europe. And Kouchner says it is. Of course Turkey is in Europe AND Asia Minor – so they’re both partly Right. But the part of Istanbul, Turkey which is considered part of the Europe would be located on the LEFT. If you find this confusing, things are bound to get moreso.
For example if you had watched the debates between Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal, you may remember that Mme Royal emphasized the plight of battered women. Here on Day 4 of the first hundred days, the newly appointed Prime Minister Francois Fillon starts off his work day by visiting a shelter for homeless women and kids in Paris. According to the newspaper Aujourdhui every day, 15,000 kids need to find refuge in homeless shelters.
If you are interested in learning more about the plight of the homeless in Paris, the president of the association ‘Aux Captifs La Liberation’ has written a book published by Nouvelle Cite called “A la rencontre des personnes de la Rue.”
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Of course all this looks very convincing for newspaper copy. But my question is what of the street people that one sees day in and day out posted in front of supermarkets? I have seen the same woman standing in front of the Innos supermarket for the past five years. On occasion a younger man comes up to chat with her – a family member? In Paris, it appears that there are at least two kinds of homeless people, those that have had a run of bad luck, and those that are the ‘professional homeless’. Where do the pros go when they ‘work’ day is finished?
When you consider that film director Martin Scorsese is considering the setting of between the war era i.e. 1930 Paris to tell the story of a Paris ‘waif’, the present day reallity might be a much more challenging plot. In another article written by Vincent Mongaillard for Aujourdhui, the reporter interviews ‘Momo, who’s been in the streets since he was sixteen – although some street kids are younger. According to Mongaillard, the Gare du Nord neighborhood and Porte Dauphine are the two spots where homeless kids are likely to hang out.
Fillon commiserates with shelter orga