State of Emergency in France


Back in the 1970s, I dined with a group of Athenians in a little restaurant on the island of Paxos. When Pericles asked me about my politics, I replied: “I’m not interested in politics.”
Everything you do in life is touched by politics:

the food you eat, the air you breathe, where you work and when (or if you can play), he insinuated. Actually, his response to my lax attitude was simply: “Everything in life is politics.” This brief one-sentence course in political studies came back to me this past week. France is now in a stte of emergency. But in many calm Parisian neighborhoods (at this point in time) the sudden violence is primarily a topic for discussion. Until blaring reality sinks in. Those that bear the brunt of destroyed property are those that can least afford it. Our female taxi driver (one of two women) in her company tells us that her own car was burned last night. She doesn’t live in Clicy-sous-bois, but one of the nearby satellite towns of Paris.
“The kids in our neighborhood are good kids. They didn’t do it. It’s other people who came in. Lucky for me, i have multiple risk insurance but other people don’t.
“You know, I’m African, but what the young people are doing isn’t right. People complain about unemployment but there are jobs for people – if they really want to work.”
That politics of fire has already touched the lives of friends in small French towns, not just Paris and the big cities. In Lisieux, an employee of a close friend arrived at work yesterday morning without his car. It was burned the previous evening in Hauteville which is a section of this town of app. 20,000. akready well known for bouts of vandalism over the summer. A trashed car is not news, but nationwide organization is news.

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