These are the things I say or do. While in France or some other country in the neighborhood. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

My school is blocked

I woke up again today to someone screaming over a loudspeaker in French at 7:30am. I looked out my window into the grey morning with a groggy head and saw that the gate to my school was still closed. And there's a big sheet with writing on it hanging over it. And all of the students were on the side of the gate that is on the street, not revving their mopeds and making out inside like they normally do.

I came in early to check emails and such, entering through the back door like normal. All of the professors, instead of teaching in their classes, were in the staffroom drinking coffee. We can get in and out of the school, just not through the front gate where all of the students come in.

This comes after Tuesday's mass strike and protest, where at least 10,000 people marched in the streets in Le Havre alone. The blockage today is in response to the Constitutional Council's upholding of the CPE yesterday. It went to a vote there, and they gave an "unqualified decision" to retain the law. You can read the newest English article about it here. Opponents of the law had hoped that the council would overturn the law, but now that it has been upheld, there will be more strikes and blockages.

Also check out this article in the Guardian that draws parallels and distinctions between the current strikes and the revolution in 1968. It's quite good and also covers the impact these events have in lieu of the riots in November.

In the interest of balance, here is an article in Slate that paints a not-so-flattering portrait of a protest in Paris while still being nuanced enough to differentiate the violent protesters from the peaceful ones. Intererestingly enough, the author wrote one of my favorite books of all time, Bare, about the stripping/sex entertainment industry.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say that the current protests and demonstrations are not, as the American media complex would have you believe, riots. They are not solely kids throwing bricks through windows and burning things. Much of the demonstrating has been peaceful, and to characterize this movement as solely one of whiny, dispossessed and lazy children taking an opportunity to vent frustration is false. There are opportunists and violent people that ruin the peaceful nature of protests, and of the world for that matter. Because one person in a demonstration swings a bat or throws a rock does not mean that an entire generation of people is "violent", or that the entire protest can be deemed a riot. This issue is complicated, like everything else in this world, and slanted bias and misrepresentation do nothing to help one understand the reasons behind it.


Blogger fontgoddess said...

I talked to my mom about the protests in France. She, being her normal cheery self, said that almost every employee in the US is considered an "at-will" employee, meaning that they can be fired at any time for any reason. The exception is some government employees (mostly, teachers, I believe). Well doesn't that just make you love our country (in a really sarcastic way)? But it does show that if the law does go through (which seems probable, based on NPR's coverage), France should survive. Maybe not with the goosed economy that they're hoping for, but hopefully young workers will still be fine.

3/31/2006 07:23:00 AM

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