I’m currently following two elections. Yes. Politics. If as a North American you don’t understand what so fun in that, remember I’m French. Two elections is to me what the Stanley Cup and the Superbowl week-end is to you.
First, the March 26th provincial election in Quebec, the battle between the Liberals, le Parti Québécois and the ADQ (Action Démocratique du Québec). Then the French presidential election to be held in April, with three main political parties (out of 14 !), the left-wing with Ségolène Royal, the right-wing leaded by Nicolas Sarkozy and the underdog, François Bayrout.
French newspapers are packed with the latest info from the campaign. Who did what last night, who said what, who is against who, who rallied who, who slept with whom (although the latest one is “only in France…”). Citizens are invited to write a name on a piece of paper and build a new world. Vote for me, I’m the best !
Errare Humanum Est…
I remember, back in France. Started demonstrating when I was just a baby. Later, as a teenager, I paced up and down the streets, holding banners and placards. Played hide and seek with the cops, stopping in front of the prefecture, the clamors of indignation increasing whenever the “enemy” was to be seen. We had been told that people could overthrow the power, that it was ours to take. I lost track of the number of demonstration or strikes I participated in, but I do know that Chirac has been president since 1995.
… Est Perseverare Diabolicum
At night, I used to sneak out to take part in General Assembly. Up in a old attic room, confident we were fighting the good fight, we rose up against racism, liberalism, fascism, fundamentalism and nationalism, not realizing we were at least as narrow-minded as the enemy. “One, two, three, what are we fightin’ for, don’t ask me I don’t give a damn…” Have you ever tried to make a decision with lefties when half of them is high and the other half is arguing whether voting itself is a right-wing way of deciding ?
Second Hand Utopia
I thought my beliefs were revolutionary. We had been raised in a divided Europe, red vs. brown, a wall between the communist beast and the American dream. A Europe who didn’t dare to truly believe in anything, to scared to fall back into extreme ideology. My generation got the left-over of pretty much every political tendencies. The good and the bad was clearly defined and our little rebellion was commonplace. We wanted to be original… but failed to be. Instead of carrying our parents’ fight, we should have invented our own. With all the main wars settled and little novelty on the board, no way we could win.
Wake up Comrade, They Turned Crazy !
I can’t speak of the Quebec election much since I live in Ontario and can’t vote anyway. But I do observe the campaign themes : immigration, nationalism, health care system, environment and various budget are the main political pillars of the party, with the exception of the ADQ which doesn’t seem to have a political platform whatsoever and heavily relies on populism.
As for France, the country still seems stuck in its own contradictions. Is it supposed to finally step back from the international scene and resolve its own problems before lecturing other countries ? Is it supposed to accept its mistakes (colonialism, Algerian war, fascism, etc.) and move on ? It is ready to change ? Are people ready for change ? With all the candidates without exception well known on the political scene, nothing is less sure. Well, at least Chirac publicly announced he won’t aspire to a 3rd mandate. Bless him, thank you, go see the judge now, he has a couple of questions for you about all the money you shamelessly spent when you were Paris’ mayor.
I stopped doing politics when I started traveling. Going to China was a first breach in my beliefs. I realized that my views on the world were euro-centered and that most of the critics against the big Asian dragon were just a re-enactment of the Opium Wars. In Latin America, I understood what being born on the “good” side of the world meant. With my French passport in hand, it was easy to cross the borders, to get a stamp for my next destination. I thought of all the Salvadorian, trying to escape the civil war just a few years ago, paying of their life the crossing to a neighborhood country. In Chiapas, I thought of the Subcommandante Marcos :
Nosotros nacimos de la noche. En ella vivimos. Moriremos en ella. Pero la luz será mañana para los más, para todos aquellos que hoy lloran la noche, para quienes se niega el día, para quienes es regalo la muerte, para quienes está prohibida la vida. Para todos la luz. Para todos todo. Para nosotros el dolor y la angustia, para nosotros la alegre rebeldía, para nosotros el futuro negado, para nosotros la dignidad insurrecta. Para nosotros nada.
Techo, tierra, trabajo, pan, salud, educación, independencia, democracia, libertad, justicia y paz. Estas fueron nuestras banderas en la madrugada de 1994. Estas fueron nuestras demandas en la larga noche de los 500 años. Estas son, hoy, nuestras exigencias. “
Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena-Comandancia General del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional)
These are the ideas I want to fight for. I don’t believe much anymore, but I do see the world globally. Fighting for my region, my country of my privileges doesn’t interest me. Do you think I want to complain about how much taxes I pay and write in to the Sun to claim that immigrants are using them ? I don’t. Cause I don’t give a damn. You know what, France will always be the rebel country, will always “fight” the USA, will always have this left-right wing battle even though both parties are pretty much the same. You know what, North America will always be the promised land for 75% of the people in this world and will always have the greatest gap of wealth between its citizens. Deal with it. I welcome any idea for a change, but it doesn’t bother me that much.
What I want to change, what I wish I could change, is worldwide poison. The world’s destiny is still in the hand of the few chosen. It bothers me that the Group of Eight allows himself to control our destiny. “Growth is madness” as my old friends would say, and I tend to agree. World Economic Forum ? GATS ? MAI ? OECD ? WB ? IMF ? These barbaric acronyms divided the world into the North and the South and are praising the one-way though.
I don’t want such a world.
Yeah, still a dreamer.