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by François Taillandier

Published in l'Humanité on 6 December 2007

You, the rioter

Translated Wednesday 19 December 2007, by Gene Zbikowski

Sarkozyite France

You wrecked the school and the library without knowing that your elementary and secondary school teachers are despised as much as you are. You burned your neighbor’s car without knowing that a car costs a lot and that he prized it. You shot at a poor cop, without knowing how little he makes to go out in the middle of the night to uphold order, when he would surely have preferred to be in bed with his wife. You are the result of a country that is falling.

How proud she is, our France, of having liquidated her Christian heritage, Christ’s dazzling presence that said to everyone, even the worst, that you can be the best and I believe in you. How proud she is, this learned France to have had her popular and labor movements, which only wanted a little more justice here and now. How proud she is to have forgotten them, the ones who believed in Heaven and the ones who did not!

Now she can see in your face the reflection of what she has become. During that time, others were fighting to maintain the privileges of their caste, solely because they had the power to hassle their fellow citizens. Everybody knows it but nobody says it. During that time, students were yelling against a law they had not read. Everybody knows it, but nobody says it. The courageous and responsible attitude (although it was manifested more by silence and withdrawal, which is troubling) of serious men like Bernard Thibault and Bruno Julliard should start us thinking. During this time, a former presidential candidate promotes her book which she was not even capable of writing herself with a silly smile. Everybody knows it, but nobody says it!

During this time, a president gave a hefty tax break to the rich while explaining to us that there is no social crisis. Come to think of it, what is a president who can be called a bastard in public? Nobody would have dared say that to Mitterrand!

During his time; I read in a daily paper that more and more, French students are considered to be lousy! During this time, a Kenyan cabby tells me at midnight: “Sir, the French despise their language, and I had to learn it for five years!” Everything remains within the bounds of decadence. You, the rioter, were not taught to speak or to read or to respect orders and laws. You, the rioter, are the one to whom a hand was never held out, including the occasion when the outstretched hand might have resembled a kick in the seat of the pants. Your face is the face of our collapse.

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