It was one of the worst experiences of my life. The room in my Moscow student dorm was infested with bedbugs. After two painful and sleepless nights, I was taken to a Soviet hospital to face a doctor with a needle as big as her hat, and made for horses, full of something they said was supposed to calm my suffering.
“You are testing new weapons against us Americans!” I told them. They just shrugged their shoulders. For some societies, bedbugs are a given.
But not in France where Cimex Lectularius was driven out in the 1950s by chemicals that are now forbidden. “Invasion!” “The Plague!” “End of the world.” The French press compete in hyperbole to describe their return: “Bedbugs!”
Paris Rioting hit mainly the chic districts, targetting the symbols of wealth and the 1%: 5-star-hotels, luxury cars, banks, jewelry stores…
After two weeks of Yellow Vest protests, government insults and deaf ears, President Emmanuel Macron is scrambling for answers but unwilling to compromise. There is a no-confidence vote is in the making, the left and right oppositions are calling for new legislative elections and an already weakened economy is teetering. This leaderless, grassroots movement by mainly angry, lower and middle income white French families, may still peter-out, and then again, as I wrote on November 22, in ‘France’s Deplorables Explained’ (Click here), it may not.
“A medieval peasant revolt with social media. An Arab Spring without the Arabs. Don’t underestimate the potential danger of the Yellow Vests.”
They are the ‘deplorables’ of France. They get up early and go to work. If they were American, they would be those that make up Trumps hardcore base but no French worker is stupid enough to believe a billionaire can represent their interests. In the 1960s and early 70s they would have voted Communist. Today they vote for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and other hard right conservatives. The Yellow Vests are White and ethnic French. They are mad as Hell and won’t take it any more! (1.)
There is a conservative movement in France rewriting the history of World War One. These people say the Allies should have never accepted an Armistice and marched on to Berlin once the German 1918 offensive was broken, thanks to US intervention. They say this would have prevented World War Two. They made the 100th anniversary of the Armistice a celebration of the Generals. They claim the war was fought by “patriots for liberty.” They say we are wrong to measure the killing with today’s yard-stick.
Emmanuel Macrons says Europe can no longer rely on the US for its security. He is calling for a European defense initiative which could sideline Nato and has begun bilateral talks with potentially willing EU members. He is even ready to discuss a separate security partnership with Russia. But so far the response is cautious. Europe does not seem ready for France to lead another Grande Armée.
Debate rages over the role “Africans” played on the French team in the World Cup and on African sportsmen in general and their effect on integration while many in Africa are calling the French win, an African victory.
Bravo Croatia! Your country of just over four million people took on powerhouse France, pop. 65 million, as well as the best Francophone Africa, nearly half the continent, has to offer. This sort of statement sparks anger from the “ethnic French” among anti-racists. Yet, it is the general feeling I find among Africans too.