France is pushing ahead with its mandate that people present a Covid passport showing they are fully vaccinated for access to public venues, bars and restaurants, shopping centers and so forth. The first decree goes into effect this week and the Bill should be rubber-stamped by President Macron’s majority in Parliament on Friday. There is widespread resistance by those who don’t want the vaccine but still want their freedom.
Some say it is a totalitarian move, apartheid, a health dictatorship; others claim that it is the only way to get French people to accept to be vaccinated and stop the spread of Covid. The one thing everybody agrees on is that, if you want a life, and a job, after mid-September, you will need to prove you have had both Covid shots at all times.
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!”
Brazzaville, May 30, 2015. An estimated 100 thousand people in Congo-Brazzaville infected with the AIDS virus are at risk because they are not getting their medications, according to western diplomats and Congolese activists.
The Hmong are a fiercely independent people who see Vietnamese profiteers moving in on their land as a threat. But the biggest threat to their way of life is probably tourism.
Banjul, May 5, 2012 – When Europeans went to Berlin with their scissors in 1884 to cut up the map of Africa, they played a sick joke which is still felt today. The British wanted the Palm oil from the Gambia River so they took that out of French West Africa and today the place is called a country: 60 kilometers wide at the Atlantic it snakes 338 kilometers up river where it is just a dozen kilometers wide. French diplomats like to refer to it as the finger in the ass of Senegal. The metaphor is à propos this year as the country obsesses over all things anal.
The idea of a universal, government run, health care system seems from this side of the Atlantic a ‘no-brainer’. At 17% of GDP, or more than $7,500 per American per year, you are paying double what any of the other industrialized nations pay where everybody is insured, while in the US 46 million go without health coverage.
Trikiri, The Pillion, Greece – June 15, 2008: Kiriaki is a small cove three hundred meters below the village of new Trikiri at the far tip of the Pillion. It is a small fishing village with a working harbor and busy little shipyard. The village will be ruined soon by the new road just built to it with tourist bus parking at the edge of town and all thanks to EU money. But for the moment only adventurous foreigners make it here. The village is still fairly isolated. I am told electricity arrived here in the 1970s and a small winding road from Trikiri opened the town up in the early 80s.
Volos, Greece – June 10 – 15, 2008.
The vomiting and diarrhea began in N’Djamena on the morning of the 7th. By the afternoon I was bed-ridden but had to catch the plane to Paris late that night.