A trial in Rochefort, south-western France, which could literally cost Maurice his head, has been postponed until July 4. But Bruno Dionis du Séjour, the mayor of a tiny hamlet called Gajac en Gironde (400 inhabitants), is furious and is determined to save not only Maurice but the sounds of rural France. Maurice is a rooster.

The problem began a couple of years ago when a couple bought their secondary residence next door to Corinne Fesseau in Saint Pierre d’Oléron, an island off south western France. Little did they know Maurice would wake them every day at 6:30. The retirees want the rooster silenced.

This is just the latest case of urban elites trying to silence the countryside when they buy a secondary residence. Mayor Dionis du Séjour is counter-attacking by calling for the sounds of the countryside to be declared a “national heritage.”

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.

Cimex Lectuarius showing his affection

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!

The Yellow Vest Movement, at times an insurrection, will be a marker in the history of France. There are only three ways a leaderless, spontaneous, grassroots revolt could have ended up:

  1. Violent confrontation, blood and chaos, with its share of tears and gritting of teeth, for in a battle between the rabble and the organized state, the state’s machine of repression always wins.
  2. A charismatic leader steps forward, galvanizes the movement and manages to impose its political will on the system, stopping its normal functioning, forcing elections, creating political and economic instability for a prolonged period.
  3. The movement fizzles out, leaving in its wake massive demoralization and a total lack of confidence in the system and its actors; Like a volcano leaves its trail of destruction, hot ambers remain with the occasional after-shocks. Nothing gets done.

It seems the French Yellow Vest movement is now in the third option, but that does not mean President Emmanuel Macron can go on with business as usual.

It could peter-out, or it could get a whole lot bigger

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.