carnet de route
Signs of solidarity in the street  
Conscientious insurrection  
Malik Oussekine  
Demonstration in Poitiers  
Signs of solidarity in the street  
It was dark. The stores were illuminated and decorated indicating how close it was to Christmas Day. The traffic was heavy. As I was walking on the sidewalk, I suddenly caught a glimpse of a man laying on the ground. He seemed unconscious. A few persons were around him. A young man with a cellular phone called right away for an ambulance.
homme de la rue Who was this man laying on the sidewalk? He was dressed simply, poorly. There were no bag or object near him. His face had wrinkles. His eyes were closed.
Then he said: « I am cold  ». On many occasions, he repeated the same words.
Without further ado, a young woman took off her jacket and placed it on the poor man. Then she rolled her sweater and slid it gently under his head.
Another young man tried to comfort him: « you are being taken care of. Do not worry. The ambulance won’t be long  ».

« The ambulance has arrived » announced the young man who called for it with his cellular phone.
While the man was being taken care of by the first-aid workers, a woman probably from near by, gave her opinion: 
« Whoever this man is, he is first a human being! ».
Filled with admiration for the young people who gave assistance with such humanity, I thanked them. « It’s normal, they told me, he is somebody like us ».
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Conscientious insurrection  
A special press conference had been organized about a Kosovo family threatened to be sent back to its own country. The family arrived in France some five years ago. The three children are attending school. Two of them were born in France.  
Appeals were undertaken without obtaining from the authorities to modify their decision of expulsion.
The family was taken by force in a plane departing for Kosovo. Because of their resistance and the protests of the passengers, the captain decided that the whole family has to leave the plane.
At the press conference, in front of a large audience, two women, great friends of the family, spoke with humanity, indignation and emotion. They were not doing a political speech. I was admiring their way of using words that come from the heart.
« Why such a fierceness ? This goes beyond what is bearable. These children will be traumatized for life. We cannot let this happen ».
Nevertheless, the Prefet (Administration Officer) staid insensitive, and kept the same line of thoughts. He has to obey orders. The threat of an expulsion is always there.  
mobilisation People commitment continues and it spreads to schools, colleges, all those who are elected, to non-governmental organizations, Unions, medias… It is a great moment : a moment of conscientious insurrection.
By depriving foreigners of their human rights, our own rights are threatened. By attacking their liberties, our own liberties might disappear tomorrow.
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Malik Oussekine  
On the sidewalk, at 20, Monsieur le Prince Street, in the 6th arrondissement* of Paris, one can now read these words engraved on a black plaque:
plaque mémoire Malik Oussekine
22 years old
beaten to death
during a demonstration
on December 6th 1986
At the time, that event made a strong impression on me. That is why I insisted on being present.
On unveiling the plaque, the Mayor of Paris paid homage to this French from Algerian origin. There was no speech. Near the plaque, a spray of flowers on which were written the words of the poet Pablo Neruda:
 « they can cut all the flowers, they will never be the masters of the spring ».
Why wait 20 years to pay this tribute? The forces of oblivion were active. Not many were there to pay homage.
At that time, the death of Malik created a considerable shock across France. The Minister of Education had to resigned. His project of a university reform was abandoned. Regarding the two police officers who had struck Malik with their sticks showing an unbelievable violence, they were given a suspended prison sentence!
When there are student demonstrations like last spring with a brutal police intervention, I always apprehend a tragedy like Malik’s one.
rendre hommage
*Arrondissement is an administrative subdivision of major French cities such as Paris.  
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Demonstration in Poitiers  
manifestation à Poitiers Under a stormy wind, the Union members arrived by train and buses in the city of Poitiers that looked like a besieged city. Having left early their homes, they were organized in delegations from the four corners of France.
With badges, banners and flags creaking in the wind, they gathered by thousands in support of four activists due to appear before the Poitiers Court of Appeal.
What are they accused of? Of participating to the fire of the Employers’ headquarters in La Rochelle in 2003 during a demonstration by 1500 people. Two of them have been condemned last June to a suspended 1 month jail sentence and to jointly pay a fine of 1.2 millions Euros! For these modest employees, it would be the equivalent of 75 years of their annual income…
In the middle of the crowd, I appreciated the ambiance of solidarity and good humour. We are all here for the same cause.
What a joy to exchange, to get to know or to recognize each other, to listen to words of hope!
Difficult not to be photographed:
 « my mother who adores you will be so happy to see you with me in a picture  ».
It is also difficult to say, no, to a glass of Muscat or whisky! The Union members do not come without supplies. In their bags, they have stocks for a whole day.
The reporters present invariably started to ask the same question:
 « Why have you come to this demonstration? ». The answer is always the same : « To ask for the release of the four activists ».
Because there is a lack of evidence, I think they are innocent. What is in cause here, is that there is an intention to give an example in view of criminalizing Union actions.