carnet de route
A trip to Seoul  
A rough evacuation  
Citizens' meeting  
A bright interval  
A trip to Seoul  
I was invited by the Universal Peace Federation and went for the first time to Korea to attend an international meeting concerning Conflict resolution.
féderation pour la paix
A Boeing 747, filled with people, took off majestically like a big bird. I followed on a screen the itinerary of approximately 9,000 km from Paris to Seoul. We flew over the Baltic Sea, then across Russia, Mongolia and China. The people of the countries we were flying over were present in my mind with their history.  
répresentantes internationales I was sitting next to a charming Korean woman whose only fault was not being able to speak French.
After flying over Beijing, we were approaching Seoul. The airport is situated on an island. I took a bus that took two hours to bring me to the town center. All along the way, I saw tall buildings. The traffic was heavy. I had a room on the 20th floor of a hotel, which I shared with a participant whom I had not met before.  
87 countries were having delegates. The experiences shared by the participants were full of teachings. Thus, the ancient President of Costa Rica, a small country of Latin America, situated between Panama and Nicaragua, held to recall that Costa Rica was the only country in the world to have abolished its army. That was 60 years ago! His country lives in peace and is respected. He has founded universities of peace where a culture of peace is taught.  
The present Prime Minister of Azerbaijan spoke about the 16 years of conflict between his country and Armenia. The secretary to the Prime Minister of Nepal talked about the 12 years that have torn his country.  
In most of the testimonies given, the spiritual dimension was present. It is based on common values that bring people together: truth, justice, and fraternity. Religions have an important role to play.  
dimension spirituelle
The example of Nelson Mandela was recalled. After 27 years spent in prison, he did not seek revenge on the Whites. To reconstruct his country he called in the white men. He needed everybody. One does not win his enemy through hate and vengeance.  
haute en page  
A rough evacuation  
The people with no official documents who had occupied for a year the Labour Exchange building have been thrown out by a trade union organization. Usually, the police do this work. Today, the musclemen of the union have done it! Everything is upside down.  
Bourse du Travail The people with no official documents piled in close to the Labour Exchange with all their belongings. Without delay I went to visit them. What a sight in the middle of Paris! The women, always determined, resist even the heat from the sun. On a banner, these terrible words are written: « if you say that human beings are superior to animals, prove it! »
Sissoko, the spokesman for the group, willingly accepted to take coffee with me in the bar just facing the site. The woman serving at the counter felt she had to tell us: « it is unfortunate to see what is happening on the sidewalk. People should not be treated this way. They are human beings like us. Everyone in the neighbourhood thinks the same way. I do not know what I can do for them. » I appreciated these words from the woman: « it was a good idea to come and have coffee here. Your words are a comfort to us. Thank you. »  
Sissoko does not have an easy task. This calm and determined man keeps holding on. All the Africans on the sidewalk are with him.
haute en page  
Citizens' meeting  
When one morning I said I was going to Fleury-Mérogis in the south of Paris, I was told: ' you are going to the prison? » Fleury-Mérogis in fact is known to designate the largest jail in France and also, it seems, of Europe. 4,000 persons, it is a great village!  
à Fleury-Mérogis I was not going to the jail, but to the city hall. The mayor, a communist, and the deputy mayor, had invited me and wanted to speak with me about the Citizens' meeting to be held one Saturday in September and the subject will be related to housing, education and health.
The word « citizen » today has a sense. It says that each one is responsible, and an actor in the city. Not only at the moment of the elections but on everything that concerns the subjects of living together.  
Are we not all invited to go beyond the geographical, religious and cultural become citizens of the world? How difficult it is to see in the face of the other what is universal in him, before looking immediately at his difference!
dépasser les frontières
The mayor insists that the meeting ends with an aperitif and a buffet. He is right. But why keep the meal for the finale. Can the meeting be a celebration from the beginning to the end? Instead of inviting specialists to speak on what one should think, let the citizens speak and let there be a citizens' debate.  
The mayor approved and thought it was time to go out for a bite to eat.  
haute en page  
A bright interval  
squat à Bordeaux I went again to Bordeaux to meet with those who had squatted, a few months ago, the empty premises of an old garage. It was a pleasure to meet them again.
The premises are well kept. It is an open space ideal for meetings. Neighbourhood shopkeepers gave their support. Which is uncommon enough.  
At the end of the afternoon, four of us were received as a delegation by the Bordeaux Urban Community (BUC). Both directors of the Cabinet staffs of the BUC and of the Town Hall of Bordeaux attended the meeting. They were very satisfied with the projects developed by the activists of the association.  
- A temporary accommodation project. There were 12 places that were already all occupied. These persons are all waiting for a housing.
- A Day center. Already, about twenty homeless people come to have their breakfast in the morning.
- A mutual assistance garage. The old garage would be used to repair the cars of those with low income. It is still at the planning stage.
The projects received the agreement of the directors of both Cabinet staffs. They were satisfied that the projects were ground-rooted and had a potential for the future. The success of these projects might open the way for initiatives of this sort taken by other associations. There is no more talk about taking the matter to court. The page is turned.  
Back at the squat, a report was given on the results of the meeting. Some twenty people were listening to us carefully. One could read the satisfaction on their faces. Then, it was time for a festive meal together.
une embellie