carnet de route
« I wish this to no one »  
One can let an event pass you by  
Europe under observation  
A year ago, we remember  
« I wish this to no one »  
I went to a Parisian bookstore difficult for me to find. To my surprise, the place was crowded with people who wanted to participate to a debate that promised to be interesting. The man signing his book embraced me, delighted of my presence. While he addressed the audience, I thought of the prison where I had met him. Afterwards we had corresponded by mail. I was happy to listen that night to this man called Saïd.  
larmes « I have spent twenty years in jail of which 9 in isolation, in a solitude that makes you crazy. I received a life sentence for murder, after the death of a prison guard while attempting to escape. I have seen the worst of what goes on in the French jails. »
The audience listened to this witness who suffered a great ordeal.  
Saïd got married while he was in jail. He will be the happy father of twins.  
When I (del) visited him, he was passionately studying international law that prevails over French law. He was making a pacific and legal combat to improve life conditions of the prisoners. This caused him many difficulties and he was subjected to multiple transfers from jail to jail.  
Today Saïd is confronted to surviving to prison. He must reconstruct himself. A difficult task! This is what he talks about in his book: « I wish this to no one. » Very moving !  
haute en page  
One can let an event pass you by  
sans papiers travailleurs Once again, I went to see some construction workers with no official papers, in the centre of Paris. From far away, I saw the union flags floating in the wind with banners asking for the regularization of these wage earners without rights.
On the sidewalk, a group of tall Africans were discussing together, holding in their hands flyers to distribute to the passers-by. It is a pleasure to meet them and talk with them. Nonetheless even with their lack of job security, they know how to be welcoming and brotherly.  
Mahamadou proposed to have tea with me before visiting the basement. I discovered these premises and personally saluted all those who were present. Some were on mattresses; others were watching television or were talking together. That night, they will surely watch the big football match on television!  
There are 248 workers on strike. Since October 2009, they are constantly menaced by an evacuation of the piquets by the police force. Luckily, they have benefited from an impressive movement of solidarity and a large coalition of unions and associations. They are part of 6,000 workers with no official documents in the Parisian area. Most of them pay taxes and pay their contributions (retirement, sickness, jobless...)  
As I left them, I walked a few meters to enter a neigbouring building: a welcoming and training centre organized by priests.  
The bursar, a priest, was replacing the guard at the door. When he saw me, he left his lodge to welcome me.  
« I just visited your African neighbours. They are expecting your visit » I told him.
His answer was immediate: « they can wait for ever! »
And the priest went back immediately to his lodge.  
haute en page  
Europe under observation  
In Barcelona, in the famous college of lawyers there is the Russell Tribunal on Palestine that examines the violations of human rights and of international law by the Israeli State.  
Let us recall that Russell, a Nobel prize in literature, took the initiative in 1967 to create a tribunal to establish the crimes of war committed in Vietnam. He wanted to prevent the crime of silence. Jean-Paul Sartre has presided over this tribunal.  
crime de guerre Last year, after a war started by the Israeli government on the Gaza strip, some citizens mobilized to set up a tribunal against Palestine, composed of experts in international law and legal experts of international reputation. Witnesses came to present their testimonies at the bar: Israeli and Palestinian doctors and lawyers, European deputies, nurses... When they came on location and saw how the Palestinians live, they changed their vision and their opinion.
I found these days fascinating. We were approximately three hundred. It is an opportunity to make many contacts. After dawn, we went for a walk on the larges avenues of Barcelona where the Catalans like to live.  
The European Union is treated badly for its politics of complacency towards the Israeli government: whether it be the preferential commercial agreements with the Israeli State, the trade of arms, the pillage of resources in occupied territories, the non respect of the resolutions of UNO, the daily violations of human rights, the colonization of East Jerusalem, of the silence on the Golstone report...  
The European Union does not interfere on these colonial practices of another age. I thought of these quotes from Aimé Césaire in 1955: « Colonialism degrades those who colonize. »
pratiques coloniales
This is why it is important for the civil society to exert pressures on those who are responsible for the European Union so that they find the political courage to act and talk.  
haute en page  
A year ago, we remember  
innocent Cécile, at 20 years old, was killed in Cairo by a bomb explosion. Some young high school students she was accompanied by were wounded. Going to discover the capital of Egypt they found this brutal attack that strikes innocent people. It was a drama for these young people and their family! A shock for the city they were coming from! A year later, Cécile's parents and friends asked me to make an ecumenical celebration at the church.
Getting out from the subway to go to the church, a young man was waiting for me. He was Vincent, Cécile's friend. He showed me two sheets of paper to read what he had written, expecting my comments. I slowly deciphered the text and I had the feeling that it was important for him. He was staring at me, waiting for a reaction from me, but his face stayed impassive. I am not familiar with the rap language; it is why I had to concentrate my attention on his writing.  
Vincent probably was thinking that I am not too good! So he asked: " How do you find my text?" " I like the finale that leads to think: don't let you go to hate neither to violence. Keep solidarity. Thank you for these words".  
"Can I read this text in a church? I have never set foot into a church" I appreciated his simplicity. He thought that what was so important for him, might not necessarily be for those coming to the church. I reassured him at once: "We need to hear your voice in the church".  
The church was crowded, Jewish, Moslems, Christians as well as persons without religion. The different faith dignitaries surrounded me; the assembly was full of emotion, of love but also of hope, even anger because the authors of the terrorist attack were not yet punished. In front of the altar there was a big and beautiful photo of Cécile smiling.
At his turn, Vincent walked up to the altar to speak. Immediately, he spoke loudly, like a rapper, with the rhythm of his body moving. The assembly was dumbfounded. When he was finished, he received a thunderous applause. The first since the beginning of the celebration.
Cécile was still smiling. We were there for her, for her also this young man who spoke for the first time in a church.