Log-book: April 2005
A doctor on hunger strike The end of the winter truce Cancelled demonstration Make way to the handicapped
A doctor on hunger strike
Michele d'Auria, doctor of the homeless, has begun a hunger strike on the premises of the Right to Housing Association (Droit au logement) in Paris in order to be reinstated on the list of the official French Medical Association . He is Italian and 48 years old.
Victim of a miscarriage of justice in Italy, he sought refuge in France where he practised medicine for 10 years under an assumed name. That is the reason he is blamed by the French Medical Association who has lodged a complaint against him for illegal practise of medicine, false and forged documents.
The French Justice has found no grounds for the complaints of the French Medical Association and Doctor Auria was completely discharged of any complaint.
Despite this judicial decision, the French Medical Association maintains its decision not to reinstate him on the list of doctors, that prevents Michele Auria from practising medicine.
Considering this deadlock situation, he has decided to go on hunger strike. A press conference was held next to him. Abbé Pierre was present. Michele was his doctor and he said to him: « In the past, you are the one that came to treat me. Today, I am the one to treat you! ».
I have known Michele for many years,. He is my friend.
He spared no efforts to treat people having no official documents and especially those who were on hunger strike who had sought refuge in the Church Saint-Bernard. Today, we are penalizing poor people by depriving them of a doctor.
The days pass. The French Medical Association is inflexible, but Michele keeps his good spirits.
The end of the winter truce
Every year at the same time, a demonstration is being organized to stop expulsions without rehousing at the Place de la République in Paris. Because after March 15th, thousands of families are threatened with expulsion.
A good time for me to see again people with no official papers, men and women who are militants in organizations. They keep the road and continue fighting. We form a large family. I take pleasure in looking at tomtom players working like a dog.
In 2003, the Prefets (district administrator) have authorized the expulsion of 21 500 familles of which 14 800 on Ile de France. The expulsions without rehousing went massively in 2004. Expulsion judgements, around 100 000 per year, are pronounced like on a production line with no consideration for families in a very precarious situation.
Homes and hotels are full. The merchants of lodging make a fortune. More and more people and families stay with relatives and friends.
Fortunately, fights are on the increase and inhabitants get organized, like the « 1000 from Cachan », who refuse to be expulsed from a vacant building where they were living. They are in the demonstration holding with pride a large banner, a sign of their determination.
There are victories.
Families pass from a precarious situation and a slum to housing. Collective action, solidarity and determination can bend officials however powerful they may be.
Under the pressure of the mullahs, the French government has forbidden a peaceful demonstration that was to be held in Paris. The demonstration was supported by 60 associations and 250 members of Parliament and key political personalities of Europe. Iranians from different countries were expected. This perfectly legal demonstration called for a democratic change in Iran.
Berlin, just like Paris, gave to pressures from Teheran. The large gathering of 40,000 Iranians was banned. A sad day for democracy and liberty of expression!
Luckily, justice prevailed over bargaining and economic interests. A court from Berlin found the ban illegal. It was the victory of justice over the reasons of state.
A press conference was held in Paris on the ban to demonstrate. I was pleased to be next to Louis Richard Lumumba, brother of the former prime minister of the Congo who was savagely assassinated.
All of us were protesting against the violation of the right to demonstrate and especially the leniency of the French government who is sacrifying principles of democracy to economic interests. We do not bargain for human rights.
Make way to the handicapped
There was an evening at the Convention centre of Paris of prize given to people devoted to social reinsertion of the handicapped.
The large hall was filled with personalities.
On the screens, there were examples of initiatives taken by municipalities, schools and companies who have made efforts for a better social reinsertion of the handicapped. The handicapped also spoke. Differences were put together that become a source of richness.
These accomplishments were well met by the people who heartily applaud.
Considering these accomplishments I called to change my attitude towards the handicapped.
It is not enough to give way to them. It is without question that they have their place, all their part in our society, in their own way. It is not enough to help them, but to learn from them. Society has a long way to go until the handicapped are considered full citizens!
But at the Convention centre, it is their celebration. The future is open to them.