Log-book: June 2004

  Fighting women One hundred years to celebrate
  A film on the Gypsies  At the Syrian Embassy
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 




The Bible

Special Edition

Fighting women

reclamer au logement For the first time, I saw a group of women on a hunger strike: 42 African women had taken this serious decision, by occupying an empty and ramshackle building. On many occasions they had asked for decent housing. In vain. Today, they have nothing to lose and they are ready to fight to the bitter end. 

On the 16th day of the hunger strike, they are now on the street with their children, lying on mattresses.
I find them exhausted, humiliated, but always showing their determination. This sight is unbearable. I am ashamed of my country. How can our society tolerate such a situation?

grève de la faim

I venture giving them a word of hope, because this situation is a dead end. The solution is not in expulsion but in negotiation.
Three women are spokesmen for the group, but can hardly stand up! Fortunately, around this rebellious group, there is a large support.
We formed a delegation and went to the City Hall. The Prefect in person greeted us at the Prefecture. A providential surprise awaited us: a solution had been found. A commitment was made to find housing for all the families.






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One hundred years to celebrate
100 ans Humanité 1904-2004: is the centenary of the foundation by Jaurès of the communist newspaper "The Humanity". 
This newspaper has been the echo of the extraordinary rumble of the century. This newspaper has helped so many men and women in their fights for justice and peace.
The large conference room in La Villette can accommodate 5000 guests coming from every region of France. Being invited to this event I was placed next to the Secretary General of the Communist Party and an ex minister.

l'atmosphère est bon The atmosphere is friendly. Every face is filled with joy.

It is a feast of Fraternity. I keep on shaking hands and signing the special edition of "The Humanity" wherein people from different backgrounds express themselves.
 We hear many speeches during the meal. Eventually it is my turn to go to the microphone. I recall Jaurès and his dream of equality for all. Tomorrow has to be built. We are responsible for the future.

I left these very happy people while the festivities continued late into the night. When life is filled with hardship, it is important to know how to feast.



A film on the Gypsies

les Roms For me, this film is a beautiful film and it is a very moving one. In it I see faces that I know, caravans where I was welcomed and these abandoned places where few people dare to go.

Congratulations to the two young people that made this film in the context of their job. The Gypsies speak with humanity about their daily life, about their insecurity. They would like so much to live like everyone else! They struggle on so that their children can go to school, speak French, have a future.

But threats of expulsion become more and more precise. The mayor, the parish priest, the school principal, militants from groups, show solidarity with them. In this cruel night of waiting, they are there with them.
Suddenly, the police cars pierce the silence. There is a scramble, cries and tears. The families are thrown in the cars without knowing where they are being brought. It is a raid.

menace d'expulsion

During the day, a crane will come to destroy one after the other the caravans and their content. These pictures are hard to look at. 

respect les plus faibles The Gypsies are the outcasts of Europe.
At a time where Europe is growing with the addition of ten new countries, the expulsion of the Gypsies questions us: how can we build this Europe if there is no respect for the weakest and if the minorities cannot exercise their rights?




At the Syrian Embassy

Aide par l'Amnesty International Aktham Naisse is a Syrian lawyer, 53 years old, well known by International Amnesty. He is chairman of the Defence Committee for Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria. He was arrested as he was appearing before the committee of military security in the city of "Lattakié". 

Aktam Naisse had already been imprisoned in 1991 and 1998 after taking a stand to support a State of right in his country. At the time, I gave my support to this tireless militant always beavering away. He personifies in my eyes the force of the weak. He who is not afraid in front of the government officials.
While he was in custody recently, Aktham could have had a cerebral attack which left him partially paralysed.

I found myself in various organizations for the defence of human rights defending him as well as other political prisoners in Syria. 

droits de l'Homme

The police forbade us to approach the embassy and no delegation was admitted. But there were a few newspaper reporters and particularly the Al-Jazira television station, well listened in the Arab countries.