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Three questions…. to Jacques Gaillot




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Three questions…. to Jacques Gaillot

One of the leaders of the people without legal documents in France has recently been killed in a car accident in Africa. You had celebrated a mass for him in Saint-Bernard church in Paris. The people without legal documents squatted in the church for a long time.
Have all these people who where housed in the Maison des Ensembles in Paris finally received their legal documents and has Partenia been very much involved in this process? What is the present situation of people who still don't have legal documents?
Maison des Ensembles Most of those I have known since ten years have received their documents, including those living in Maison des Ensembles. It was a long and tedious struggle, but successful. When we are united, we often win. 

These days, the Law is more repressive in France as well as in countries of the European Union. Still foreigners are coming into our countries, sometimes at the risk of their life. Neither Law, nor the police will be able to prevent them to flee their misery and seek refuge in our wealthy countries.
At present, public opinion is not concerned by people without legal documents. That does not make the task easy for the Associations helping them. However, these people are progressively taking in hand their own problems, they are becoming responsible for their own fate.

espérance des pauvres The leader from Benin, who died in Cotonou after a tragic car accident, is a good example of it. When I knew him, he was without legal documents, I knew him during his trial at the Court, when he was in prison, during all the demonstrations we made together in the streets. He became the speaker for these people; bringing hope to the poor.
The Head of Paris Police paid tribute to him.
The "winter truce" is coming close; a time when people cannot be expulsed from their lodging till springtime. However thousands of homeless people are wandering in the streets of big cities. What do you think about this type of society that is not able to offer a lodging to every body?
Several tens of thousand of people have received a Court decision to leave by force their apartment, through an action enforced by the bailiff or the police. They are thrown into the streets, why? Because they are unable to pay for their lodging. The number of these cases has increased.
expulsion More and more people are in a precarious situation, my thoughts go to these single women with one child with rents becoming more and more expensive. 

The "winter truce" is a good thing but it does not solve the real problem.
A majority of French people are benefiting of good lodging. As long as this majority does not feel unhappy for the distress of this minority, nothing will be done.

We need to build many more houses with low rent. A society unable to respect the most weak of their members will not have peace. 

contruire des logements

Many Associations are dedicated to help those who" have not". The Churches do also. For you what is the text that calls the believers to help those who "have not"?
j'étais un etrangère The word of Jesus cannot be ignored: " I was a foreigner and you have welcomed me" This word is a formidable gift, an ecumenical word for every body. Those who have no legal documents know it and appreciate it. That is the reason why they squat in churches more than any public buildings. 

This African leader who just died was a roman catholic. He was attending mass every Sunday. He could not abandon a foreigner and feel close to Christ.
At his funeral mass, in Saint Bernard church, activists, Union members and people without legal documents were attending. They were offering the image of the Church caring for those that society abandons.
(Interviewed by Olivier Robert)