vendredi 8 mai 2009

So long, Fellow Readers!

This is my last post on this blog. And there would have been so much more to say about so much, but time is missing.

This blog thing is really time demanding. When you understand that you have to find the ressources to write your post, summarize, and develop a thought on a subject you might not be that familiar with, one can easily understand that Zoé's, Flo's, Lucie's and my posts were few. But we tried to be as interesting as possible. 

We hope that you appreciated the time with us and that you understand that watching things go worse is actually what we did, but that we also think about how to make things better. In our own way, at our level. 

We would like to thank you for reading. And for posting comments. 

Farewell !

Flo, Zoé, Lucie and Benoît.

You decide who lives or dies.

For once, I will have an optimistic post... 

If you haven't had the opportunity to get your hands on a very good book lately, I would like to recommend you reading Jared Diamond's awesome essay Collapse. How societies chose to fail or succeed. The book is now a few years old but it has recently been published pocket-sized in France. (If anybody has a pocket large enough to fit it in, please let me know...)

By analyzing how former civilisations survived or collapsed facing a major (usually environmental) problem and how actual civilisations chose to react facing the same problems, Diamond delivers a fascinating opus. Really. It is not that often that I get carried away by essays. But this one is dealing with one major issue that I am deeply interested in. Sustainable development.
But not only. There is also a lot of history going on in that book. About some civilisations I had never heard about. 

Diamond analyses every society the book is about through a five factor grid : environmental damages, climate change, conflicts with neighbours, trade relations and answers given by a society facing an environmental issue. 

The book itself is divided into two sections : past societies, whether they survived or not and the measures they took in front of a problem, and nowadays societies, facing an issue.

How can this be an optimistic post?
Because this post is about how, maybe, we could find solutions to the destroying of the earth. I think it is a book to be read. And a book to give to our political leaders. And it is clear. And the examples taken are relevant. 
I already think that we are heading towards a catastrophe, and this book is just a confirmation of what I thought. 

But reading about how societies succeeded in overcoming their problems in the past, gives a little hope. 
If they did it, so can we. 

The world is getting more and more fucked up at the moment. This book is analyse of the mess we're in. And a good start for finding a solution.

samedi 2 mai 2009

How much are you worth?..

One of the most despicable things that's been going on since the human race has been walking on the surface of this planet is human trafficking. 

For those who wouldn't know what that is, here is a quote from the Amnesty International website :

"Trafficking of Persons: Amnesty International Fact Sheet
Trafficking is modern day slave trading. It involves transporting people away from the communities they live in by the threat or use of violence, deception or coercion so they can be exploited as forced or enslaved workers. When children are trafficked, no violence, deception or coercion needs to be involved: simply transporting them into exploitative conditions constitutes trafficking."

(Taken from here)

So as you can see, my fellow readers, human trafficking is no more than slavery, with just a slighter glamorous way of saying it. 

And the one who thinks that we, in the modern occidental countries, are far, far away from human trafficking and that it does not exist in our world, is far, far away from the truth. The fact is that human trafficking is at at our door. I would even say an important part of human trafficking is headed towards our countries. We've got the money, after all. 

Here is how it usually works in most of the cases. 
(For those who wanted to get away from their homeland...)

Take a country, a poor one. Pick a person who already struggles for life in his poor country. How wouldn't that person want to escape from misery and to move to a land where there is plenty of money (even with the crisis going on)?

So that person is becoming desperate to live in such conditions, which is quite normal. And that person thinks of the west world like a world where there are lots of opportunities. The person contacts or is contacted by someone who says he or she can do something for her, let's call that person the smuggler. 
Well, the smuggler promises the smuggled that he or she will be granted a job and a place to stay and that the smuggled will have enough money to support his/her family who stays in the smuggled's homeland. Who wouldn't accept to swap a bad situation with a good one?

Full of hope, the smuggled accepts. And that is when the nightmare begins. In the first place, the smuggled pays a fortune to be sent away (or to send away his/her child) : either the smuggled pays in advance, either he/she accepts to work for the smuggler under what's to be a short time but reveals itself to be an endless time. 
When arrived in the promised land (if the smuggled reaches the land in question... How many die during the travel?..), many are kept emprisoned. He or she can be sold as a piece of meat would be. Or he can work for the smuggler. 

What happens when arrived?

If they are women : they can be sold as slaves to families who exploit them as housekeepers. Living in conditions one wouldn't even want for an animal. Or worse : be forced to prostitution or sexually abused, if sold as sexual objects.
If they are men : they can become illegal workers. In what appears to be a small proportion, be forced to prostitution.
If they are children : become the same thing as adults. Prostitutes, illegal workers, sexual objects. Some are sold to adoptive parents (those might be the lucky ones, you might think. What if you were taken away from your family?..). 

The smuggled is taken away his papers, if he has any. He is considered as nothing more than an object and is denied the most elementary human rights.

Fucked up...

In a way, we are responsible for the situation. We don't do much to stop it. We just close our eyes and think that it doesn't happen in our little western paradise. 
But it is hard to fight something so discreet as human trafficking : the smugglers know how to hide from authorities and the smuggled are afraid to come under the spotlights and get sent back to their homeland, meaning going back to a situation that may be worse the the one they are in now...
Estimations are hard to find and most of them are said to be questionable. A 2006 U.S.  estimation numbered the trafficked between 600,000 and 800,000 (have a look here to read the report).

It may be hard to fight but, yet,  there has to be a solution. Somewhere. Somehow.

vendredi 1 mai 2009

About news, migrants in France and Spain

Well I am in Spain since more than a month now and I wasn't not worried a lot about what was happening in the world since this time... Now that I am better used of living in Spain, I am trying to catch back what I missed. Lucie's post on the "solidarity offence" which is a subject making a big buzz on the web is very interesting. There is a struggle between the minister and associations like Gisti ( support group for migrant workers), the governement says that the "solidarity offence" doesn't exist and is a creation of the GISTI but the fact is that many people have been prosecuted since two decades for feeding, helping, migrants even if they are not identified has "smugglers" or members of a migrant smugglers group which is a criminal action. It's really funny to see how M. Eric BESSON reacts when scenarios are proposed to him and it shows us how hypocritical our governement is in his way of giving informations to us. Associaions which are created to help civil society to have little power in front of political decisions are now qualified as liars even if our governements might be really happy to see them working directly with migrants, I think that associations are today service providers for the State in fields in which he doesn't to invest time and money but today we are facing problems which are contrary to our motto as Lucie said and I am proud to see people fighting against what is happening and saying that our minister is a liar !!

Everything's going so fast in one month the world faced earthquakes, a new law to fight against illegal downloadings:HADOPI, a pandemy warning, no good news about the end of the economical crisis...

In Southern Spain, the situation with migrant workers is not better than in France. For example, I found out why in France we were able to buy strawberries in the middle of February. Guess what in Andalucia, you can find out plenty of greenhouses all over the countryside and who works in greenhouses : migrants of course !! This year many of them were touched by skin or bretahing problems due to the amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used to grow nice strawberries in winter. So I just decide that next year I won't eat strawberries coming from Spain in the middle of winter, not in regard of the pollution created by trucks to transport the fruits but in regard of the migrants who are wasting their skin and lungs in exchange of a little money and still no way of sorting out !!

Well I am now trying to understand what HADOPI law really is and I am going to write and article about it tonight or tomorrow, but this law seems really weird...

mardi 24 mars 2009

A new concept

In this last post, I would like to reflect about the solidarity : in my posts, I wanted to show that illegal immigrants need our help : we are the ones who can help them to change this society only based on repression. And fighting for the rihts of illegal immigrants, we also defend our rights. The poeme I wrote in my last post shows this.
But I discovered that if we dare defending their fight, we risk to be juged, pay a fine (until 18 000 €) and go in jail (until five years).
Our govenment has created the concept of "offence of solidarity" (délit de solidarité).
I want to give you some example :
To protest aigainst the condition of eviction of two Congolese in his flight between Paris and Brazzaville, a men 72 year old has been condamned of 1500 € of fine by le tribunal correctionnel de Bobigny. On the flight, him and others passagers heared some cry and realize there are some illegal immigrants on the same flight. This man, André Barthélémy who is a member of the Commission consultative des droits de l'Homme sayed : "It's a shame, you don't respect the human rights". He has proded to others passagers to act like him and protest against the conditions of this eviction.
During his trial he sayed that he wasn't put back into question the eviction but the conditions which they succeed in.
An other example :
A voluntary of les restos du coeur has been arrested because she was helping illegal immigrants giving them clothes and something to eat.
This offense of solidarity wants to dishearten people helping others human beings.
Authorities seems forget that illegal immigrants are human beings.
These people want to live in Europe (in France or in UK) because in their country there is a war.
But our european country who make the war in Afganistan don't want to help people who flee this war.
Also, when illegal immigrants succeed coming in France, french governement refuses to receive them and refuses to let them living the country to go in UK (this country doesn't want them also). Countries as France and England collaborate to evitate illegal immigrants arrive in England.
So these people are gived up by authorities. They survive as they can. French people considerate that it's not possible to let them in this conditions of life. They help them but the governement punish them for doing that.
I don't understant what the government wants. I don't understant what french citizens can do.
Fortunatly, Some people believe in the motto of our republic and in the third word : fraternité.
To fight for acts of fraternity, le groupe socialiste radical et citoyen decided to suggest a law who wants to decriminalize all forms of help towards illegal immigrants who are in an extrem situation of distress.
But this law has as project to fight against ferrymen who harass illegal immigrants and profit of their misery to make them pay for anything : they make them believe they will give them their help but it's not true.
This law suggests to protect human dignity.
I don't know if this law has been accepted or not, they decided to create it in March 2009.
To be continued... by yourself!

lundi 16 mars 2009

In Europe

I would like to talk about the situation of "sans-papiers" in others countries.
I know what it's happening today in Italy. This country is becoming always more strict with immigrate people. We can take the interest in the law created by Silvio Berlusconi about illegal immigrantes in Italy.
This law wants italian doctors to denounce illegal immigrates who need to be cared : they have to report them to autorities.
The consequence of this, is that doctors are giving up Hippocratic Oath.
We can note that the government is ready to control the population forcing doctors denouce them.
The problem is that illegal immigrates will not desappear from the country! But they will not go to hospital to be cared when they will be ill.
So, the government is becoming a killer preventing illegal people caring themselves. Lot of illness would not be cared and they would propagate them in the population.
Doctors do not agree with this law : "If a doctor denounce an illegal person, he respects the law but he infringes the deontological code and the article 42 of the Constitution, but if he doesn't denounce, he conforms to every norms." told a doctor.
We understand that this law is going against the human rights like lots of others french laws. And if we don't want these law to be applied, we have to fight them showing we will not obey the governement.
That's what italian doctors are doing and I think all citizens should do that.

But this law is making me worring : today, we can note a tendency of repression from governments who are making an immigrates hunting. If we accept this, we accept a decrease of human rights. And when we would like to protest, we would not have the rights to do it.

this poem written by the pastor Martin Niemoller illustrates this very well :

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

jeudi 12 mars 2009

A wolf in a sheep's clothing...

This new fucked up post will deal with the newest trend in media in France.

Progressively, we are shifting towards the taking over of the public French media by our dearest president. Consecutively to the application of a decision of the CSA (Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, Superior TV and Radio Coucil) we have now to face an overrepresentation of our government, and rightwing-majority, in the media.

By that I mean that since the beginning of February, all of the French radio and TV media have to report the time they give antenna to politicians, whichever political orientation they come from. It was already a reality for TV since quite a long time, but the radio wasn't obliged to do it until February.

That wouldn't be a problem to me if the way the time was shared between either the right-wing party and the left-wing party politicians wasn't a little fucked up.
Concretely, the time share goes like this :
  • one third goes to the government ;
  • one third goes to the majority (for those who wouldn't know, the UMP, our president's majority) ;
  • one third goes to the opposition ;
  • the time dedicated to our president's speeches on TV and radio is not taken in account in all this.
This decision was the reason why public radio was on strike in the beginning of February.

In the same line, it is now a reality that the presidents of public TV an Radio will be chosen by the government, their nomination and their carrier at the head of public TV and radio are in the hands of the government.

It sounds a little like the freedom of press is beginning to endangered. We can easily imagine that because the president of public TV and radio would not stand in the line of the majority, she/he could be asked to give her/his resignation.

I don't know for you, but the situation looks a little familiar to me. Not far from France (in fact you just have to cross the Alps) there is nearly the same situation : a council president better known for his dubious sense of humour, is the owner of the major TV channels in his country...

I wonder how long it will take before, we go down the same path as our neighbours.