Remember, Remember, the 13th of November
Hey Friend, been a long time. Usually this would be a conversation I have with you over an instant messaging media. We would argue, because I need to confront my views, and you'll help me to step back a little bit and try to force me to take care of me.
This conversation would probably splitted across several media and people, because this is how I function, in weird ways and without focus.
On the 13th of November, coming back from le Louvres to Saint Denis - where I live - you sent me a SMS asking me if I was safe. I did heard a loud noise from the Stade de France when I was heading out the subway to my home, but since there was a match I just flagged it as "weird noise made by sports fan". I didn't understood why I received this text.
Then, once home. I started a web browser. After receiving half a dozen a tweet of various instance of you, I reassured you by posting that I was home and safe on twitter. And then, with my room-mate and coworker we just thin about the huge amount of work that we would have to do on Monday - and even before that.
I told you, I work in strange ways. I wasn't emotionally affected by the death of 300 people. It's random and I knew no one there. The shooting happened in places I can happen to go, but it's as random as a plane crash (and in fact there's a higher probability to be killed in a plane crash than being hit in a terrorist event).
I checked upon friends (or waited for news)(yeah, I suck at maintaining friendship, I think you're kind of aware of that now) to be sure everyone was mostly safe. And then I waited for the political disaster that will ensure. Until the next Monday I really hoped that our politicians would do something clever, like calling for respect and fraternity and unity.
You called me naïve, but if I'm not that naïve, then I turn cynical. I tried very hard to shut down my inner voices warning me of what would come next. And since you told me that being cynical might hurt you, I try to avoid that. Also it's better for my moral and my depression.
And then our Beloved Socialist President of the Republican Democratic Palpatine ordered the Senate to vote the martial law … Mmm, no, I'm on the wrong movie here. It was the talk of Mr. Hollande in front of the congress - higher and lower chamber gathered at Versailles - when he asserted that we were at war. And that we need to form an alliance with Putin and Assad to fight ISIS. And that we need to extend and modify the State of Emergency, and the Constitution.
This is where I broke up. Syria is still a hard political subject for me. You know that since I talk a lot about it. You even asked me to get diagnosed because I might have some sort of trauma. SO, yes, this is where my emotions finally set me adrift.
What people call emotion wave or surge are - in my case - chaotic tsunamis destroying anything that might be related to reason. That's my poison. That's what will kill me in the end. You're important there, in the fact that you help me resurface in those situation and kind of freeze the emotional disaster.
We talked about it. I see no hope in our current situation. Warrant-less search and warrant-less house arrest; total stop of support of any kind toward the refugees - who already had a hard time; suspension of the right to protest and, more generally, confiscation of the political debate by the politicians - Mr. Valls said that he won't accept any discussion about the incidence of social or economic factor on terrorism; those are what we live on now.
I mean, I'm used to see army in the street of Paris. In fact, I never knew them without troops - the bombing attack of 1995 happened at a time I wasn't that much in Paris and since then troops are always in the street. But now, their in battle suit, helmet and bullet proof vests, way to much weapon for my sanity, etc.
Cops did change also. They weren't on a short leash before, but now they're out for blood and revenge. Usually, even on the few forbidden protests I was at, there's always a way to get out if you ask nicely, they will let you go without hustle - they're basically filtering you to be sure you won't sucker punch them, but in the end you can escape before they arrest everyone. But on the 28th of November, there wasn't such a thing like a possible escape. They wanted to fight.
There was a public announce that unemployment was on the raise just before the COP21. And nothing in the government deemed important to say anything about it. I mean, they're supposed to be socialists for fuck sake. They should at least says that they will work on a new way to count unemployed people, or that they will do something about it. But they only speaks about security. Mr Valls eve stating that "Security if the first of liberty" which, ironically, is a quote made by JM. Le Pen as a slogan for it's presidential elections back in the eighties.
We have a socialist prime minister, defending a security only program, based on pricniple established by the far right movement.
That's about the state of our politics in France. But don't get me wrong, The FN is a bit worse than he PS in that he will actually do what they said they're gonna do, and they plan to cut funding for planed parenthood (which depends largely on regional funding), and other nice stuff.
Politicians wants me to vote to block the National Front, in a national movement aganst fascism. But I won't. I do not see the point on voting for a lack of response to social issues, just for the sake of protecting us against fascism. Politicians who enabled the police state, who are asking for a republican merge, who are saying that young people in teh suburb should cultivate themselves, who plans to bomb people in collaboration with Turkish, Russian and Syrian - all extremely democratic - governments, who reduce democratic life to vote, who won't do a thing about the unemployment, wants my vote to oppose fascism?
You see my dearest friend, you asked me to look on the bright side. But it's more than hard to do that. You told me that bitterness is like Beaujolais Nouveau. You can drink a bit of it, it can even be good - and I disagree on Beaujolais Nouveau being a good wine ever - but too much and it will kills you. Or hurt you.
I don't know.
I work at La Quadrature du Net now. And I really try to avoid the repetitive self destruct pattern that leads me to chain burn out. Me or other staffers. Or you.
During the attacks on the 13th of November, I focused on the solidarity part of it. That's what I'm trying to do. That's why I keep informed on the Syrian situation by following the White Helmets.
But there's something that is absent of our political life in France. We have traditional organisations who covers for themselves without caring about anything else than their way to power: syndicates, political parties. We do have old style NGO, advocating nd lobbying behind the scenes. We have radical groups who are busy fighting cops. But we do not have orgs who works on party. Militantism in France is a serious business. And if you're not working yourself to death you're doing it wrong. ANd you end up without anyone willing to take up the fight, to think on long term strategies, to federate smaller groups who exhausts themselves beyond repair.
And I hear you. I need to focus on the positive sides. So that's what I'm trying to do. There's some good stuff happening. LQDN is finally having a nice and more inclusive community - there's a lot of effort to do, but it's in progress. I'm working there to build tools to bother our deputies - piphone and similar stuff, provide tools to flatten the democratic process. Or at least to help the circulation of information.
And that's my target. You said me that we're in for a long fight. I'm not even sure we can win this fight, and the nihilistic part of me keep thinking that it's useless. But since I try to not killing myself, I need something. If I can bother an intelligence officer, a head of office somewhere, deputies or senators, ministers or head of state that's a win.
If, when they see us, in the press, or elsewhere, or when they hear about us those people think "Oh no … not them again … my day is now ruined" then, it's a win. It won't makes them stop doing shit, but at least, I'll smile when thinking about all the pain they'll get.
And in the meantime, we should try harder working with other small organisation specialised in other aspect of the fight. There's a lot to do with queers, feminists, ant antiracist groups. And I really think that's where I can help - beyond the purely technical point.
So, you see, I'm trying to stop sipping the bitterness part of things. It's hard 'cause I've turned cynical/realist. And because I love the bitterness. But you're right. I should stop drinking it.
I'm happy you're here. Because at least I can talk to you. And there's here also. This post is fucked up, and makes no sense. But I think it's a bit like what's the political life looks like. Socialist calling voters to vote for traditionalists.
It's fucked up. But I'm gonna ignore that, because it's useless and I can't spend any more energy on that. I'll focus on building things.
Thanks for still being here.