Yesterday, Sunday, April 21 opponents of gay marriage marched from Denfert-Rochereau to Invalides because tomorrow the formal vote of the bill is supposed open the right for marriage and child-adoption for same-sex couples.
Two kilometers away, a gathering of supporters of the pro marriage law, "for equality, against Homophobia", was organized Place de la Bastille.
The "modern" society is often reminded of the words of Italian author Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa, who stated, “If we want everything to remain as it is, it will be necessary for everything to change.” So what about the things we wish to stay the same? 10 year ago it was already clearly visible that neo-"liberalism" was on a straight path in the neo-"conservatism". To whom this development comes as a surprise today does not know the weaknesses of liberalism.
As if there were not more immediate and pressing answers to questions regarding our future there is a juggling around with cliches of "ultra-right" and "left-progressive" as if the legal guarantee to same-sex marriages are the direct path into paradise. The high divorce rate among traditional marriages is speaking for itself. No, I can pull the wool over my eyes all on my own..., this whole topic is a single maneuver of distraction!
According to the prefecture de Police of Paris, 45,000 people attended the demonstration while the organizers of "for AKI" are claiming 270,000 people attended. If think think of a number in between these two figures you will surely not be wrong.
Hollande and the Minister of Justice can go through with their seemingly "progressive" bill and thus incur both the displeasure of the majority of the French people or the government must have a plausible argument for a shift of the bill.
If nothing happens, which is not uncommon, inevitably a large number of "citizens-in-anger" may surface, - only making a "blond angel of revenge of little people" very happy. Hollande's popularity has given way to a certain disillusionment during the recent months and demands for a referendum on the bill is likely.
get pictures here...
This is a part of my series "Paris Below" and is particularly about immigrants from Romania. Way back, years ago, in Kosovo I've documented the persecution of Roma and Askahli by KLA under the loose watch of KFOR, UNHCR and OSCE. In appreciation for their Ethnic Cleansing operation Albanian Kosovars received recognition as an independent state. History will show which favor the West has done for itself. However, this minority is well known to me since I have seen Rom and Askahli fleeing in droves from this NATO "liberated" Serbian province to Montenegro from where they begun their odyssey by crossing the Adriatic sea to Italy on speedboats provided by the brother of a former politician for fee as much as 10.000 US$.
Today in Paris, but also in other French big cities again increasingly widespread slums are built up. Slums are collections of dwellings without any supply of water and electricity, where people are left without medical care. The problem is not new to French authorities and known at least since the 1960s as Spaniards, Portuguese and other people came to France for work.
Children never see any school from the inside. If they are lucky they are not forced to pick-pocket, to beg, or worse. It has nothing to do with tolerance when thousands of people are being neglected and denied their rights as EC citizens. But it seems clearly an attempt to create a situation that is becoming unbearable for the public to watch. Often it is then just a question of time when to come with populist measures like bulldozing these illegal slums and claiming they are a health hazards. The slums are torn into rubble and the next day somewhere else a slum is a work in progress, nothing more is happened. Do national politics only know one law: not thinking about what a particular policy is causing, but how it works. Positions are not related to any conviction or substantive reasons, but to collect percentage points in the next polls...
Asking the question why all these slums are always so close to major construction sites is not the agenda. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that their existence is rather "practical". If there are certain linkages between French construction companies and gangs providing "willing to work migrants" would also only be answered if there is a will to find out. Till yet the strategy with recruiting cheap labor force has proved its worth in the past: There's system behind migration and the sad result for people used is, once the work is done they are not longer needed talking heads begin again their chorus about "economic migrants".
I found all those beautiful brand new luxury trucks with Romanian registration plates on the building sites so beautiful. It is so handy that the work sites are in close vicinity to the slums. This is also very practical because these many moonlighter are not visible for common public in public transports on their way to work. Surly the most convenient fact is that some migrants work for little more than 3 euros per hour, - which is about 5 euros below the legal minimum wage in France.
Some of these low-wage workers are standing all day long next to dust polluting machines, or they are up to their knees in mud. The good thing is, the sites are, however, from a hygienic point of view better than the slums because they even have luxury chemical toilets. In the slums its a "outhouse" that is not being connected to the sewage system. In some of these slums up to 100 families are sharing such toilet. These slums in Paris are looking like the slums in the home countries of migrants from Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania, - the only exception is in Paris they can make a living. With their well know charm Parisians are saying societies in East-Europe are racist..., which of course does make the slums in Paris more pretty.
I had talked a lot with people in a larger slum. Some of the photos are blurred in order not to disclose the identity of people. The people from Eastern Europe are very friendly, while Rom of Spanish origin are really kind aggressive. Interestingly Spanish Rom are not accepted with the East-European Rom as they don't want to have anybody in their quarter who has problems with authorities. The Spanish Rom will be a serious time-bomb. It will come to violence when it is coming to dissolution’s of slums by the CRS. There are signs that Spanish Rome will accept even physical sacrifices in order to appear as a victim of police violence. The Spaniards do not live in huts but in old vans with Spanish license plates near the slums so they can drive away in case a raid is coming up.
Some Romanian Rom told me they had been lured with promises for work and huge income but now they must pay even rent for the junk cabins, huts to their country men. So human trafficking is on the plate.
It would not surprise me if the recent shootings on 4 construction workers on construction sites does not have anything to do with this whole wage- and labor damping... that is angering the neighboring population which is mainly of North African origin. They are hopelessly undercut by low demands the Rom are asking for their work performance. On top of that, the now unemployed North Africans also have to pay high Parisian rents as they have at least managed to come a little bit to terms with this strange life in French parallel society. So the North Africans would not tear a weep for the Rom when they are affected by any eviction action of the police.
Ultimately it's also about money laundering because the one question that bothers me most: Why, in this large economic crisis Europe is enduring and which will mature for France in this years fall, why so much office space in St Denis is being built? Office space is not needed in Paris. Everywhere in Paris, hundreds of thousands of square feet are unused standing empty because the rents are adjacent to the absurd because they are not accustomed to today's businesses needs. Besides this is the legendary St Denis district known for its massive riots in 2005 when the impetuous Mr. President wanted the entire district cleaned up with a "Krächer", a steam jet. Which company want to have its office in such place, far away from the center?
Roma, "travelers", are Europe's largest minority, counting for approximately 20 million people. Not recognized because their "integration" is still on top of each agenda they are even worse off then African Americans who managed to establish a middle-class. The Reality is that the bureaucracy in Brussels is pushing in its search for an easy solution all integration efforts to the Council of Europe. Thats it then. Not surprisingly the Council of Europe has hired some "experts". From all the aid the EU handed out to help to integrate Rom in Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro not more then 25 % was really reaching those in need. If there is not serious pressure being made on the governments of these countries the issue will become another nail into the coffin of the European Union.
a small selection of pics you can find here...
As we all know, times are changing and are getting more though. From today on and during the next days here in Paris is now another rudiment of the "Belle Époque" coming under the hammer.
The Hotel "Crillion" saw in earlier times worse things happened, e.g. the ill-fated Queen Marie Antoinette as she first took her music lessons on its first floor and then to be guillotined years later in the shadow of the palace's grand neoclassical facade.
From April 18 to 22 everything what is was nutted and nailed down will be auctioned: all of kind of luxury plush, from sofas, couches, beds and other furniture up to rare wine and liquor, carpets and curtains will be auctioned. All together with room facilities including complete bathrooms decorated in marble, - a total of 3500 objects from the inventory of the luxury hotel "Crillon".
At the World Expo 1907 in Paris the blue blooded royal offspring was running out of cash and the owners turned the former palace near the Louvre and jardin des Tuileries at La place de la Concorde into a profane tourist hotel. It was designed as a luxury guest house and was finally put into operation in 1909.
At this time Paris felt itself as the belly button of the planet. It was still a world city and was attracting all possible sort of aristocrats and the "newly rich", the industrialists who wanted to treat themselves with an easy life in "chic" Paris. Most of what is now coming under the hammer is plush from this period.
After the liberation from Nazi Germans by allied forces it was for a while General Eisenhower's Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces and his diplomats enjoyed this specious place to rearrange Europe's postwar landscape.
Then, in their tracks, came the actors, starlets and other useful contemporaries to bring the American culture close to war troubled Europeans.
At the auctions buyers seeking to recreate a little bit of the hotel belle epoch flair in their homes can even stock up on reception counters, staff uniforms and bathrobes. The revenues that are won through the auctions of full suites of furniture are expected to raise hundreds of thousands of euros and will fund the necessary modernization to bring the hotel up to date. The modernization will take part until 2015.
For photos of bargain hunter visiting Hotel Crillon click here
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