Lost In Limoges

From the sheep-dotted pastures of France's underpopulated Southwest, Limoges rises in all its grey glory. The city's claim to fame: fine porcelain. The half-timbered houses of the Medieval center are surrounded by strip malls and McDo. Land-hungry Brits descend with flailing pocketbooks (thanks, RyanAir). The weather is remarkably cool year-round. Sure, I live on rue de Nice, but this is NOT the Cote d'Azur. Welcome to Limoges, "the middle of nowhere"-- or as Pierre says "everywhere"-- France.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Protests and the French Revolution

I've always thought of France as all about revolution, bold ideologies, great political movements and philosophies in history. After all, the United States is founded upon the French Enlightenment ideals. Jefferson's Declaration of Independence screams French influence. Thanks to La Fayette, our revolution became a reality and we kicked some imperial British butt. And I've always thought a little revolution is a good thing (take the French student protests in 1968).

But the recent mayhem in the streets was entirely disappointing to me, as I muse on the lofty French ideals of old. Though I don't know all the details of Chirac's piece of labor legislation, it seemed like a desperate (and desperately needed) attempt to fix the dire unemployment situation, and from a business perspective: what businessman in their right mind would employ an individual without the condition that if the employee didn't do their job properly, or embezzled, or slept under their desk, or called long-distance all over the world, they could be fired? To me, the recent student protesters were hardly revolutionary. They were organizing in order to protect the status quo. To protect the bureaucracy. To keep things from changing. And things in France NEED to change; the economy is in big trouble. Chirac is LAME for backing down.


Post a Comment

<< Home