Les Nouveaux NegriersApril 7, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Posted in spectacle, vie quotidienne | 2 Comments
Tags: confusion, manifestation, paris, propaganda, protest, RESF
This was the scene outside my window Saturday:
Good thing I didn’t have any big plans that day…
Ooh, flares! Pretty.
If that guy would be so kind as to move out of the way, you could see they’ve written “RESF = Nouveaux Negriers” (RESF = New Slavers) on my street. Not having any idea what this could possibly mean, I did a little research. RESF, apparently, is the Réseau Éducation Sans Frontières, itself a newspeak kind of term for a policy intended to allow children to remain in France even if their parents are being deported.
It’s pretty educational to check out RESF’s website, compare it to its Wikipedia page, and then again with the protestors outside my window. The website makes it look as if RESF is protesting a horrible government policy. The wikipedia page, on the other hand, makes it seem as if the RESF is working with the government. The protestors, meanwhile, are comparing the principles of the RESF to the atrocities of the slave trade. So… wait. This counter-government group outside my window is actually protesting another counter-government group? Now I’m confused.
It just goes to show how challenging it can be to make sense of politics in another language. In English, I’m well-practiced at disassembling the rhetoric of both sides to find the real issue underneath. In French, I still often feel bewildered.
(A propos: please feel free to jump in and clarify the details of this conflict, if you understand it better than I do — I had to wade through a lot of propaganda, which is the hardest kind of French for me to read.)
My better informed sister has this to add:
I think the Negriers comment was written ahead of time by right-wing, anti-immigrant folks, trying to speak against the RESF parade. Here are some sites that indicate the right is not happy about the pro-immigrant RESF. The RESF are “slavers”, in that they encourage immigrants, who then serve as cheap labor to undercut “real” French workers.
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