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Pierre Foglia May 28, 2012
When you throw stones, it reassures them, they say, look, we have to pass special laws.
But when you play the pots and pans, they are afraid.
There’s this friend and colleague from Rosemont, not particularly against the tuition increase, who went out and joined 2000 people on the corner of his street with his 4 year-old little girl and his two-and-a-half year-old son, bang, bang the casserole (saucepan). There’s this girl on the front page of Le Devoir Friday morning, the one with the frying pan in her hand, wait, but I know her! Hi Christine! Me who knows no one, if I start to recognize people on the front page of Devoir, it’s because everyone is in the street or will be there soon.
I called one of my two granddaughters, grand-papa, I don’t have time to talk, we’re going out to play our casseroles on the corner of the street.
Wait for me, I’m coming.
Maisonneuve, brave Mr. Maisonneuve, was worried midday Friday: yes, but if all these protests are going to disturb the festivals, our dear festivals?
I would understand the chamber of commerce worrying about the international conference of denturists, but Jazz Fest, good grief, jazz that isn’t exactly chamber music of commerce, jazz couldn’t make the best of a concert of casseroles?
Yes, but the tourists? What about the tourists? First of all, what the hell do they come to do in Montréal? There’s nothing to see. So then they go to Québec, it’s full of things for tourists. It’s easy, to see things, they go to Québec, to see people, they find themselves an old casserole and stay in Montréal.
Don’t believe the cops or the politicians when they denounce the violence of the rioters. It justifies their own, it justifies their appalling paternalism, it justifies them doing what they do best in life: keeping order. The anarchists? The violent protesters? Are infiltrated to the core. On file. Don’t believe the politicians when they say they don’t want to prevent the nice students and the honest citizens from protesting. That’s exactly what they want to do.
The violence that they really fear is this, in our households, of the casseroles.
At the beginning, three months ago, I was indifferent to the store of tuition hikes. Then I fell in love with the three student leaders, above all the girl, then there was smoke in the metro and Victoriaville, the discourse on violence that pissed me off so much because it was so much a matter of power. And now see the improvement, the casseroles.
Dear, do we have any old casseroles?
We only have old casseroles.
But one that we can bang on?
In a recent column, I told you to reread Orwell’s 1984. I didn’t expect you to do it, I know you, go on, you prefer to read my newspaper’s editorial and hit the roof, where you send me an irate email; I’ve read your column for 30 years, I don’t read you anymore, I am unsubscribing from your crappy newspaper, lashing out a little to finish: any way, you too, you’re becoming dull.
That may be. What troubles me, however, is that the other day I wrote one of the harshest and most desperate columns of my life and you were numerous in writing to me: are you disconnected to the point that, in these troubled times, you talk to us about your cats?
My cats? I reread myself: you are right. There I speak of my cats in the first paragraph. I congratulate you on making it that far.
What is freakier in 1984 is that the luminary book written towards the end of the 40’s by a member of the right to denounce the socialism being born in England (and triumphing in the USSR), what is freaky, is that today, this book seems to have been written by a member of the left to denounce the current system.
In 1984, books are more or less forbidden. Today the problem is controlled, it’s not worth banning them: people don’t really want to read, anyway, they know how to read less and less, even the newspaper.
The other day there was a young artist in my newspaper, I don’t remember anymore in what field, he had to sing, our maybe do practical jokes, anyway, a chubby little baby face, mid-twenties, question from my colleague: in which book would you like to live? Response: I’m not very bookish, the first that I read, that was in primary school… it’s also one of the last. I’m so much in my bubble that, in terms of books, I’m more or less good.
He is 24, he has read one book. And it’s the same elsewhere. Jean Daniel, columnist for Nouvel Obs, tells of meeting an aspiring journalist who told him about her passion for Chile…
Do you know Pablo Neruda?
No, answered the girl.
And Gabriela Mistral (also a Nobel Prize winner like Neruda)?
Him neither. But what does that matter? She defended.
It’s very simple, the soul of the people is only described by writers.
Amir sent me a poem, read this, he told me, her name is Ouanessa Younsi, Quebecker of Algerian origin, a very young psychiatrist… in passing, I remind you that I live a 20 minute walk from La Presse, we won’t talk about your bosses, I promise, but allow me to tell you that they are very on edge these days. That has to be because of the agitation of the world. Agitation! What a beautiful word. Don’t you think?
Yes, Amir, I do.
Extract from the psychiatrist’s poem:
We walk knowing, however, that our posters, our slogans, won’t change the world and that disappoints us. We walk in spite of it all and kilometers of shore move toward us… the street is a river and we are overflowing… We come back from a lot. We come back from long ago. (Nous marchons sachant pourtant que nos affiches, nos slogans, ne changeront pas le monde et cela nous déçoit. Nous marchons malgré tout et des kilomètres de rivages avancent vers nous… la rue est une rivière et nous débordons… Nous revenons de beaucoup. Nous revenons de longtemps.)
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.