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Annie Mathieu July 3, 2012
CAPTION: Thomas Prédour is one of the two Belgians who, called by the student conflict, distributed red squares at the International forum for the French language (Forum mondial de la langue française). Photo: LE SOLEIL, ERICK LABBÉ
(Québec) In addition to wearing it, two members of the Belgian delegation to the International forum for the French language undertook the distribution of the felted red square, the symbol of the student struggle in the province, to the delegates participating in the event. The young residents of Brussels also want to show their solidarity with Quebeckers “in a peaceful manner”.
Aged 30 and 32 respectively, Thomas Prédour and Mathias Bressan were called to by the student conflict and the echoes that they had in their country. But it’s when they met the spokesperson for the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec, Éliane Laberge, on Monday that they had the idea of pinning a red square to their clothing and to have them distributed.
In the middle of the day, they got their hands on a hundred or so fabric ends thanks to a student who provided them with it. They then hurried to offer them to the delegates they had met on the first day of the event. The duo even offered one to the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, who did not accept it, confirming that he would meet the members of the student association on Tuesday in any case.
“Abdou Diour [secretary general of the Francophonie] said to the youth “jostle us, surprise us”, so that’s what we did”, said Mr. Prédour, director a cultural center in the Belgian capital.
“At home, education costs us almost nothing”, he explained, adding that he deplored the decision of Jean Charest’s government to increase the tuition fees in the province in addition to the adoption of a law that restrains the right to protest.
The Belgians are worried by the “U-turn” adopted by the province, which, according to them, models itself after the United States. They also make a parallel with the International forum on the French language, while several denounce the tendency of francophone countries to anglicize themselves. “It’s the anglosaxonisation of your education”, he illustrated. Author, composer, interpreter, Mathias Bressan fears that the decision to raise tuition fees in Quebec will have a “snowball effect” in Europe.
“The governments could say ‘look, they did it over there’ “, he illustrated, adding the liberalization of education is also an overseas combat.
At the end of the evening, Thomas Prédour and Mathias Bressan said they had given red squares notably to youth from France, Japan, Venezuela, Morocco, Columbia and Chile. They don’t foresee stopping there since they say that they will continue the distribution throughout the week.
Little boost to the student cause?
When she was met at the place de l’Université-du-Québec during the protest parallel to the Forum for the French language organized by Mouvement Québec Français, the president of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec, Éliane Laberge, said she hopes that the visibility of the red square during the event gives a little boost to the student cause on the international level.
By the act itself, her planned meeting with the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, should, according to her, allow bringing new light on the student movement. “It’s simply carrying our voices internationally as much as possible […]. We don’t have control over what comes out internationally, in the media, etc., so maybe it’s to set the record straight on what has happened in the last few months in Quebec”, she mentioned to explain what she and the president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, Martine Desjardins, will talk about with Mr. Delanoë.
With Marie-Pier Duplessis
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.