Thursday, 8 November 2007

striking and anarchy and dancing cats, oh my!

I wanted to write about Suzanne and how she's speaking more and more French but also start to string words together and make little sentences that those who know her language understand. And how the past couple days she's been asking for "eon do" which means dancing cats which means the Aristocats' song. And how she says "oisson" for fish (poisson) and is obsessed with buses and I'm so excited for her to play with my friends' little ones in NJ and that she's going to have her first real Thanksgiving with part of my family. And I'm hoping 12 days in the US will reinforce her English more because she's speaking a little too much French for my liking.

But then I wanted to bitch and moan about the French and their national pastime of striking. And how before they strike, they have to notify the public and that there is supposed to be a rail strike starting next Tuesday and since I fly out on Thursday and my first leg of the trip is by train, I’m worried and might either have to sleep in Paris the Wednesday night or have someone drive me or just hopefully get a train since, if I miss the train and it’s actually running, I cancel out the rest of my trip. I also wanted to write about the university students demonstrating at the moment because of the new laws proposed by the Minister of Education. My first reaction was, “oh, they are demonstrating because they have to pay 350€ a year” to which Jerome replied that was a very “right wing” answer but coming from a country where you have to sell the soul of your first born, it was a totally normal reaction. But actually the new law would basically push the university system closer to private universities: making them more selective, making each university responsible for its own budget, hiring and contracts (at the moment, there’s a national pool that gets distributed unevenly between say La Sorbonne and all the rest), and making professor’s jobs less secure (since they are state employees at the moment). This all means that universities, which are currently open to anyone with a bac (end of high school exam), will be selective and it will make universal universities a thing of the past.

And then all this crazy political stuff happened in Belgium and I got a history lesson from my Belgian office mate about the complexity of the BHV – a small community of French speakers who technically live in Flanders but are part of Brussels. And how they have been voting for French speakers but yesterday the Flemish representatives from that community voted to no longer allow the French speakers to vote for French speaking representatives in BHV. And that this could be a monumental event because Belgium is actually held together by the King

So anyway, I wanted to write about all that but I’m a little tired from just thinking about the complexity of it all so I'll leave you with a picture from the Belgian newspaper, Le Soir :

(At worst, Mr. Sarkozy, you'll come get my wife and me by plane? )

What other country can laugh about themselves, the frailty of their own country and government as well as the powerlessness of their leader better than the Belgians?


Reb said...

update: apparently Air France is meant to strike too. I think I'll be toting along a lot of food for the wait in the airport.

frog4america said...

Yep, it's pretty much business as usual in france, but the tide appears to have turned for strikers and whiners of all kind (knocking on wood here). Public support is at an all-time low, exasperation at an all-time high, taking the wind out of unions' sails so hhopefully we will see a lot less of this nonsense for a while.

Ironically the only strike that directly affects me is happening right now... in the US ! The WGA strike. No late night tv, production has already shut down on my favorite sitcoms and major shows are shutting down too in solidarity. Dark times ! Right when we finally appear to come to our senses, American TV writers go french on us !!! Lol

The Late Bloomer said...

Oh man oh man, Reb, I'm really hoping the strikes won't turn out to be as bad as they're predicting... I just don't know how long we can handle it. I'll be thinking of you and hoping you make it onto your plane and back to the U.S. without too many complications!

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