Events in France - a French Perspective
Letter to Editor 03/12/2018
As a French native living in Ireland for twelve years, I feel the information given to Irish people about the situation in France is incorrect, or biased. The root cause of the problems as stated in many Irish papers come from Macron’s politics and rises in petrol tax. But if it were only that, the French would cope with it.
In fact they endured more than that in the last twenty years, much more. But the French are practical and they tighten their belt as much as they could, until the last few weeks.What the governments did to the citizens is the proper way to cook a frog. If you throw a frog in boiling water the batrachian will jump out for sure. But if you leave the frog in a cold water and turn the heat gradually it will stay there and not realizing that it is too hot before it’s too late.And it’s nearly too late for the majority of the French citizens.
This is a country where working is not enough to have a basic living. My experience, as many of people around me was that we had to cut about nearly everything. Restaurants and nights out are a rare occasion, inviting friends at home for food and drinks is cheaper. Flowers for the wife? Forget about it. Too much money to spend. Toys for the kids? Wait for Christmas and so on. We can call that a frugal life. Every penny worth.
From my experience, even with qualifications and a good job I had to have two part time jobs to be able to complete the month like we say over there. French are paid monthly and a famous French comedian named Coluche (Who run into politics in the 80’s) said once: End of the month are difficult, especially the last thirty days. This is a reality for many.It’s difficult to work in a country where your wage is just enough to cover all the expenses. You just wonder why you have to work at the first place. Whats the point if it’s not enough to feed the family?
Today we have people who can’t afford the basics: food and home. This is a country where Les Restos du Coeur, a soup kitchen , gave in 2016-17 , 136 million meals, through 2000 spots. Since 1985 they offer over 2 billions of meals to people in need. Today it’s nearly 1 millions people who benefits from them, including 30 thousands babies under 12 months. And it’s growing up and up.The worst, or the best depending from which side you want to look at it, is that they are not the only one to provide food to the one in needs. It’s plenty of associations that help. In fact one in five French can not afford 3 meals a day. That’s embarrassing , In 2016, there were 8.8 million poor people in France, or 14% of the total population. The monetary poverty threshold in France was 1026 euros per month in 2016. This figure corresponds to 60% of the median standard of living of the population.
I could keep speaking all day long about all the social violence brought to a vast majority of French citizens. New taxes, increased taxes, Taxes for all but the richest. But speaking is over and now it’s time for actions. Macron rejects the violence encountered in Paris and throughout the whole country. But who throw the first stone? Not you Macron, you just throw the last one. The first was delivered by your predecessors: Mitterand, Chirac, Sarkozy, Hollande. You’re just one of them. Somebody who spit on the citizens, somebody who forget he must serve the populations and not the opposite. You deserve all the violence for the social violence you bring to the populations.You want to go green? French have no problem with that but explain and find a solution to all the people who can’t afford it. How to buy an electric car when you can barely change the tires on the one you own? This is not a simple answer. French love their country and are respectful with the nature surrounding them. And of course they understand the necessity to stop all this pollution. But at the cost of what?
The purchasing power of the majority of the population is falling down while the richest have never been so rich.C’mon...the joke shall stop . France is a great country to go on holidays, enjoying wine, fine food and beautiful landscape. This is a different place when you have to work and live there.Sometimes the devil can wear Prada.And we never forget that we have to leave the place better than what we found, by respect for our parents and our future generation.