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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Revolution 2019


(Authors Note: Hopefully this post will clarify the current state of affairs in France for my English readers.)

As you are well aware Paris, and all of France, is not very gay at the moment. Due to the fact that, like Louis 16th, President Emmanuel Macron as a revolution on his hands.

While the Bastille has not yet been stormed – the current revolutionaries have succeeded in defacing a National Monument(the Arc de Triomphe),paralyzing the economy by blocking transport, torching cars,smashing windows, vandalizing shops and businesses, leaving four dead, hundreds injured and over a thousand (so far) arrested.

These “freedom fighters” are largely working class French who are “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. ” And the current “troubles” are the expression of their discontent.

They refer to themselves as the “Gilet Jaune” (gee-lay zoan) – “Yellow vests” – after the classic traffic safety vests they’ve adopted as their emblem.

The black irony here is that now anyone who sports said vest will instantly be branded as a “Gilet Jaune.”

Their movement began, and continues to be spread, via the internet. Which means the Gilet Jaunes have no leader. No single charismatic figure urging them on to greater disruptive/destructive glory.

Likewise – no cohesive platform or political agenda. They’re simply “against” everything the Government is doing and/or proposing.

Bottom Line: Anyone “mad as hell” can”be” a Gilet Jaune. All it takes is anger/rage and a yellow vest.

And therein lies “the rub.” Right wing thugs,anarchists and all variety of hooligans whose “raison d’etre” is smashing things up, put on a yellow vest and go to town.

The yellow vested ones will admit that their movement has been infiltrated/co-opted by these “casseurs”(literally “breakers”), and that, yes, they’re responsible for the violence. And, yes, it is sad/tragic, but it’s the price of getting the government’s attention.

Likewise their blockage of roads. Assuring that perishable foods will perish. Assuring that businesses from the corner boulangerie to the giant supermarket see their profits cut in half or more. Assuring that the elderly and special needs people won’t get the medicine and/or professional at home services they need.

To put the Gilet Jaunes response to these disruptions of the lives of their fellow citizens into popular language: “Tough titty.”

The concerns of the Gilet Jaunes are genuine. But they are not unique.Every Western Democracy has cracks in the system. Which people can and do fall through.

What the yellow clad crusaders fail to appreciate is that they have the good fortune to live in a country with one of the most progressive social programs in Europe. You pay nothing to visit the doctor or dentist. If you’re unemployed, there is not only “chommage”(unemployment benefits) but “RSA” – a program that pays you to retrain your work skills.

But the Gilet Jaunes main problem is not Emmanuel Macron. It is their inability to connect the dots between their actions and their objectives. The fact that you can’t improve an economic system by destroying it, is not on their radar.

To date their “manefestations” have created a bill of 4 million plus Euros. A Figure that does not include businesses large and small who went OUT of business, due to the yellow clad “patriots” blockage of roads.

As one French Newspaper demanded: “Who Will Pay?” The answer, sadly, is ALL the French People.

Another newspaper compared the Gilet Jaune “movement” to a house in need of repair, occupied by several renters.

When the landlord fails to respond to repair requests – the renters begin trashing the house.

This does get the landlords attention. He initiates some repairs, and suggests meeting, in the near future, to discuss further repairs.

The renters response – is to keep trashing the house.

By throwing the Gilet Jaunes a bone – in the form of scraping a proposed gas price increase, other economic appesements, and the promise of a National Dialogue, President Macron has not saited the beast’s appetite.

He has increased it. Now, the Gilet Jaunes are hungrier than ever. More determined. More empowered. More convinced of the “rightness” of their cause.

Imagine if the level of violence, defacing of National monuments,destruction of businesses, human injury,and economic paralysis that France has endured occurred in the USA.

What would the Government’s response be? You’re ahead of me, aren’t you? That’s Right. State of emergency. National Guard. Army. Suspension of civil liberties. Live ammunition.

Like Louis 16, President Macron hasn’t been paying attention. And for that, he will pay the price. In the next election. If not before.

But what he can, and should do, to ensure the welfare of the Nation he’s been entrusted with guiding, is to, as police commanders have pleaded, bring in the army. Give them, and police, authority to use deadly force when attacked. End road blockages. Take Control. Establish and maintain order.

Like Napolean, Emmanuel Macron is vastly outnumbered in this third French Revolution. And like Napolean, it will be his Waterloo.

But it needn’t, and shouldn’t be, a defeat for the French Nation.

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