On October 27th, Bouna and Zied died of electrical burns when they fled from the police. Riots broke out in Clichy-sous-Bois and other housing estates across France. This is the first time since May 1968 that there has been urban violence of this magnitude; it is also the first time that young people from the neighbourhoods have risen up together, realizing that they share a common fate. This fate can be summed up as having no future but unemployment, low-income housing, daily humiliation and police racism, a ghetto culture that makes us outcasts, but which on a certain level is also a source of pride, because it’s ours.
The media has started to censor information, the State has imposed curfews, dredged up laws from the colonial era, and multiplied its hateful statements about us. An emergency plan for the suburbs has been unveiled.
Everyone agrees that they knew it would happen, that they knew that one day it would blow up, and yet nothing was done. So who are the guilty ones?
The current answer to this rebellion : more repression and talks of public safety. As for the politicians, they are not questioned, they don’t apologize, they are not condemned. So who are the victims?
“A toutes les victims” [translation: To All The Victims] only demands that all those arrested for participating in the riots:
- have the right to justice which is not exceptional justice
- have the right to legal, moral and financial support
- not be punished twice, i.e. by prison and then deportation
- to bring together the different initiatives to provide solidarity with all of the victims of repression, so as to facilitate their coordination
- to launch an appeal for witnesses to increase the support
- to keep track of the repression
- to carry out a campaign for solidarity and financial support
- to provide some analysis
- If you know of a support collective that has been set up in your neighbourhood
- If you know somebody who has been brought before the courts as a result of the riots
- If you know somebody who needs legal or moral support
Please note that the above text comes from the A Toutes Les Victimes website and was translated by yours truly. I have a “fast and loose” translation philosophy, meaning that when there is a choice between readability and the original phraseology i tend to favour the former, provided that the meaning stays the same. The original document can be seen in French.
For background to the riots, including a timeline, check out the Wikipedia entry.
Categories: banlieues, clichy-sous-bois, france, repression, riot, translation