POLITICS / THE TRUTH BEHIND FRANCE'S 'YELLOW VESTS' MOVEMENT

What's going on in France could soon happen in every country, and most of us don't even realize it. 

Behind our screens, seing the images of Paris looking like a civil war, we can easily think that the 'yellow vests' protestors simply are savages. It's often difficult to put ourselves in someone else's point of view, especially for us urban people who cannot relate to any of the protestors. 

Before anyone gets furious about what I'll say, please understand that I am not at all on the yellow vests' side. However, in order to solve this situation and prevent Paris from being completely burnt to pieces, we are going to have to for once listen to the other side's point of view.

First off, if you're thinking that the yellow jackets are protesting just because of taxes, you're wrong.

Yes the movement began when the prices of gas rose, but this was just the beginning. The Yellow Jackets movement would have happened even if taxes hadn't been raised. This is not Macron's fault, or of one president in particular. This isn't because of the fact that France still hasn't fully recovered from the 2008 crisis either, it's much deeper than that. 

For the past 30 years, there has been a focus on trying to help the people from the tougher suburbs by believing that these were the poorest. Not only has this failed, but we have forgotten that the poorest of us are not only from these tougher suburbs, but many are from the country side. 

These are the people that are protesting in France today. Despite the numerous changes in political parties, they have not seen any changes in their lives. Winning a world cup and other nice events might have covered up their rage, but it had to burst at some point (now). The question is, is it rightful for these protestors to destroy things in town ? To burn cars ? To vandalize historical monuments ?

Violence should never be a mean to express an idea, and the government accepting to listen to the yellow jackets after all of their violence has created a precedent for new movements. However, would the protestors have been listened to if they hadn't been this violent ? And if the answer is no, does it still justify their acts ?

There is one positive thing in this. What is great in this protest for France is that it leading to new future dialogues. People are having new point of views on the matter, and even if we don't agree with them, it is making us better understand France's current political and societal situation. More than that, a lesson can be learnt for any country, because all countries hold a part of their population that is forgotten and that can at any moment unexpectedly rebel. 

Here's a post that a friend of mine shared on Facebook, please fully read it:

Many have published opinions on what is happening in France.

I do not agree with some of you.For me, real violence affects the 9 million poor and the 200,000 homeless.

For me, the real violence is the tax evasion of billions of dollars Amazon and Starbucks.

For me, real violence is the violation of pensioners' rights.

For me, the real violence is the withdrawal of the ISF (a tax on the biggest wealths), namely the 3.2 billion euros that bring 10 000 euros to 1% of the richest, while some do not even earn 700 euros per month and work each day only to feed their children and buy them a present for Christmas.

For me, violence is not 3 cars that burn. I am sorry for those who have seen their cars burned, but being scorned and oppressed by the government is what is happening.

For me, the real violence, it is especially the State which says that it will punish the yellow vests (see Édouard Philippe's tweet).

It is an attack on the fundamental freedoms protected by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man. If you say you are for human rights, then you are necessarily for democracy. Both are indissociable. France is a state of law and not a sovereign state. Sovereignty belongs to the people and the government is only an arbitrator (see the Constitution, we must adopt a constitutional law ah yes but Macron has reduced access to universities)

For me, the main role of a government is the protection of its people.

I support freedom, equality and especially fraternity. Rights of residence, retirement, access to university, expression and opinion are fundamental rights. Everyone is entitled to it. Citizens and foreigners. Mobilize, commit yourself, the future of our country is in our hands. I hope that our generation will be able to show a little more humanity than this government of Édouard Philippe and therefore by extension of Emmanuel Macron.

And if this message makes me a yellow vest then I accept - Eva (or @ineedfeminism__ on twitter)

While I don't agree with a few things in this post, and wasn't sure if I hated it or loved it at first, I find it essential to share. This post once again highlights how the debate is getting broader, how it's not just about gas prices being raised, that it affects all of our society. 

The French government announced that it has delayed the rise of taxes on gas. That's not the right solution, we're just ignoring the bigger problem and hoping people will have forgotten about it in a few weeks. Let's not forget the overall issue. Let's use this opportunity to open up a new dialogue, and address what hasn't been addressed in the past thirty years. This isn't a problem just related to France, it's a global issue that will, sooner or later, be one in your country too.

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