This is my final post, I just wanted to thank you all for the wonderful work, for your enthusiasm, for your support.
I really enjoyed participating in this exciting project. It was enlightening, interesting, and I do hope it made a difference.
Bernard Dreano has sent us what he calls “significant messages from people in the banlieues”. I’ve translated some of these messages, please read through as there is a very interesting text written by mothers of the children some of whom have been most involved in the riots
From the Communiqué du Mouvement de l’Immigration et des Banlieues
- a federation of local groups, whose origin goes back to the protest movements of the 80s, still very active in some of today’s trouble spots.
“ Those who don’t understand the causes of today’s riots are either blind , suffering from amnesia, or both. For the last 30 years the “banlieues” have been demanding justice. For at least 25 years riots, demonstrations, marches, public meetings, and cries of protest against a succession specific reforms have been voiced.
But these cries have been ignored or papered over. As always it is the silent sufferings of millions of families, of men, of women, which endure: they suffer daily a social violence far more wounding than a burnt car.
There will never be any peace in our neighbourhoods as long as there is no justice or real equality. No attempts at pacification, no curfew will prevent us from carrying on fighting for our rights, even when the cameras turn their gaze elsewhere. “
An Appeal of the Mothers, from four well-known women of North African origin who are also mothers living in the banlieue…
We have listened to the President. We have followed closely the statements of the Prime Minister. We have been overwhelmed by the calls of crying mothers. Until now we haven’t said a word. And yet, we have things to say.
Because no matter where our partners are, no matter what they do, we, the mothers, keep making the breakfast… Since the dawn of this world, we have been healing the wounds. No matter what our memories are, our origins, our colour, our religion, our political orientation, we look after the entire human chain. We are at the crossroads of the interior and the exterior world. Our different status allows to hear what others can’t or won’t any longer. Today we call on everyone to take responsibility.
Dear children France is our country. Deep inside you know it. You feel like a foreigner, but in your home country. … You like the same music as your fellow pupils, you watch the same movies, and moreover you hope for the same future.
You have already dreamt about yourself as a minister, deputy, teacher, doctor, and we have already felt proud just thinking about it.
Today some of you who have seen their older brothers or fathers unemployed have gone out of control. But don’t destroy what gave you hope. Don’t burn what you adored. Don’t let the hate speeches get to you to destroy this country that we built together.
This would mean giving up. This would mean cowardice.
This would only validate the theories of those who want to draw borders between human beings, whether through politics or through religion.
Dear Messrs.Politicians, France is our country. We have deserved our place in it as mush as any others. Our ancestors belong to French history. We are not foreigners.
Don’t try justifying our children’s behaviour by culture or religion. You know our children have the same values as yours. The only difference is that they’re treated differently.
Revolt means hope. These cries in our “cities” are asking for help: don’t ignore them.
Yamina Benguigui, movie director
Alima Boumédiene-Thiery, senator
Dounia Bouzar, sociologist