“ANTI-XENOPHOBIA” DEMONSTRATION ACROSS FRANCE

Margo Berdeshevsky sent these pictures she took yesterday in Paris on the occasion of major “anti-xenophobia” demonstrations held all across France. These demos are in reaction to many weeks of governmental harassment, incarcerations and expulsions of the Rom or East European gypsy people — an old story really: no centralized government can stand  people who move, people without fixed abode or with movable abodes that can be fixed anywhere for a day or a night, a summer or a winter.  Nomads of  any kind will always be thorns in the sides of centralized state governments, be it undemocratic ones such as the Algerian FLN government that has been trying to fix the Saharan Tuareg  for 40 years now, or the so-called democratic ones such as Sarkozy’s right wing French government. The Victor Hugo banner reads: “Hatred is the Winter of the Heart.”

all photos (c) Margo Berdeshevsky/2010

Margo sent the following email this morning, suggesting it would make a nice addition to this day’s post:

…from Garrison Keillor’s Writers’ Almanac on Sept 7th: “It was on this day 99 years ago that the poet Guillaume Apollinaire was thrown into jail in Paris for stealing the Mona Lisa, which had gone missing from the Louvre two and a half weeks earlier. Only Apollinaire was not the thief. Parisian authorities were at a loss for leads, and Apollinaire was an easy scapegoat: He was a foreigner, born in Rome to a Polish mother, and he was a radical who ran with a bunch of Bohemians. Besides, he was a brazen art critic, and he professed contempt for traditional art. He even once said that the entire Louvre should be burned to the ground. So on this day in 1911, Parisian police arrested the poet for theft of the Mona Lisa and they threw him in jail. They held him there under interrogation for a week. He said that maybe his friend Pablo Picasso was the thief. The authorities arrested Picasso and brought him in for interrogation. Both men were soon released, with no evidence against them. The Mona Lisa remained missing for more than two years, and then the an Italian man named Vincenzo Peruggia called an art dealer in Italy and offered to sell him da Vinci’s lost painting. When arranging the meeting, Peruggia told the art dealer that he only wanted to bring the Mona Lisa back to Italy, where it rightfully belonged. That, and he wanted $100,000. The art dealer notified authorities, Peruggia was arrested, and the Mona Lisa made its way back to the Louvre in Paris.”

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