Tonight c’est plus fort que moi… No matter how much I tried to take distance from my former EU political life, I am genuinely – in my genes – a political thing, simply a citizen I guess. Like millions of us tonight. Here I am in my small fishers village in the South of France now, away from beloved Paris where tragedy hit today. And I feel so lonely, so shocked, so sad, so useless, so lost. Last time I felt that way was that Sunday evening of May 2002, when back from a typical Sunday off with European Commission interns friends in Flanders, when my Brussels landlady asked me about “Pain”. Could not proceed the info. Bugged. Wondering what bread she was talking about whereas the message was, Le Pen was up for the 2nd round of French presidential elections. I was up there, in what we’d call in Paris my chambre de bonne, and I felt so lonely, so shocked, so sad, so useless, so lost. I guess that fueled my passion for politics, for Europe, with the strong belief that we can – yes we can – change the world.
Tonight I am afraid. Not of those miserably enrolled people whose brain’s been washed in the name of whichever god. I am afraid to see people jump to conclusions. I am afraid to see people, friends, colleagues, forget to think. I am afraid to see my country and the EU repeat the mistakes of History and somehow replay the sad scenario of what led Europe to actually do its best to build the biggest peace project ever with the sui generis EU.
Back in the Spring I was at a loss to see friends refuse to vote for EU parliamentarians, saying that if things don’t work, better destroy them. After 50 years trying, adapting, giving increased power to citizens, how and what would they do different(ly)? Let’s be honest.
Back in the Spring I was at a loss to hear my own French President of the Republic, elitist ENA graduate, say what French citizens wanted to hear, play the stupid game of scapegoating the system thanks to which he passes laws he won’t himself dare pass in Paris, namely say that Brussels is “complicated”. Biggest joke ever! I can explain the EU to primary school children and they’d get it. A checks and balances triangle. He studied at ENA, conducts the destiny of a country named France, and dares say that? How dangerous… How short-sighted… Why shooting yourself in the foot like that? Why lead the nation to shoot itself in the foot like that?
Tonight I am afraid. Of politicians who think of their careers rather than of the good of the nation they are responsible for. They intentionally refuse to “explain” the EU & Brussels because it is so easy to play the blame game. Who’s Brussels though if not them? They are extremely careful not to tell citizens who the Council is, careful not to tell citizens that the European Parliament has the power to counter them, careful not to tell citizens that if they vote for EU parliamentarians, they can thus counter their national governments in whatever decision they are making in Brussels. Keeping EU affairs into a blur is so handy… and yet so dangerous. It leads peoples to turn against the only system, which their ancestors have worked at building in order to protect them. It leads peoples to turn extreme right. It turns peoples to not embrace globalisation but develop hatred. Back in the Spring, images of 1936 came to my mind. And deep down tonight I am afraid that History is sleepwalking towards a repetition.
Wake up! Be honest to values, remember to think, don’t jump to conclusions, don’t buy into what some poorly managed media and self-centered politicians may be feeding you with.
Tonight I cannot be in Paris, Brussels or Berlin or else to stand with thousands of you in the name of freedom of thought, freedom of speech, in remembrance of brave journalists. So I wrote.