Paris bans George Floyd protest planned at US Embassy

PARIS – French police have banned a demonstration planned to take place in front of the US Embassy in Paris on Saturday as protests mount around the world over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The Paris police department said on Friday it had decided to ban the demonstrations because of the risks of social disorder and health dangers from large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trouble had broken out at another anti-police demonstration in the French capital on Wednesday. Thousands had turned up despite a police ban on the event in memory of Adama Traore, a 24-year old black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation which some have likened to Floyd’s death.

Unrest has broken out across the United States after the killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died after a white policeman pinned his neck under a knee for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

Source: Paris bans George Floyd protest planned at US Embassy

Pope Francis on the death of George Floyd: We cannot tolerate racism and claim to defend life

“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

Pope Francis this morning spoke of his “great concern” at “the disturbing social unrest” in the United States following “the tragic death of George Floyd,” which he attributed to “the sin of racism.”

“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” the pope said.

He did so in a message addressed to his “dear brothers and sisters in the United States,” meaning the entire nation and not just its 70 million Catholics, a senior Vatican source told America. He spoke to them during his virtual public audience from the library of the apostolic palace on June 3, which was carried by Vatican Media.

Continue reading “Pope Francis on the death of George Floyd: We cannot tolerate racism and claim to defend life”

Can Trump ‘deploy the military’ to quell protests over George Floyd’s death?

US President Donald Trump suggested on Monday that he might use federal troops to end the protests that have erupted nationwide following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in Minneapolis police custody. But to do so, Trump would need to formally invoke rarely used statutes known as the Insurrection Act. 

“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled,” Trump said during brief remarks at the White House on Monday.

Continue reading “Can Trump ‘deploy the military’ to quell protests over George Floyd’s death?”

Police violence: “What Camélia Jordana says is obvious, it is the astonishment she meets which is astonishing”

Invited to France 2 on Saturday May 23, the singer and actress Camélia Jordana denounced the police violence at work in France, arousing a very hostile reaction from the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner but also from several police unions. Documentary filmmaker and writer David Dufresne, specialist in police violence, returns to the Inrockuptibles on this sequence and what it says about maintaining order today in France.

What did you think of the intervention of Camélia Jordana, who explained on France 2 that “there are thousands of people (including herself) who do not feel safe in the face of a cop”  ?

David Dufresne – I think she expresses the obvious, and what is surprising is the astonishment that her intervention provides: for the past thirty years, we have witnessed a confrontation between the police and part of the population , brutalization of this confrontation. Police violence is today a subject of society and, in a certain way, the sequence of Saturday evening is a bit the coronation of that: that a program as harmless as ONPC addresses this question is all the same the sign that there is a real debate that must open. For years now, Continue reading “Police violence: “What Camélia Jordana says is obvious, it is the astonishment she meets which is astonishing””

Americans In Paris

A weekly public radio program and podcast. Each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme.Many Americans have dreamy and romantic ideas about Paris, notions which probably trace back to the 1920s vision of Paris created by the expatriate Americans there. But what’s it actually like in Paris if you’re an American, without rose-colored glasses?

Listen at THIS AMERICAN LIFE: Americans In Paris

Rebecca Solnit: Whose Story (and Country) Is This? 

Watching the film Phantom Thread, I kept wondering why I was supposed to be interested in a control freak who is consistently unpleasant to all the people around him. I kept looking at the other characters—his sister who manages his couture business, his seamstresses, eventually the furniture (as a child, I read a very nice story about the romance between two chairs)—wondering why we couldn’t have a story about one of them instead.

Who gets to be the subject of the story is an immensely political question, and feminism has given us a host of books that shift the focus from the original protagonist—from Jane Eyre to Mr. Rochester’s Caribbean first wife, from Dorothy to the Wicked Witch, and so forth. But in the news and political life, we’re still struggling over whose story it is, who matters, and who our compassion and interest should be directed at.

The common denominator of so many of the strange and troubling cultural narratives coming our way is a set of assumptions about who matters, whose story it is, who deserves the pity and the treats and the presumptions of innocence, the kid gloves and the red carpet, and ultimately the kingdom, the power, and the glory. You already know who. It’s white people in general and white men in particular, and especially white Protestant men, some of whom are apparently dismayed to find out that there is going to be, as your mom might have put it, sharing. The history of this country has been written as their story, and the news sometimes still tells it this way—one of the battles of our time is about who the story is about, who matters and who decides.

It is this population we are constantly asked to pay more attention to and forgive even when they hate us or seek to harm us. It is toward them we are all supposed to direct our empathy. The exhortations are everywhere. PBS News Hour featured a quiz by Charles Murray in March that asked “Do You Live in a Bubble?” The questions assumed that if you didn’t know people who drank cheap beer and drove pick-up trucks and worked in factories you lived in an elitist bubble. Among the questions: “Have you ever lived for at least a year in an American community with a population under 50,000 that is not part of a metropolitan area and is not where you went to college? Have you ever walked on a factory floor? Have you ever had a close friend who was an evangelical Christian?”

The quiz is essentially about whether you are in touch with working-class small-town white Christian America, as though everyone who’s not Joe the Plumber is Maurice the Elitist. We should know them, the logic goes; they do not need to know us. Less than 20 percent of Americans are white evangelicals, only slightly more than are Latino. Most Americans are urban. The quiz delivers, yet again, the message that the 80 percent of us who live in urban areas are not America, treats non-Protestant (including the quarter of this country that is Catholic) and non-white people as not America, treats many kinds of underpaid working people (salespeople, service workers, farmworkers) who are not male industrial workers as not America. More Americans work in museums than work in coal, but coalminers are treated as sacred beings owed huge subsidies and the sacrifice of the climate, and museum workers—well, no one is talking about their jobs as a totem of our national identity.

PBS added a little note at the end of the bubble quiz, “The introduction has been edited to clarify Charles Murray’s expertise, which focuses on white American culture.” They don’t mention that he’s the author of the notorious Bell Curve or explain why someone widely considered racist was welcomed onto a publicly funded program. Perhaps the actual problem is that white Christian suburban, small-town, and rural America includes too many people who want to live in a bubble and think they’re entitled to, and that all of us who are not like them are menaces and intrusions who needs to be cleared out of the way.

 

“More Americans work in museums than work in coal, but coalminers are treated as sacred beings owed huge subsidies.”

 

After all, there was a march in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year full of white men with tiki torches chanting “You will not replace us.” Which translates as get the fuck out of my bubble, a bubble that is a state of mind and a sentimental attachment to a largely fictional former America. It’s not everyone in this America; for example, Syed Ahmed Jamal’s neighbors in Lawrence, Kansas, rallied to defend him when ICE arrested and tried to deport the chemistry teacher and father who had lived in the area for 30 years. It’s not all white men; perpetration of the narrative centered on them is something too many women buy into and some admirable men are trying to break out of.

And the meanest voices aren’t necessarily those of the actual rural and small-town. In a story about a Pennsylvania coal town named Hazelton, Fox’s Tucker Carlson recently declared that immigration brings “more change than human beings are designed to digest,” the human beings in this scenario being the white Hazeltonians who are not immigrants, with perhaps an intimation that immigrants are not human beings, let alone human beings who have already had to digest a lot of change. Once again a small-town white American narrative is being treated as though it’s about all of us or all of us who count, as though the gentrification of immigrant neighborhoods is not also a story that matters, as though Los Angeles and New York City, both of which have larger populations than many American states, are not America. In New York City, the immigrant population alone exceeds the total population of Kansas (or Nebraska or Idaho or West Virginia, where all those coal miners are). Continue reading “Rebecca Solnit: Whose Story (and Country) Is This? “