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Facing the dream

“What are you looking at?”
“I’m looking over at the law court. They put you in jail for no reason now.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I sent a letter to the prosecutor, telling her what I really think about French president François Hollande. I’ve been condemned for what I wrote. There isn’t any more freedom of speech here, and this is supposed to be the country of human rights.”
“You think the situation’s really deteriorating?”
“Yes I do. And I know what I’m talking about because I was raised in the Soviet Union. I was enrolled in the Red Army. In 1985, I was in Ukraine, and that was especially hard.”
“Were you forced to enroll in the Red Army?”
“Yes, more or less. It was the same for most people there. No one really trusted the communist ideal, and no one was a communist. Those feelings developed a few years before the collapse of the USSR. The communist dream had already disappeared. It was just a matter of time.”
“Were you happy when it finally collapsed in 1991?”
“I was euphoric, as was everybody. But I was quickly disillusioned soon after that. The current system, Putin’s, is actually much worse than communism. It’s a kind of dictatorship in Russia these days.”
“Why don’t people challenge that power, like in Berlin in 1989?”
“Russian people don’t yet have a spirit of union. But they’ll get it, and their revolt will be violent, as it was during the fall of the USSR.”
“Coming back to France, do you think that kind of revolution is called for to get liberties back here?”
“There’s a Slavic proverb that says: ‘What is good for a Russian can be fatal for a Frenchman.’ So maybe we should think of another alternative for France.”


“Qu’est-ce que vous contemplez ainsi ?”
“Le Palais de Justice. Ils vous mettent en prison pour tout et n’importe quoi maintenant.”
“Pourquoi dites-vous cela ?”
“J’ai écrit une lettre à la procureur, en disant ce que je pense vraiment de François Hollande. J’ai été condamné pour ce que j’avais écrit. Il n’y a plus de liberté d’expression dans ce pays qui est censé être la patrie des Droits de l’Homme.”
“Vous trouvez donc que la situation se détériore ?”
“Oui. Et je sais de quoi je parle, je viens d’URSS. J’ai fait l’Armée rouge. En 1985, j’étais en Ukraine, c’était vraiment difficile.”
“Est-ce que vous aviez été enrôlé de force dans l’Armée rouge ?”
“Plus ou moins, comme la plupart des soldats. Personne n’y croyait vraiment, et aucun n’était communiste. Cet épisode dont je vous parle se déroule quelques années avant la chute de l’URSS, le rêve communiste avait déjà disparu et ce n’était qu’une question de temps.”
“Est-ce que vous étiez vraiment heureux lors de la chute de l’URSS en 1991 ?”
“J’étais euphorique, comme tout le monde. Mais j’ai vite déchanté. Le régime actuel – celui de Poutine – est bien pire que le communisme. C’est une sorte de dictature, et tout le monde en Russie le sait.”
“Pourquoi les gens ne se révoltent-ils pas comme en 1989 à Berlin ?”
“Le peuple n’a pas encore un esprit d’unité. Mais lorsqu’il l’aura, ce sera sans doute violent, comme lors de la chute de l’URSS.”
“Pour en revenir à la France, est-ce que vous pensez qu’il faudrait faire une révolution du même genre pour rétablir les libertés ?”
“Il y a un proverbe slave qui dit : “Ce qui est bon pour un Russe peut être mortel pour un Français.” Il faudrait peut-être envisager une autre solution en France.”

© Humans of Paris — in Paris.


She didn’t stop walking and didn’t say anything. She just posed. But there was enough to say, especially about her hoodie. You may read « ALLEZ CHIRAC! » (And there’s also, at the bottom, « ALLEZ LA FRANCE! »), which means « Go Chirac! Go France! ». Chirac was a former French president from 1995 to 2007, and you can learn more about him there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Chirac

© Humans of Paris