French word of the day: Blocage (1/2/2024)

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Not the Boulevard Peripherique
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It’s the siege of Paris! Yes really. Several highways into Paris are blocked and if you want to get around, you better Google Maps yourself a few hours in advance.

No it is not the Germans we have to worry about, they are busy blocking roads in Berlin. In Paris it is the French farmers who are laying siege in and across France. (I should add that it is not just French and German farmers, but also the Polish, Dutch, Spanish, etc across the European Union.)

Now, the reasons are multiple, from too many contradicting ecological norms, too low prices, and too many farmers leaving the industry, and foreign imports not having to face those same standards. (As a business owner in France, I can tell you French paperwork can be overwhelming, so I can’t even imagine navigating through EU and French farming norms.)

Along with the farmers, the teachers have joined the strike along with train drivers . (And as I explained last week, there’s a new Prime minister, time to pile on while he is still eager to please!)

I won’t outline all the grievances, that would take quite a while. But thinking about all this, and ignoring my own relatively minor inconveniences, I thought it is probably good to admire this exertive level of democracy in action.

‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

Albert Einstein

Already the farmers have won several concessions, and made people across France ponder how important do we consider our food supply to be. (And there was of course this very cute procession of “kid farmers” protesting along with their parents.)

No doubt this blockade will get old fast if it continues much into February (school holidays are coming up after all) but perhaps we should all get out and protest more? Make our voices heard, change course and take action? If you can’t win the game, maybe it is time to change the rules?

And with that thought, I have to go entertain the kids who are at home today with the strikes…

In other news:

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6 Incredible caves in France you must see

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