I grew up in France in the 60s…I started school when the May 68 revolution broke off, which means that my first year of primary school was rather short and for me 68 means my skinny legs hanging out of our balcony iron bars, listening to the nearby Place des Fêtes revolutionary meetings. My favourite tune was “Un, deux, trois Poumpapère” which was my interpretation of “Agmentation des Salaires” (Raise our Wages)…Someone who was as nostalgic as I am created a blog I invite you to visit.
My baby-sitters had long flowery skirts and there was an atmosphere of freedom which even a small kid could enjoy…
I went to a Jewish primary school which I didn’t like and don’t keep nice memories of, and soon begged my parents to attend the secular high school. There I really discovered, in the Lycée Bergson, what it meant to be simply French, with no references to our home culture and background.
Paris was a mix of all kinds of cultures one next to the other, not the way it is today with ethnic districts copying Anglo-saxon multicultural cities. Watch this video on the disappearance in 1982 of a mythical café, La Vielleuse, which I never entered…and now never will….
In Belleville, lived the Armenians and Tunisian greengrocers whom we used to refer to as “l’arabe d’en bas”, the Polish Jewish bakers, then arrived the Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees who accept to work longer hours, then more recently the Chinese and now the Tamil and Indians…the Syrians, Iraqis and Africans….
I grew up in a world where I enjoyed freedom all the way through. Today’s high security and political correctness are litterally eating up my own freedom. I do understand and respect the underlying necessity of such permanent checks and self-imposed censorship, but let me say here, in my space and my blog, how much I regret that what I enjoyed as a kid is no longer available for my own kids!
Yet, the world I grew up in wouldn’t accept Jesse Jackson as a president, or even a Sarkozy for all he brings…So all isn’t bad, especially when social networks allow me to reach out to individuals I would never have met otherwise.
Yet I am sorry to notice:
- less space for my private freedom;
- less consideration for women worldwide;
- a backlash of extremists who dictate some of our ways of thinking, our dress codes or minorities’ place in society:
- an overall feeling of despair or blasé attitude from the younger generation which is so enticed by all the attractive applications and video possibilities it no longer has a proper life;
- Too much ruling for too many things.
I don’t think I’m turning anarchist in my old age, I just believe I am writing in order to remind those of you who know that era of the beauty of things past. I am glad to have grown up in the 70s and I wish I could convey this feeling to you…