Paris is burning

4am

It happened earlier this month, but the memory of that night slaps me in the face every time I look outside my window. During the day, I try to be out and about for as long as I can, because I know that as soon as I step through the gate of the Cité, the stale stench from the fire makes its way into my nostrils and the quietness of the street pounds me a sensation of anguish into me. What makes the situation worse is having people fill the air with their whispers, having to see people from the other side of Paris come here, in my haven, to exorcise their fear about death, about morbid things.

Go exorcise somewhere else.

So, I am trying to rebuild the happiness it took me so long to gain when I moved here. But I don’t know where to start. There is currently a crowd that formed out of nowhere, 4 cops on bikes just posting outside, as if waiting for a great messiah to clean up the mess, repaint the façade, and re-welcome all the original neighbors.

5am

It is times like these I question the bureaucracy of this place. At first it was a personal conflict I had, having to fight to obtain ONE social security number to feel legitimate, and having to go through the same routine virutally every week, and having the sae 3 ladies tell me that the documents I have provided are not enough, and that I still need this this this this and this. Now it’s become something bigger. Something in the system isn’t working. 40% of the people who lived in the building were in France illegally, sharing a 38 square-metered apartment with 5 other people because that is all they could afford. Busting their asses every day to bring back money, to pay rent, to pay the taxes, to hope that the next day could be easier, and they could one day afford their own 38 squared meters. And now they find themselves with no home, and no means to find another place to live because they have no papers, they have no legitimacy here. And even if they wanted to, they would have to jump through hoops of fire because the bureaucracy doesn’t give anything out for free to the poor.

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~ par gitane sur 29 avril 2011.

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