20 December 2008

Strikes, What Strikes?

Well, as Andrew said the lycee students in France have been on strike for the past two weeks protesting school reforms. Well, if you live in France its quite clear that the strikes are going on and will continue to just looking out the window. However, I have yet to see any national coverage of any kind. To be fair I've only been watching the news regularly the past week and so perhaps they were mentioned the week before when they first started, but that does not explain their absence during the past week. The local news programs and newspapers have been devoting a good amount of time to the strike and this led me to believe that perhaps the protest was localized to the South-West. Yesterday, I came across a post on a website devoted to assistants, and a question was asked about the strikes and indeed they are taking place around France. Everybody seems to be confused as to why no national media is covering the story and I haven't come across an answer yet. This morning I finally found an article on the Herald Tribune discussing the French protests and the fear of them turning into riots mimicing the situation in Greece. The reforms have been pushed back a year but discontent is still widespread and not limited to students. The railway works are set to strike after Christmas protesting longer working hours. Young people everwhere are facing an ever more difficult future as jobs become scare. France already has one of the highest unemployment rates for people under 25 in Europe. In Sarlat there are very few people my age. Another teacher was just telling me last week that after high school there is nothing for them here. No jobs, no universities so they all leave and very few come back. The outlook and feeling here is very pessimistic right now and the near future isn't looking much brighter.

The strikes, however, will be put on hold for the next two weeks for Christmas vacation, but it is believed that they will continue after. I'm definitely looking forward to getting out of Sarlat for awhile and hopefully heading to sunnier weather. Rome might have other ideas for us though. Most of Italy has been under flood watch for the past couple of weeks. Its a good thing we cancelled our plans for Florence and Venice as it the situation is much worse up there.
Merry Christmas!


1 comment:

  1. I could never quite get the raison d'être behind student strikes: "I want you to change/do something, so I'm going to stop learning". Does not compute. Joyeux Nöel