The time for a new revolution in France is now
PARIS -- French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday in a televised address that one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns in the world, in place since March 17, will continue until at least May 11. Macron then prematurely blamed the French people for his potential failure to adhere to that end date.
"May 11 will only be possible if we continue to be civic, responsible, obey the rules and if the spread of the virus has actually continued to slow," Macron said.
Much of the foreign media misread Macron's speech, failing to capture the subtleties of the French language and Macron's communication style. They took May 11 to represent a hard deadline for ending the lockdown, but it was little more than the "carrot" incentive. The "stick" would come shortly thereafter, as it always does, from a member of Macron's entourage.
"What the president announced was not deconfinement on May 11, it was confinement until May 11," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Tuesday morning. "There are conditions so that we can deconfine May 11. It's not a certainty, but an objective."
These people would be more adept at raising caged chickens than managing this national crisis of their own creation. Macron's speech inadvertently revealed that the impetus for the continued lockdown is invalid when he said that as of May 11, France would finally be in a position to provide face masks to all citizens -- which, in certain situations, such as riding public transport, could be mandatory.
If we're just waiting on masks in order to come out of lockdown, then it's possible to unlock right now. Anyone in the streets can see that French people have already procured their own masks or have created improvised versions without waiting for the ill-prepared state to get around to it.
Spain has already eased its lockdown by having police provide face masks at subway entrances. The use of face masks is a form of ambulatory self-isolation long practiced in some of the countries least impacted by this virus, such as South Korea. Cover your respiratory passages with this new medical burqa and you don't need to hide in your house from a respiratory virus.
Instead of acknowledging that people didn't wait around for government to act and are now taking their own precautions, Macron is going to keep everyone imprisoned for at least another month as he sits at the controls like a kamikaze pilot and plunges the entire country into a suicide spiral that's sure to cause mass casualties from destitution, unemployment, domestic abuse and suicide across all demographics.
Aware that parents struggling to homeschool multiple children with a single computer while working from home urgently require some encouragement, Macron said that starting on May 11, he will "progressively reopen" daycares and schools. Really? Are the kids also going to be manning the shops to get the economy going again so the country doesn't continue to bleed an estimated 100 billion to 150 billion euros a month?
The French nanny-state has completed its transformation into the schoolmarm state, infantilizing citizens, feeding them platitudes and lies in order to keep them in line. Macron and his handmaidens have destroyed the moral fabric underpinning France ever since Jean-Jacques Rousseau intellectually spearheaded the French Revolution, pointing out that "man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."
Another revolution is exactly what the French state fears. The newspaper Le Parisien obtained confidential memos from French domestic intelligence fearing a post-lockdown radicalization of social protest.
Why the wait? Even before the lockdown, middle- and working-class "yellow vest" protesters were out in the streets at least once a week for nearly a year and a half to demonstrate against excessive government tax grabs, wearing gas masks to protect themselves from police tear gas. I'm pretty sure those could double as face masks.
There's one reason these normally brave protesters are sitting at home watching their bank accounts shrink and their livelihoods slip away: fear. Somehow the government they have long distrusted has managed to convince them that protests can't possibly resume until that same government gives them the magic green light. Imagine if King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had sold the French revolutionaries on the idea that their beheadings would have to be delayed indefinitely because a virus might be circulating among the crowd gathered around the guillotine.
Had the French been scared into trading all their basic freedoms back then, the country might have looked exactly like it does right now, as we all sit home suffering, waiting for a royal decree.
(Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France. Her website can be found at www.rachelmarsden.com.)