When the youngsters of a district start being positive again and take their fate into their own hands.

BGA-2-untitled8It has been two years now since I have been back in the district. After having spent nearly 6 years abroad, in 2007 I decided to come to the roots. The return back in France was not that easy. To tell the truth, the first months were even awful. With no means of subsistence except for my parents, I had to pretend everything was fine and, as the perfect British man I had become used to the many credit cards I had brought with me from England. Being in debt while pretending to be well off was my new French experience. That was a strange thing for someone who before his departure for the other side of the Chanel had never really known poverty or bankruptcy. The simplest pleasures of Parisian life had become more than a nightmare for the completely broke guy I was.

Strange enough, there was however some kind of relief in learning that my poverty was not an exception. Many other young men of my generation with uncertain or temporary jobs for the luckiest ones were in difficult position, just like me. But the misery of the others was not thing to contend oneself with. So I decided to put myself to work and quick. For more than a whole academic year; working nonstop from morning till night had become my daily routine while tightening the belt as much as I could to save money. Besides the small jobs of subsistence I first found, I was also teaching some few hours in a high school located in the suburbs of Paris. I remember jumping over the gate of the French underground or metro for a whole month, just to get there without spending the least cent. Here again, I first thought that this experience of mine of hardship and struggle after my return back from the U.K was exceptional; but of course once again, that was just before I came to the knowledge of what was really going on in the district of Paris I lived in. A great number of associations and organizations had indeed decided to take their own fate into their own hands. BGA (Les Braves Garçons D’Afrique), Une Chorba pour Tous, Rstyle or again Le Mouvement des Indigenes de la Republique, just to name a few, had become the new political leaders dealing and acting relevantly in their respective neighbourhood and field of action.

When the official or professional politicians become inefficient in France or rather disconnected with what really matters to the population, the habit wants it that after undergoing a hard time people start organising themselves and tend to rely more on nothing else but their own capacity and ability to remedy the hardship experienced. The described phenomenon is even more obvious with the younger generations. It is thus, that the BGA organization set up a decade ago by ten teenagers going to the same schools took the challenge to elevate their future condition and give their lives an aim. BGA is today not far from a decade old, it is one of the best known associations in the nineteenth district of Paris. Its range of activity goes from cultural events involving dance, fashion, and sports to education; training, and political debates. The association represents a positive sign very scarcely put on the spotlights in the official or mainstream media. It has been two years since my return in the neighbourhood, and I am glad to notice that struggling spirit is quite common in this part of the capital. For sure the associations I observe in the north east of Paris bring some changes and improvement in the everyday life of not only the citizens but also those taking part in the planning and development of such activities.

The question I am asking myself now is the following: Why is it we the deprived struggling people in France tend to vote in both local and general elections for candidates who for a lack of understanding of our culture and true identity do not really represent us? Most surprising is the fact that for the more than thirty years we have been doing so, they have never improved our fate but rather put us in a situation where more injustice and racial discrimination were created. Were the left-wing’s social messages and lack of sincere measures to remedy social injustices always all planned so that we the deprived and segregated against, in

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an unachievable dream, keep on being fooled and vote for them?

One thing is sure for me now; for the next elections, be it local or general some of the most successful associations with sound field records will for sure present their own candidates. And for the few months to come, I vow to keep myself busy in helping them reach such goals. Cause, far from any form of paternalism, I am convinced that only candidates understanding and sharing my experiences, struggles, culture and my true individual identity have the right to represent me.

By Sitafa

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