The summer holidays have come to an end. Most French people have returned back to work, hopefully, remembering the good moments of July and August. If the image of the nation was somehow tarnished around the world with the rout of the French national football team or again with the racist comments and discourses of the French government, let’s however hope that the new academic year will be synonymous of reflection and wisdom.
To achieve such goal should not be difficult especially in the nineteenth district of Paris where the last two years have been marked with tremendous changes benefiting the citizens for the better. The relief is now to be found locally. The district of Paris that has the youngest population is full of young activists undertaking very positive initiatives.
I met one of those youngsters this week. Sadia Diawara, the president of the association Road Tree’P was just back from a trip of several weeks in Mali with his association when we met on Wednesday. The third edition of the Road Tree’P was, to take Sadia’s Diawara’s words, totally different from the previous ones. The last edition was, indeed, the opportunity for Sadia Diawara to analyse and explore human behaviour when confronted to a new and different environment. “The experience of Road Tree’P changes the whole personality of an individual” he admitted to me. Unlike what had been the case for the previous editions, the 2010 one took place without the least incident. The cars did not betray the travellers with unexpected breakdowns or flat tyres. Many trees were planted this year again and lots of sound connections were created with NGOs in the different country visited
on their way south to Mali. The everyday life of the travellers during the trip was regularly illustrated on the website of the association http://roadtreep.over-blog.com/ , thus giving to the unfortunate ones spending their summer holidays in Paris the opportunity to share a bit of the excitement coming out of the Road Tree’P initiative. According to Sadia Diawara many more candidates should take part in the next year Road Tree’P. The initiative should also be an opportunity to study and carry out research on human behaviour outside respective environment.
This new form of mutual exchange and education between different people starts being very much valued by the French associations in the deprived areas of Paris and its wider region. Sadia Diawara is of course a precursor in such initiative. Far from any form of activism that limits itself to discursive debates, this brand new form of activism in the deprived districts of Paris may soon appear as a good alternative to the boredom leading many youngsters to delinquency.
Besides, since the last declarations of the French political spectrum on French citizenship, it seems time has come for most people living in the deprived areas of the French big cities to view themselves more as citizens of the world than as kind of second class French citizens.