In DepthColumnsCongo Brazza via Paris and the l'esprit d'escalier


Posted on Friday, 06 November 2015 16:41

Congo Brazza via Paris and the l'esprit d'escalier

[Overheard today the 16th arrondisement of Paris, one elderly cane-shaking French white man to another elderly French white man]: Une greve ! Regarde-moi ces putains de cons... (a strike! look at those fucking idiots...).

No sir, this was a not a strike.

This was just two protestors from Congo Brazzaville, from Collective Sauvons le Congo, protesting against the idea that President Denis Sassou N'guessou should have a fourth term.

A country whose dictator France has repeatedly propped up, whose oil has flowed into French National Oil company Elf and then Total's coffers, swelling the superb health and pension system on which French people float comfortably. Floating comfortably, while shaking their canes.

This was just two protestors, who have set up a novel demonstration, blaring out police siren noises into the offices of French pan-African magazine Jeune Afrique.

Its an idea borrowed from the US audio assault against Noreaga, where the US Navy Seals played heavy metal music to drive out the Panamanian president from his holy residence in operation Nifty Package. 

Of course, I thought all this too late, with 'l'Esprit de l'escalier' -- that wonderful French expression meaning all the great things you should have said at the time, but only remember when the situation has passed.

Nicholas Norbrook

Nicholas Norbrook

Nicholas Norbrook is Managing Editor of The Africa Report, helping to set up the magazine in 2005. He has been a producer for Radio France International, and has lived and worked in West Africa. In 2011 he won the Diageo Business Reporting award for Journalist of the Year.

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