Paris, city of glamour and romance

The article below appeared in today’s The Guardian newspaper. 2,000 migrants and refugees sleeping rough in the streets of Paris.

You see them huddled along the sidewalks of the Champs-Elysées, “the most beautiful avenue in the world.”

You see them sleeping all over the city, in tents or out in the open. A few months ago and early in the morning while crossing the elegant Place St. Augustin in the 8th arrondissement, I had to step over two migrants sleeping on the pavement.

This is the new Paris.

Every day on my way to work, I pass individuals or whole families begging. Just yesterday, on my way to Monoprix to do some grocery shopping after work, I passed a migrant family standing in front of my local boulangerie. “Aidez-nous“, the woman said (Help us). “Can you buy us a baguette?”

In a totally callous manner, I walked on and ignored them. Help them?, I said to myself. Who do they think I am, the Red Cross? It’s governments who should be helping them. We didn’t create this mess. They did.

Yes. It has come to this. Utter disregard, indifference, and heartlessness towards the hundreds of thousands (millions, no doubt) of migrants flooding into Europe. Why the indifference? Cold, hard cynicism. And the sheer, overwhelming number of them.

Right now as I sit typing this post, many of the people responsible for this human migrant tragedy are gathering in Hamburg, Germany for the 2017 Group of Twenty (G20) summit. Many of the people responsible for this tragedy gathered at past G20 summits, one in particular the Los Cabos Foreign Ministers’ summit of 2012, attended by “Hawkish Hillary”, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

2 thoughts on “Paris, city of glamour and romance

  1. It’s a difficult time to be a human citizen. I live in a community where there are no migrants or refugees, at this at this point in history. But I wish I could do more, apart from giving money to the UN, Oxfam, etc. Yes, I believe governments should do more. We need them to do more. But in the interim while policy is developed, the slow wheels of change are greased and made ready? People go hungry. In my research on my own family history, I know people helped them a hundred years ago. So I want to return the kindness now. But I also speak as person whose community is quiet and so far at least, not a haven for those who need a place to sleep, a meal….

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