Friday, March 6, 2009

The Sorbonne - the beat goes on

A block away perhaps a thousand riot police surrounded the main buildings of the Sorbonne. All the doors were shut and manned by the riot police with 23 students inside effectively keeping out thousands of others. I ran into a couple of sympathizers one bearing a Communist insignia on his sleeve and Lenin pins on his lapel. He explained to me that France was in a perpetual revolution since their Revolution of old, and that the communists had the answers for the people. Right! Another guy said that the will of the people was paramount but he couldn't explain what that was. I told him I had spent 12 years in Ukraine and was not impressed by the after effects of Communism. I mean, Stalin starved, worked to death or killed about 7 million Ukrainian farmers in the name of farm collectivism. The pictures above depict the enormity of the Sorbonne, protestors banners ("The Sorbonne is a political animal."), communist sleeve patches and riot police. This activity is really a distraction from the real problems here but there are many who believe that the French Revolution should never end. Shalom from Paris. David Schneier

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Takeover at the Sorbonne and Ukraine teeters on the edge

Publish Post

Tonight, just blocks for our home, students took over some classrooms at the Sorbonne to protest against rising tuition costs and some new restrictions on professors. I asked one student how much tuition was per year and they told me 700 Euros or about $875. If this sum is accurate they don't have a clue what a deal they are getting. I just read that GW University (room, board and tuition) is running about $50,000 a year! Not sure what the French professors might be in for - maybe some rules about working.

In Ukraine, protests begin to grow in Kiev about the state of the economy or lack thereof. According to the "(a) sign held by .... an unemployed plumber camped out with other antigovernment demonstrators here in the past week, summed up the pervasive frustration: 'Get rid of them all,' it said. (He) did not hesitate to take that further. "There will be a revolt," he said. "And people will come because they are just fed up." A picture of a run on a local bank and the desecration of the grave marker of Rabbi Schneerson (who before he died lead the ultro-Orthodox Lubuvacher movement and who was considered the Messiah by his followers) is a grim reminder that anti-Semitism always rises in hard financial times in Europe. Keep up the prayer for France and Ukraine. Shalom. David Schneier
[The bank photo and quote is by Joseph Sywenkji for the New York Times (3/2/09) and the grave marker photo is from CFCA, 2/26/09].