Posts filed under ‘Neither Here nor There…’

The Women’s March: A Rare (and Wonderful!) Display of Unity Around the World

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My favorite sign from the Women’s March on Paris. (Photo by Christine Nesrallah. Used with permission.)

This is going to be a fairly short post, both because of the other projects waiting impatiently for me on my desk, AND because I know that there are many other posts out there, and that all the amazing statistics from the extraordinary, historic display of unity and harmony expressed around the world on Saturday will be covered elsewhere.

I just want to say how grateful I am to have been able to participate in the Women’s March in Paris on Saturday. I also want to say how grateful I am to the many French women, Frenchmen (and other men), and children who joined us in marching through the streets of Paris to express our solidarity with all those who have already felt slighted, threatened, or otherwise badly treated by the new president of the United States. Your support meant a lot to the American women who were marching in Paris, and it matters a lot also to our compatriots in the U.S. (I know this is true: many of them have already said so to me on Facebook.)

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Me and some of my friends at the Women’s March (My friends don’t really look very nasty, do they?)

I’d also like to say that in addition to the overwhelming feeling of solidarity, harmony, and good cheer that dominated the manif” in Paris the other day, there was also such a lot of creativity in the signs people were carrying. And though (smartphone-less as I stubbornly remain), I did not get pictures of any of them, I did note a few of them that I’d like to share with you verbally:

Thou Shalt Not Grab (I love this one, because it eloquently implies that there are many things one should not grab. I believe this is true, of people, of corporations, and of governments.)

A Woman’s Place is in the Resistance

Women of Paris, Nasty Since 1789

It takes guts to be gentle and kind 

And my favorite one of all (shown above) was Make America Kind Again.

I also want to share a few of the slogans we chanted as we marched:

“SO-SO-Solidarité! Avec les femmes du monde entier!”  and

“No hate! No fear! Everybody’s welcome here!”  and

“C’est la meme colère qui ressent, à Paris et à Washington…” 

and (last but certainly NOT least)

“LOVE TRUMPS HATE!”

Finally I would like to say that despite the hugely successful turnout on Saturday, I’ll bet the powers that be are not exactly running scared yet. My guess is they’re counting on most of us to drop the ball now.

We have to NOT DO THAT!!!! Because while we were marching (and before we were marching) they have already busy undermining our rights, making terrible decisions, and in general wreaking havoc in the world.

And they will continue to do so, and they will hope that we all go back to our busy lives and forget about what they are doing.

I know that it’s not easy to stay on task in this regard, for many very good reasons: but really, as Adam Gopnik wrote last week in the New Yorker, “the best way to be sure that 2017 is not 1934 is to act as though it were.” The full article is here. It’s really good: read it!

And so. We have to become, or become again, or remain, activists. We really have to.

There are many many ways to do that. I would urge everyone reading this post to find a way to figure out what they are for you. There is no doubt someone in your world who can help you get started (and more importantly), help you keep going.

Here’s one good source for help along the way.

In solidarity, I leave you with the text from one more sign I saw the other day. I believe this sign was addressed to those same Powers that Be that I was referring to above. It said:

“Respect Existence. Expect Resistance.” 

Let’s make sure they do both.

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the U.S. and France. She leads book groups at the American Library in Paris, writing workshops in Essoyes, a village in the Champagne region, and teaches “Paris: A Literary Adventure” each summer, in Paris, for Queens College, CUNY.

January 23, 2017 at 5:29 pm 2 comments

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

“I believe–I really, truly believe–that you have the opportunity before you to decide whether to be absolutely the worst president in our history, the one who presided over the destruction of our republic, and the boldest experiment in democracy the world has thus far known. Or the one who seemed like he was going to do that, but then did not…”

Continue Reading January 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm 2 comments

Interview with Siffy and Tor Torkildson, editors of “The Walkabout Chronicles”

“The Walkabout Chronicles: Epic Journeys By Foot” is an illustrated collection of 35 essays about walking. The writers include scientists and archeologists, artists, explorers, and “ordinary people who do extraordinary things…”

Continue Reading November 29, 2016 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

Storing Up Wood for the Winter–in Champagne

The first problem was that I knew basically none of the things one would need to know in order to get wood for the winter. Here is an almost verbatim transcript of the first conversation I had with a friend who was trying to help me figure it out…

Continue Reading October 14, 2016 at 7:28 pm 4 comments

And then they were gone…

Les gens de voyage came here to pick grapes during the harvest…and then they were gone again…

Continue Reading September 27, 2016 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Keeping Immigration in Perspective

“Immigration is not a new story in this country. Almost all of our families came from somewhere else…”

Continue Reading August 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm Leave a comment

A few quotes about love, dreams, perseverance, and joy

Here are a few of my favorite quotes. Words to pick you up, urge you on, words to live by…

Continue Reading October 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm Leave a comment

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