black square on red square

May 18, 2012 @ 11:55 · Normand Baillargeon
Original French text:

“When the truth is not free, freedom is not true.”

“The truths of the Police are today’s truths(*).”

- Jacques Prévert

From now on I shall be wearing a black square. [Update: without taking off the red one, of course. Together, they make a very nice flag.]

I shall wear it first in solidarity with the young people who were pitilessly humiliated, beaten up, clubbed, and gassed, and to never forget what was done to them.

I shall wear it to remind me that I mourn democracy, to say to all men and women the sorrow I feel at the sight of what now resembles more, and I weigh my words, to an association of evildoers than a Government, to a gathering of mafiosi gangrened with corruption and around which floats, infallible, the nauseating smell of scandal and contempt for civil society.

I shall wear it to remind me that I was lied to when assured that the debate on tuition actually took place: students and professors in fact withdrew from the bogus consultations organized by Liberals and during which the issue could not be treated serenely; and to remind me that this government later refused to discuss this question fully and seriously, something that only Estates General [on education] can achieve.

I shall wear it to remind me of the efforts [the government made] to dissolve the political into the judicial.

I shall wear it to remind me your too long maintained refusal to negotiate and, when that moment finally came, your unshakable refusal to address the questions raised by the students on strike.

I shall wear it to remind me that I mourn deliberative democracy, assassinated by opinion makers I cannot bring myself to call journalists and whose excessive language has far exceeded anything I have seen in all my life.

I shall wear it to remind me these non-probability surveys which have been, and it is a shame, the best that was offered to us as part of our democratic conversation on such an important issue.

I shall wear it also to mourn these words of language that have been abused lately: strike, democracy, accessibility, and to never forget that these perversions of language consisted in turning a collective and political issue into a private, mercantile and economic affair.

I shall wear it for the freedom of expression, association and demonstration that this iniquitous emergency bill stabs in the heart.

I shall wear it in solidarity with my libertarian fellows who are humiliated, beaten, clubbed, and gassed, like the others, but are also calumniated on top of it.

I shall wear it to remind me the great and noble hope that anarchism has never ceased to bear: that of a free, democratic and egalitarian society without illegitimate power, to remind me this ideal that I love infinitely and which the people who spit on it today clearly know nothing about.

I shall wear it finally and above all to remind me that young people, for a moment, here at home, have embodied this ideal: and that if governments come and go, this ideal will never die.

I shall from now on be wearing a black square.

And I invite you to wear one in turn: the reasons to do so are not lacking, unfortunately.

(*) “Vérites de la Police”, impossible to translate play on the words “vérités de La Palice”. A “vérité de La Palice” is a French expression for what constitutes a truism. Read about the origin of it here:
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.

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