La chienlit


I couldn’t believe my eyes this week when I saw Air France managers who were forced to flee a meeting about mass job cuts while having their clothes ripped from their backs. Proposed cuts are believed to include 1,700 ground staff, 900 cabin crew and 300 pilots. Airline human resources and labour relations chief Xavier Brosetahe and and Air France Chief Executive Frederic Gageys had their shirts ripped off and had to battle their way through angry crowds. The airline said shortly afterwards that it planned to take legal action over ‘aggravated violence’ carried out against its managers.

imageThe reaction from French politicians has been unequivocal; while the right to strike is sacrosanct in France, violence is pas acceptable. Former French President and hopeful for the next round of elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, referred to the incident as la chienlit (lah she-n-lee), or havoc, mayhem. Curiously enough, it literally means “dog bed.”

imageSarkozy was borrowing a page from Charles de Gaulle who denounced social protests in May 1968 as “la chienlit.” Current Prime Minister Mauel Valls was left to walk the line between defending the right to strike and protest and condemning violence. He and other politicians objected to Sarkozy’s use of la chienlit pointed out that in 1968, the streets were full of violent student protests but that, although reprehensible, the Air France protesters represented an isolated group. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

imageThe Last Great Frenchman: A Life of General De Gaulle

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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2 Responses to La chienlit

  1. Mariaroza Opperman says:

    Hi Patricia
    Quite a shocking report! The French are so cultured. I really appreciate your blog, you cover such a variety of subjects. I feel like I am walking through France in each read. What do you actually do when you work in Paris during the Summer? Hope your daughter is doing well in her studies. Hugs to Cliff & the adorable cats.
    Mariaroza Opperman

  2. Hi Mariaroza,
    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. In the summer, I run a program for students from around the world who come to Paris to study a wide range of subjects. We live in a school right next to the Jardin de Luxembourg. Cliff and Laurien are doing really well, as are the two crazy cats.
    Best to you and yours,

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