Letter from the parents of the Tarnac nine

When all the media come together in a cacophony of lies to slander a handful of young people currently languishing in jail it is very difficult to find the right tone with which to call an end to this racket and make room for a little truth.

Many journalists bent over backwards to confirm the statements of the Minister of the Interior, even while the raids were still taking place. Those arrested were assumed to be guilty from the outset.

No one could miss the sensationalist reality cop show that our children have been forced to star in throughout the last week. The anguish, fear, and tears have submerged us and continue to do so. But probably what has hurt us the most, destroyed us the most, is the flood of lies that have been let loose. Today it was our children, tomorrow it could be yours. We are still stunned, but we are no longer paralyzed. The various facts which follow are an attempt to reestablish the truth and to silence the public condemnation.

Our children have evidently benefitted from a special treatment, locked in darkness for 108 hours, some  of them without any charges, and to justify this we are told that they must be very special people, the kind that one doesn’t find on any street corner. Yet at the same time we are reminded that they are actually very normal, for everyday they become more numerous, and take up positions at every one of your street corners.

The police reproach our children being too organized, attempting to provide locally for their basic needs, reopening a village grocery store which had closed down, cultivating abandoned lands, organizing the distribution of food to old people in their area. Is it evil to self-organize for your basic needs? Here, when we have heard wind of crisis? Our children have been categorized as radicals. Radical, in the dictionary, means: taking up the problem at its root. In Tarnac our children planted carrots without bosses or leaders. Because they naively think that life, intelligence and decisions are more joyous when they are collective.

We are concerned to learn from the Minster of the Interior that simply reading the book The Coming Insurrection by the Invisible Committee can make someone a terrorist. As a result of the free publicity the Minister has given the book through speaking of it in the media she risks soon counting 25,000 of them on her territory. For those who take the time to read it, this book is not a “terrorist catechism”, but a political essay which attempts to open new perspectives, and one of last year’s best selling social science books according to the Nouvel Observateur and Libération.

Our children are accused of going to a demonstration at Vichy on November 3rd. Some among us are the children, the grand children, of those deported by the Vichy regime. That our own children have taken the decision to go and physically oppose the functioning of a summit on immigration in this city of such symbolic significance, this fills us with pride, but also with hope and courage.

Let us return to the suspicions leveled against our children. Contrary to what has been said, and what we might think, the sabotage of railway lines did not terrorize the population or put anyone in danger. It simply caused the population to lose or kill time. What did terrorize the government was not the fact that it had to reimburse a thousand or so train tickets, but that an idea of politics, which was also an idea of action, ceaselessly reproduced itself. Sabotage, whether one employs it or rejects it, has never been an arm of terror, but always an arm of social change. There was a time when the CGT [France’s main trade union] called for it.

Bankers are responsible for the biggest economic crisis of the last 80 years. This will not fail to cause millions of people to starve. And we continue to cordially greet our bankers in the street. Our children are only suspected of causing the delay of a few trains, and for that they face 20 years in prison.

The most impressive police operation in the last week was not bursting open doors in balaclavas on a sleeping nine-month-old baby, but rather convincing people that the desire to change such a perfect world could only emanate from the heads of the mentally deranged, of powerful assassins.

When doors slam we feel fear that it is the balaclavas returning.
When they open we dream of seeing our children return.

– the parents of Bertrand, Mathieu, Elsa, Aria and Yldune

PS : we salute and offer our thanks to the inhabitants of Tarnac who prefer to believe what they live than what they see on TV.


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