I wrote to the list a while ago, but I'm not sure that my letter got through.
Basically, I am daily translating materials from the ZAD anti-airport community in Notre Dame des Landes, a utopian venture which is currently under massive attack.
If any of you are willing to help with the collective translation effort, do please drop me a line.
My latest translation is attached below. A sad story that perhaps their library will be bulldozed.
[Customary problem of how to translate l'imaginaire...]
With best regards,
ZAD Communiqué – Wednesday 18 April 2018
TASLU CALLS ON THE TROOPS OF THE IMAGINATION TO MOBILISE
This Sunday 22 April, at 2.00pm
For further details about Taslu see:
Ever since 2012 we have been saying that if the state wants to try to control the ZAD again, it will come back with the army. We were not wrong. What has been running since 9 April has been a military operation, with its columns of armoured vehicles and trucks, with its grenades, its drones, its troops. In the middle of the countryside, with the first flowers of Spring, we are in the government's gunsights. Our nights are punctuated by helicopters overhead shining their searchlights into our sleeping places, and alarm signals coming from living spaces that are under attack, and call-outs from our neighbours on walkie-talkies. They have brought their war into our lives, thinking that they can annihilate the life that we live here, in the same way that they would wipe out a foreign army.
But here, despite the destruction, despite the unprecedented violence of their weapons, we do not bend to their will. In the place of the rout they foresaw, what they are seeing on the contrary is thousands of people flocking to join us. Because you don't put the tanks against people without summoning up the images of great moments of popular resistance: from Prague Spring to Tiananmen Square. Always the powerful underestimate the courage of the people. Their military thinking has no way of understanding the strength of a shared emotion. They have missed a most basic fact: their very presence here has triggered a power that is now increasing. And of course, the only answer that a military mind can have in a situation like this is to double their firepower – the threat of all-out war.
So last Friday the Prefect announced a ten-days truce of destroying living spaces. But this was only to ram down the throat of the movement her "Declaration Form for Individual Agricultural Projects". She has given each of us until 23 April to sign it, otherwise everything left standing in the ZAD will be swept away by the bulldozers. The state has so far categorically refused the collective project that the movement has been proposing. It seems that even the simple word "collective" has the state wheeling out its tanks. An allergy that is perfectly understandable in these times when each space is supposed to have its function, each individual his or her defined task, with everyone and everything well separated from each other.
For them, the countryside is for agriculture and that's it. Books, concerts and debates belong in the city. Simple as that! That a corner of the countryside has been able to develop such an interweaving of links and activities, without putting classificatory barriers between them – what a scandal! The fact that everyone here is a little bit peasant, a little bit artisan, a little bit poet, a little barricade-builders, without a single destiny, what a mess! The Republican order that they're so fond means that everybody's houses have to be neat and tidy, in order better to control them, even if that leads only to sadness and boredom.
It happens that in the Taslu library, we like to cultivate a bit of disorder. There is poetry in among the politics, and comic books next to philosophy. And, horror of horrors, we have no "agricultural project", let alone "individual". Ask yourself, what would an "individual library" mean? We're not after a plot of land, we can't boast degrees in agro-economics, and we have no produce to sell. It seems that spiritual food doesn't count in the state's basket of human requirements. So, like so many others here in the ZAD, we are expecting the government to send its armoured cars against us in the coming week. Because in the absence of any credible way of exiting this crisis for the ZAD community, everything leads us to think that they will come to finish their dirty work, and launch a second wave of destruction even more massive than the first.
Last Sunday we gathered to collect the sticks and staves that we had planted in the field on 8 October 2016. On that day thousands of you also brought a book to the library.
On Sunday 22 April, we ask all of you who for a year and a half have come to the Taslu, for talks or events or whatever, to come together at 14.00 hours at the Rolandière. We will raise an army of a different kind: the troops of the imagination. In your backpacks, along with your teargas antidotes, you will bring a short piece of text that talks about resistance. We shall read them together in the face of those who threaten us, and erect barricades of words so that the courage of past insurrections, whether in poems or novels, will give us hope in the oncoming battles.
Together we will save the Taslu, together we will save the ZAD.
To facilitate the organisation of the day, you are asked to let us know that you are coming, and let us know about the piece that you want to read.
Contact us at: [log in to unmask]