Dear Jean-François (I would like to call you only by your first name because even if I am addressing you, I cannot forget that I am writing in a widely read newspaper in which we must exercise discretion), thank you for your message which follows my column on the feeling of injustice.
In your comment, you invite me to a philosophical reflection on the idea of taking justice into one’s own hands and its dangerous consequences for our society. Well, you’re probably right. But I can’t help but believe that we must listen to this innate feeling of right that we can all feel acutely, especially in childhood. Just look at the dull indignant face of a child witnessing injustice.
And I believe that we must act accordingly, whatever the cost, when we believe that the injustice is blatant and does not concern only our own case (if at all our own situation), but that of a large number of people. There are then many ways to fight against injustice. Mine is pusillanimous: I simply do not have the audacity or the courage to foment revolutions. Most of the time I just write and act timidly, for example by not always paying for my metro ticket or letting the passenger who doesn’t have one pass with me.
I have a problem with the expression: “If everyone were like you!” », generally used in a reproachful tone to implicate a person guilty of a reprehensible act. If everyone started talking out loud in a cinema, the session would turn into a big firestorm of comments about what is happening on the screen, spectators would start giving advice to the actors, laughter would flare up in sad moments and the most vehement would get up to participate in the fights projected on the screen.
It would no longer be a conventional session, but wouldn’t we gain a little human warmth? In Guadeloupe, cinema screenings took place like this until the 1980s, in old column cinemas with arcades eaten away by time. Today, the multiplexes around Pointe-à-Pitre are just as silent as in Bordeaux or Toulouse: the screenings are quiet, the pleasure is cold, polite, purely individual.
If everyone tried to overtake everyone else in the supermarket queue, the fights would be real, very sad and very humiliating.
The outraged expression: “If everyone were like you!” » always restores order in society. Sometimes I wonder if this call to order is done wisely. “If everyone did like you!” », I would tend to sigh with admiration in front of Abbé Pierre or Rosa Parks. The bus boycott in Alabama brought segregationist bus companies to the brink of bankruptcy. It also put an end to a profound injustice.
To return to my previous column, I would not go so far as to say that paid public transport is, in some way, segregationist. I would say that they reinforce a social situation whose injustice is obvious to anyone watching the landscape pass by through the window of a commuter train.
There you go, I can’t go any further in philosophical reflection today. I have appointments and things to do. This morning, a young woman came from Paris to my house (an hour and a half drive!) to have me sign a contract. Over the cup of coffee that I offered her (it was the least I could do in this rainy weather after such a journey), she cheerfully admitted to me that a friend had said to her the day before: “Oh! You’re going to a writer! Take a good look at his library! » My house is still under construction, workers are singing loudly on ladders, my books are all covered in fine plaster dust and piled up in the corners. I was not worthy of the positive image that a young woman has of a writer’s library.
I still gave a few books to my visitor (I let her choose among the recent ones that I had bought and which I didn’t like), and she left happy. Before that, I asked him as I often do at the moment, whoever I was talking to: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” » I really like this question, and when I get enough answers, I will tell you what conclusions I draw about society.
Until then, I take advantage of the work and the swirls of dust around me to force myself to experience patience. This is new for me. I have never been patient. Every time I found out I was pregnant, I dreamed that the child would arrive right away, wide awake, clean and dressed. I wonder what that says about my personality. Finally, here’s a good thing done in the noise and dust: my column is written.