Franck Biancheri
Newropeans Magazine
July 20, 2008

Under this nice feminine firstname, Edwige, lies a brutal and ugly political reality : a police database of a scope and nature unseen since Petain’s regime.

Using the drowsiness of summer, without any public debate nor legislative discussion, the French government is adopting the use of a police database aiming at a retrieving information on all kinds of activists involved in politics, unions, NGOs, religious groups, … since the age of 13 (!) and without any limitations in the range of information collected, nor any time limit in keeping the datas.

This is what is happening next to the celebration of the French Revolution, in Sarkozy’s France. Even the infamous Patriot Act in the USA does not go that far!

Behind the bling-bling operations like the Union pour la Méditerranée, doomed to fail since its inception because of its lack of consistency, and the outrageous ‘défilé de dictateurs’ for the 14th of July on the Champs Elysées, the European citizens must be aware that the current chairman of the EU is a great son of Petain, rather than a heir of General De Gaulle.

Submission to the powerful, merciless for the weakest, fascination for money and pomp, obsession for police control and summary justice,…. here are the key features of the current president of the EU, Nicolas Sarkozy, as the French painfully discovered in the last 14 months, explaining why no more than 20% of them now find anything positive in his tenure of power.

With Edwige, the French authorities go one step further down the road of a Petain-style French state (‘l’Etat français’ as it was called by these archenemies of the Republic, of its laicity, of its pretention to tame the powerful and give the voice to the people). With Edwige, French police forces, which have not asked for such a tool, are pushed towards becoming closer to the vile ‘Milice’ which was focused on arresting freedom fighters rather than criminals.

Let’s think one minute of what can be the use of collecting and keeping data on citizens whose main characteristics is to be active in society, within NGOs, unions, political parties, since the age of 13. Preventing terrorist attacks? Preventing criminal acts? Very unlikely as anywhere in the democratic world, citizens who are very active in their communities tend to be the best defence for any antisocial behaviours.

So, let’s search in another direction, and the fact of starting the data collection from 13 years old gives us a terrible clue: Sarkozy’s government wants to file all potential social and political activists since their very first years. Not to protect them or to help them of course. But to be able to influence them when possible, to press them if needed and to threaten them when required.

No doubt that in the Place de la Condorde’s tribune on the 14th of July, Nicolas Sarkozy got some good advices on how to manage such a database from his dictators friends. Assad, Mubarak or Ben Ali for instance do know very well how to control activists, jail and torture opponents.

If it was a shame for France to get this bunch of dictators for the anniversary of the Revolution, it is now undoubtedly a danger for the French people and French democracy to have Edwige coming into force in coming weeks. And it is a direct threat for all European citizens and democracy as a whole in the EU to have a national politician with such projects at the head of the EU.

On this continent, democracy will only survive and prosper if we fight for it at the European level, otherwise, our small national democracies, already weakened by the EU increasing powers, will end up being infected one after the other by the antidemocratic forces awakening in one or the other country.

Sarkozy is not alone. Have a look at his friend Berlusconi who now plans to collect data on all Italian citizens … in order to avoid that doing so only for the Roms will make it illegal in a European context. You get the process : use the opportunity of some popular emotions, propose a freedom-killing proposal, then extend it if any opposition surges and try to pass it through the EU channels to make it a trans-European law (like the recent 18 months detention for illegal immigrants).Then contamination ensues throughout the EU.

We must stop these trends with all our forces if we want to ensure that Europe and Democracy will be compatible in the future. And a crucial method in order to do so is to do it on the European level, preventing our national leaders to concoct on a national level their antidemocratic viruses before they inject them into the EU system. The most important political playing field of the coming years is the European one. This is where our democratic future will be shaped, for the best or for the worst.

Regarding Edwige, a group of French associations has recently launched a petition to oppose Edwige. I just signed it as president of Newropeans, with the authorisation of the Newropeans Board of Directors.

And with Newropeans we believe that citizens, associations, unions, religious groups, and political parties from all over the European Union should also sign this petition, in order to show that we all feel like a 13 year-old potential social or political activist!

Don’t forget that this is about our children and their future ability to act freely within tomorrow’s Europe. Time to act is therefore now! Let’s sign the anti-Edwige petition from all over the EU!

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