The more the crowd is gathered, the less the hubbub sets in. The long rounds of applause which, at regular intervals, go from one side to the other of the Place de la République, in Paris, this Sunday afternoon, two days after the assassination of Samuel Paty, teacher of history-geography at the college of Bois-d’Aulne in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines), cut a cloak of silence for the time of the gathering. A silence that goes well beyond the official minute, triggered from the rostrum by Dominique Sopo, the president of SOS Racisme, co-organizer of the demonstration with the teachers’ unions. same the Marseillaise, sung in stride, will appear murmured, with this cannon effect between the multiple choirs on the square … A few moments earlier, when, from a procession of official cars, the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Education disembark, a teacher spots them and starts booing them, she is quickly rebuffed by her colleagues: “No, no, we mustn’t do that, we ignore it, Blanquer, we will do it another time!” “ A little further, activists of the Red Stylus, a collective of angry teachers born in the wake of the yellow vests, castigate a “Sinister which destroys the school”, but ostensibly choose to ignore it, too.
“The school cries, but is not afraid”
On the Place de la République, teachers are very numerous. Many stay a little away from the square where Bernard-Henri Lévy, Raphaël Enthoven or Manuel Valls jerk their elbows to pose alongside part of the editorial staff of Charlie hebdo. On their signs, the adjectives jostle: “Sad”, “appalled”, “angry”. And this other, again, who proclaims: “The school cries, but is not afraid. ” ” It’s cold in the back, however, says Valentin, 23, who is just starting his career as a life and earth science teacher (SVT) this year. This time, he’s a history-geo teacher, a subject in which we tackle sometimes complicated subjects. But in SVT, I would say that it could have happened to me too. In class, we talk about sexuality, contraception… ” Teachers in Sarcelles (Val-d’Oise), respectively for 30 and 11 years, Nathalie and Morgane abound: “Parents who come to complain about the lessons, it’s a big pressure on the teachers. We were entitled to Charlie and the debate on caricatures, sex education, delusions about teaching masturbation in nursery school… ”
Music teacher in an establishment in the Parisian suburbs, Virginie goes much further, in tune with some of the demonstrators. “I came to claim the values of the Republic, freedom, equality, fraternity, secularism, she explains. Hatred breeds hatred. We have the right to defense, to fight with our values… We must put an end to good thinking so as not to offend anyone. “ Retired after having been a teacher of letters for a long time, claiming to be both Joan of Arc and Louise Michel, Claire joins the fight against “The scam of Islamophobia”, denounced by Charb: “The French left must wake up, she believes. True secularism is not religious freedom, it is state neutrality. We need a cult police to control the power of religions. On the left, we must no longer accept certain alliances. “ Same inspiration for Guillaume, a 43-year-old computer scientist, who manifests, like many others, with one of Charlie hebdoby hand : “I expect strong acts, more intransigence with regard to communitarianism and separatism, he slips. And this case also raises the question of social networks. You can’t decide to attack people like that, hidden behind pseudonyms. We must also be less angelic with regard to certain communities, but affirm our solidarity when there is violence against Muslims. “
“Do not give in to calls to respond to hate with hate”
At the podium, after Dominique Sopo, he called for “Not give in to calls to respond to hatred with hate” , Benoît Teste, secretary general of the FSU, launches a plea under heavy applause. “To the anger, sadness, disarray or astonishment in which the whole educational community is now plunged, we propose a response which must be cohesion around the teachers, around the school’s emancipation mission. We also affirm our support for our Muslim compatriots on whom we can count in this fight. “ In the crowd, a mother carries a cardboard box with the words of Léa, her 6-year-old daughter:“When you don’t like a drawing, you don’t kill people, you make it prettier. “In terms of republican wisdom and the rejection of hatred, this child is undoubtedly ahead …