Today had much to do with empty shoes and I hope the photos will explain best.
Been a little lost these past days in Paris. It happens. We vision a very specific outcome from footsteps, and often that isn’t the case. This day a march in the streets of Paris was to happen and it didn’t . Paris the city of Liberty, equality, and fraternity shut down the public’s opportunity to voice it’s overwhelming concern over our world governments position on the climate issue. I’m sorry, but fear isn’t the final word on freedom of assembly, and speech. Twenty-five French March organizers were put under house arrest this weekend. Never mind all the open markets with vendors serving thousands, or the football stadiums with tens of thousands, or the daily grind on the streets which expose everyone to a bullet or a bomb … no, this march was different. Enough said. You know my position.
But here’s the deal, regardless of this unfortunate situation … Something unexpected happened. They created a visual symbol, so poignant a message, that I, and I suspect many others, found they weren’t lost anymore. It was the Place de la Republique filled with empty shoes, and it was authorized by the city as was a single file line of citizens that stretched many blocks down Avenue Voltaire. That didn’t stop the police from lining up scores of paddy wagons and riot police, and as you might expect, when the official event ended and the shoes all packed up for repurposing, the kids took to the streets. The police, their tear gas, and paddy wagons were all put to use.
And what about the Popes shoes? They were bagged and loaded on a truck for the needy with all the others. I wish I could know who will put them use, but I do know in coming days people will recognize the message of those empty shoes, and how people around the globe came together to support the climate movement and the Paris March that wasn’t … Or was it?