WHAT a sad scene in the famous French capital’s iconic avenue, Champs Elysées, owing to the destruction of properties recently despite Paris Municipality’s efforts to clean up the avenue described as the ‘most beautiful in the world’.
Scores of shops were damaged – from the ‘Palace Charles de Gaulle’ junction, historically known as the ‘Place de l’Étoile’, where the Arc de Triomphe immortalizes victories of Emperor Napoleon I, down to the public square ‘Place de la Concorde’ where Luxor Obelisk and Tuileries Garden are located, in addition to several cases of arson and looting.
Famous shops such as ‘Le Madrigal’ café – the favorite joint of rich Arabs, jewelry shop ‘Swarovski AG,’ ‘Albany,’ ‘Nespresso’ café built several centuries ago and many others were affected.
The glamorous façade of these shops faded away and were covered with wooden plates, which were not also spared by the Yellow Vest protesters who plucked them out to use them as shields or to burn them.
Besides shopping and hanging out in its exquisite cafés, a new trend of tourism has emerged along Champs Elysées – taking photos of the destruction – which hit this avenue within a day.
Security agencies with not less than 5,000 riot police were unable to stop this destruction of properties and it appears the matter got completely out of hand.
This is explained by the extent of damage, in addition to vandalism and looting by the far-left group operating outside the law.
Peculiar and surprising at the same time is the heat being felt by President Macron together with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner regarding this matter.
Pictures of Macron on a ski holiday on the mountain range of “Pyrenees” while Champs Elysées is burning agitated the public, who were further agitated by video clips of the Interior Minister dancing in a discotheque a day after the protest and violence broke out.
However, the French officials did not stand with hands closed. The Prime Minister did not hesitate in acknowledging there is ‘fault’ in the security agency; while the Interior Minister saw that it reached the level of abject ‘failure’. He quoted the President saying that the only way to deal with the violence is “security response”.
He called for a special meeting with the French Senate and the ministers of Interior and Economy. The government moved rapidly to take decisive measures, first of which was sacking the police chief of Paris. This means the government bore responsibility of failure to deal with the protesters.
Four months ago, Kuwait experienced heavy rainfall which exposed scandals, violations and corruption in several government institutions in this filthy rich country, while its people and its officials continue to endure the ‘rain’ which falls 10 times in neighboring and poor countries.
However, the roads in such countries did not endure even a ‘tenth’ of what our devastated roads endured due to some of our officials who are with oozing corruption.
Four months have passed without repairs and all that the people of this country have received so far are statements from HH the Prime Minister, Interior Minister, State Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Public Works Minister about combating corruption and punishing the corrupt. This is in addition to promises to repair damaged roads by the end of this year.
Even if these promises are fulfilled after a long wait, we are still not certain that the errors will not recur.
Hands dripping of corruption among those who supervised and executed our devastated roads in the worst way possible due to bribes and handouts entering their pockets and then killing their conscience are still living amongst us, including others such as owners of companies who feed on graft.
These are the same people who will participate in fixing what they had broken. Nonetheless, what we are asking is almost impossible. All we can say to our officials who condemn corruption and those calling for punishing the corrupt is that we are still barred from dreaming about some of the measures taken by the French authority.
We have not and we will not receive anti-corruption measures from you except words, promises that have yet to be fulfilled and procrastination!!?
We are helpless, only Almighty Allah can provide strength!
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil