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Nathalie Ragheb May 23, 2012
Original French Text: http://nragheb.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/monsieur-charest-je-vous-aime/
Today, everything became obvious. I can’t pretend any longer.
On my way home from work earlier, I came across all these groups of people making this terrible racket with pots. It put a really big smile on my face. Young people, not-so-young people, children, all armed with their pots all the way over to the church square next to my place. The pleasure in hearing this clamour and in witnessing such heartwarming community spirit, I owe it all to you.
I love you because I find you very strong in standing up to the students without flinching, in keeping your cool as if it ain’t no thing. It’s good for them. As minister of Youth, you succeeded in mobilizing them and getting them interested in politics. Really, that’s so impressive. They deplored it for so long, but you’ve shaken off their apathy and proven that a politician can reach the youth. You are brilliant.
I love you because thanks to you, my city has launched its festival season much earlier than usual. We’ve been fortunate enough to witness waves of humans, joyful and united crowds, full of colours and sounds, bringing together people of all ages, of all origins, of all socio-economic backgrounds. Drivers are even smiling at pedestrians and vice versa. You are really rallying the people.
I love you because you have known to give really plum roles to women in your cabinet, and to prove that there’s a place for women in the highest positions of power. You’ve even gone so far as to eclipse yourself so that they might shine with all their might. Your way of fighting discrimination, for example, is admirable. You are gender equality incarnate.
I love you for all you are doing for culture. Not only are you stimulating the economy with your Plan Nord, you are stimulating artists, actors, musicians, writers, to take a stance and to sign their names to a cause. Moreover, you are inspiring songs, poems, illustrations, montages, the ingenuity of which is so delightful that one could spend hours indulging in them. You are so many talented people’s muse that I’m blushing at even daring to tell you of my love.
I love you because you’ve succeeded in this tour de force of helping us get out of the debate over the tuition hike by broadening the question to encompass the very meaning of democracy. You have opened exchanges on subjects as varied as the relevance of our police force, our academic, judicial, governmental institutions, the quality of our media outlets, and the real value of an opinion survey. It’s been a while since we’ve read so many intelligent, well structured and opinionated texts. We’d even forgotten about the merit of critical thinking in our society. You’ve placed it front and center and have given back the noble cause to university and salon intellectuals. You are a great debater and your courage knows no bounds.
I love you because the movement that you’ve instigated has echoed across the world. It’s the envy of all those whose hearts beat for fairness, justice, democracy, and the common good. You’ve succeeded in attracting global attention to Quebec and have contributed towards giving hope to all the movements contesting neoliberal ideology that are stirring up in the West. You are a great builder.
I love you because you have remained humble, despite all these accomplishments. Not once have you tried to hog the cameras so as to take the credit for all that you’ve done. You never attempt to steal the spotlight from your ministers. This humility is so touching that I’m still blushing at my boldness.
On the news, I’d seen you striving to rebuild the Progressive Conservative party, all alone after a major disappointment – one that no pollster at the time had predicted. I then saw you arrive with great pomp at the National Assembly to fight with titans such as Lucien Bouchard. After having witnessed the failure of the 1995 referendum, I couldn’t even stomach watching the news as I was trying so hard to avoid reports about you. Since you ascension to power in 2003, I avoided all media outlets.
I now understand that it’s due to the emotions I was afraid to feel when seeing images of you. I could never thank you enough, Mr Charest, for having insisted on bringing you back to my attention. As Michel Rivard said at the massive protest on May 22, I’d fallen asleep on my dreams. You awoke me.
Incidentally, I was interrupted my writing in order to drop by the pots protest that was going down the street next to mine. I said hi to all my neighbors, waved at the hundred-odd protesters; it really made me feel good, you know, all that you’re doing. It’s creating a feeling of belonging, it gives us the urge to believe in something better.
Pardon my insolence, Mr Charest. I’ve lost the habit of holding back, of thinking about reasonable questions, of writing. I perhaps appear to you to be awkward or inconvenient, but I had to tell you. I love you.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.