March 19 2020

Deborah Levy's Postcard Paris

Deborah Levy writes a Postcard from Paris for the New Statesman on her recent trip to that city, before the lockdown.

"Be realistic, ask for the impossible. Take your desires for realities. Well, yes, thankfully these are not sensible words. They are young, hopeful, playful words. I’m guessing that no one really knows what they mean, and neither did the students who graffitied these poetic manifestos on the walls of Paris in May 1968.

There are not many debt-burdened students living under the UK’s present Tory regime who believe that even their most basic desires will become realities – affordable housing, rewarding jobs, the freedom to easily work, live, study and travel in 26 European countries. The dreams of our young people are being crushed like butterflies in the soft white hands of the hard-right purveyors of nationalism versus cosmopolitanism. As if we don’t already know what that sort of atmosphere in the 1930s delivered to the 20th century."

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