What does it mean to study politics in Paris? it’s the first time this question strikes me, after my four months living the “Parisian” life. I can only be sure that there is no one answer to this.
Study Politics in Paris means immersing oneself in the birthplace of the most distinguished political thinkers, writers, of Zola, of Rousseau, of Hugo, speaking their languages, walking down those alleys that they have walked, seeing things that had once inspired them, bemused them, challenged them.
Study Politics in Paris means weaving oneself in the continuation of what can be considered a long and complicated history. It means having the chance to be first-hand witness of COP21, of November 13 attack, of those historical moments that might change humankind forever.
Study Politics in Paris means feeling everything around and even elsewhere as real as blood running under one’s skins, to feel that it is part of one and one’s senses. That one laughs or cry is because it happens. You might have had walked the same path. I have never felt it until I had my first politics lesson in France. I have never felt the grip of frustration so strongly before about my country’s politics. Neither had I cried over my country’s plight.
Study politics in Paris means having your ideas challenged and your horizons stretched, means being overwhelmed by knowledge. It means getting frustrated when no one bothers to question you, to criticise you.
Study politics in Paris means sighing it out from all the suffocated moments on metros, means buffing through cigarettes the bureaucratic red tapes, means marching a demonstration in chilly winter afternoon for whichever causes one is passionate about or simply caught up with.
Study politics in Paris means learning and always having things to learn from everyone around, from all walks of life, by talking, by observing, by listening to them. It means learning from those guys selling hot corns by Saint Denis station, from women donned in fur coats striking down boulevard Saint Germain de Près, learning what brought they here, why they become who they are.
Study politics in Paris means talking politics in between kisses. It means all the feminism, capitalism, and whatever isms he or she rambles about makes one hold that guy/girl across the bed longer.
Study politics in Paris means being empowered and being belittled at the same time. It means strongly feeling it’s one’s responsibility to save the world someday just to realise someday later that after all one has learnt, one might be still nothing, in this vast limitless world.
Or it simply means sitting in a park guarded by leafless chestnut trees, letting your mind wander for a moment and suddenly feeling damn lucky because you are here, spending the most beautiful days of your life, right here, right now, in Paris.