Since the French Revolution, the French people have dearly valued their right to protest anything and everything they think is unjust, whether it be workers' rights, bad work contracts, support for causes at home and abroad, damage to the environment, or religious or social issues. If it can be protested against, someone in France will be there to protest it. Sometimes, those of us who come from places where protests are less frequent than say, EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR, may wonder if the over-protesting is really doing any good. But however effective each protest may or may not be, and whether or not you personally agree with a particular cause, you have to admire the French spirit in getting out there, in speaking out about something they feel is just plain wrong. They are prepared to go to the mattresses (in "Godfather" parlance) every single time.
For the first time, I'm joining in this French spirit of protest. Not by marching, but through the power of petition. The cause I recently co-founded with my American friend, Lisa Anselmo, has just launched a petition to demand that the City of Paris officially ban the "love locks" from all city bridges, monuments and public spaces. Since it appears that people really are blind to the damage they cause each time they show up in Paris with padlock in hand, and head for one of the beautiful historic bridges, and as efforts to remove the locks have been outpaced by the sheer volume of locks-wielding tourists hell-bent on expressing their "love" no matter what the cost to the rest of us, then clearly the city government needs to be more bold, and to ban this practice altogether.
Our timing couldn't be better to launch this petition: later this month, elections begin for the new Mayor of Paris and a new Paris City Council! We are already reaching out to all the candidates, city-wide, to tell them about our initiative and to ask them to give us their official position on the problem of "love locks", and we plan to share any responses we receive on our web site. By letting the candidates know we're "out here" and that this issue matters to a lot of people -- that's why the petition is SO important -- once the new Mayor (100% chance of this being a WOMAN for the first time, by the way, as the top candidates are both women!) and council are in office, we will be in a good position to deliver our petition and express the people's desire for change.
Our petition is now online at Change.org, in both English and French, and we are eager for your signature. Please choose only one version to sign, however; other languages such as German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese will follow in the coming days. We expect the petition to be available for several months, while we continue promoting it in the French and international press to reach as many people as possible. You can help us, by signing and sharing!
In English: http://tinyurl.com/nll-petition-en
En Français: http://tinyurl.com/nll-petition-fr
If you're on Facebook or Twitter, you can also follow No Love Locks™ and the petition's progress there, and share links to the petition with your social network. The more people know about us and the petition, and the more signatures we can get, the better chance we have at persuading the city government that this is the only way to effect permanent change with regard to this issue. Everything else they have tried has failed, and the problem is completely out of control now. If it was ever about "love", or "art" or "freedom of expression", that is now clearly over; now things are so bad that it's nothing more than vandalism run amok. And if Paris can at last effectively abolish this problem, it will lead the way for other cities who are struggling with the same challenge.
We LOVE love. We want lovers to come to the City of Love. We just hate the locks and what they're doing to our beautiful city. The locks have to go.
Please SIGN NOW, and share our efforts. Thanks for your support.