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Living bound and gagged – an open letter from a parent in Paris


Emily Sands-Bonin, a mother of three, has written the following letter to Martine Wonner, the Deputy to France’s National Assembly from Bas-Rhin, who has been vigorously speaking out against French Covid policy. Martine Wonner’s many ‘saying it like it is’ videos can be found on YouTube here. Her recent documentary You are Killing our Country can be watched here

Explaining why she wishes her letter and Martine Wonner’s rare defiance shared more widely, Emily wrote despairingly: ‘My seven-year-old has to wear a mask to school, and my second daughter is next. Their dance class is now online as are my elder daughter’s cello lessons (Why?) Masking is mandatory in the streets (outside!) as well as inside. We need to fill out an “attestation” to go outside.’

We hope Emily will keep us in touch with developments in France.

Dear Ms Wonner,

I want to thank you for your informed clarity and critical dissent. Since first seeing a video of you at the National Assembly, I now follow your Twitter feed, @MartineWonner. After the release of the documentary Hold-Up, my husband and I have joined the association you founded: BonSens

My heart breaks when I muzzle my seven-year-old every morning before she goes to school. After the announcement of this new restriction, I immediately contacted many associations opposed to the masking/muzzling of children, which provided me with WHO materials to disseminate to fellow parents.

However, when I posted the materials on the WhatsApp group for my daughter’s class, the docility, cowardice and above all, the enthusiastic desire of all of my fellow parents to muzzle their children, to the point of collectively purchasing the same mask (‘en bleumarine’) has left me in despair.

I have watched, horrified, as our liberties (so secure and obvious nine months ago) are jettisoned for illogical, profoundly unscientific laws, which would be laughable if they were not enforced by police and soldiers with machine guns, one of whom, at a rail station, motioned to me to put my mask over my nose.

As a recently naturalised French citizen (my children and I possess dual US-French citizenship), I find the contradictions of life in France in 2020 extraordinary: gullibility and docility are proportionate to the numbers of diplomas a given citizen possesses; punctual, country-wide Saturday anarchy and violence has given way (so very easily!) to silent streets and muzzled citizenry; I fill out an attestation to buy bread, illegal migrants roam the streets decapitating and cutting throats. Do French people, so famed for their enthusiasm for picturesque, sometimes violent revolt, now only care about their vacations or about retiring two years early?

Moral courage is in short supply everywhere these days, but it seems particularly rare in France in 2020. In short, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a voice for those who do not have one. I am sure that I am only one among many who are listening and who are deeply grateful to you.

Emily Sands-Bonin 

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Emily Sands-Bonin
Emily Sands-Bonin
Emily Sands-Bonin is an American-French mother of three. She and her family live in Paris.

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