21 November 2007

Rail Sabotage is the Perfect Lesson in Etymology

I was struck by how appropriate this all was. From an article in the NYT about the ongoing transit strike here in France, we learn,

As a national transit strike stretched into its second week, arsonists disrupted high-speed train service on four main routes today. Government officials called the disruptions a “coordinated act of sabotage.”

The early morning outbreak of fires among the electrical lines supplying the high-speed TGV trains happened hours before talks began between transit union and government officials...

The sabotage — a distinctively French word coined in railway strike of 1910, when workers destroyed the wooden shoes, or sabots, that held rails in place — took place at the start of the morning commute.

How appropriate!

The article says that "there is no end in sight", but at least service is slowing coming back on line. I even took the metro once today. It wasn't crowded.

It's also interesting the level of fervor present in French unions (assuming that they were behind this). Perhaps it comes from the fact that union members, along with any other supporter of leftist politics, are called "militants" here. Just can't give up on the good old days of Communism I guess. For more on that, look here.

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