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On the occasion of International Women's Rights Day , I have a lot of joy, and quite a bit of emotion too, to introduce you to Louise [Bouchain], my friend, my sister at heart.

It is fortunate that this International Women's Day , decreed by the UN, has been transposed in France under the name International Women's Rights Day, rights in the plural and that changes everything. It is not a question of adding one more folkloric day to the agenda, which smacks of marketing or cheap symbolism. In the genre we already have Halloween, Black Friday or Valentine's Day... we deserve so much more, including defending our rights. To do this, Louise made it her profession, she is a lawyer.

We have known each other since early childhood. We attended Ave Maria, our neighborhood school, which, as its name does not indicate, was secular, republican and mixed. She still is.

The joy and cries of the flock of sparrows that we were, resounded at recess, between the gray rubble walls of the courtyard.

Inside, Madame Salfati, the Director, maintained a good-natured, attentive and available discipline. Always dressed to the nines, Madame Salfati possessed the aura and attributes of the position, but I suspect today of having been and still being an unconfessed hypersensitive and I know my way around flushing out HSP syndrome. I would be moved if you read these lines, Dear Madame Salfati, Louise and I have not forgotten you.

Come Saturday, we were princesses or Tinkerbells at each other's birthday parties, birthdays all the more numerous and easy to organize as the 4th arrondissement of Paris is a sort of village in the middle of the big city. Our childhood was happy, then I mentioned the end of adolescence in my book:

“[…] However, shortly after the baccalaureate, we moved away, falling out perhaps, for reasons that neither she nor I would be able to verbalize with certainty today.

Learning that the K had bitten me badly, Lou resumed contact with me, without calculation or obligation to inventory the things gone. I wiped away a tear of happiness when I found her that year.” Since then, we haven't left each other.

Today, Louise is a lawyer, committed, very committed, passionately committed. When she took the oath of office in 2012, she vowed to “exercise [her] functions with dignity, conscience, independence, probity and humanity” . Far from being a grandiose and solemn formula, it is a reason for being, an ethic of action, like a beacon in the darkness and Louise has chosen to penetrate this darkness to track down all the miserable failings, small and great, of the human soul, with its share of cowardice and unbearable violence.

With her friend and colleague Valentine Rebérioux, who is naturally of the same caliber, Louise founded Pisan, their law firm. Welcome girls to the world of entrepreneurs, full of stress and overdue cash flow! The stars of the bar who appear on TV are only a flashy veneer which should not obscure the self-sacrifice of the vast majority of those who practice their profession like monk soldiers. On the other planet than the star system, the anonymous people still have the flame and the causes to defend at all costs.

There is no shortage of them! Louise has always sided with the victims. This is how. These are things inexplicably written into the labyrinth of our genetic code. When, for example, around Christmas, a small circus set up its patched tent on the end of Place Morland, Louise and I went there, without enthusiasm, to follow the friends and girlfriends, under the guidance of a father or mother on duty. responsible in turn for accompanying the small troop. Inevitably, the moment came when Pipo the clown got his butt kicked by the Fier-à-bras, to the encouragement and bursts of laughter from the excited pack. The whole pack? No ! At the age of 5, Louise and I were the only ones not to shout. Revolted? Not yet, our political consciousness was then at the zero stage of its formation, but our hearts were on our lips. Pipo the sad clown was an unfortunate victim, that's all. 30 years later, in short, nothing has changed. Satisfied domination, arrogance, injustice erected into a system with enjoyment and cruelty, violence in all its forms... are unbearable to us.

Like an irresistible ethical impulse, Louise therefore defends the victims, wherever they come from. We found Louise supporting the survivors of the Hyper-Cacher at Porte de Vincennes. Terrorism is obviously the acme of unbearable violence. Louise obtained the release of Femens who had not hesitated to exhibit themselves across Trump's convoy on the Champs Elysées. The list of much less media-covered successes becomes copious, because there are other rooted forms of violence which mobilize Louise with a determination which can never weaken: violence against women, in all the corners where it is still as desperately difficult to 'eradicate sexism, harassment, terror, submission, brutality, rape, femicide, like so many tumors from another age.

So the hypersensitive Louise becomes an implacable lawyer. The issue is not just legal, it is a social issue and a fight. She bluntly declares “those involved in the legal world are afraid of being responsible for a tragedy. We have to seize it and maintain the pressure.” Yes Louise! Fear must change sides. This violence is so insidiously ingrained. The cliché of the alcoholic moron who beats up his wife cannot be the tree that hides the immense forest where the others hide, all the others, those apparently very clean about themselves but who are unleashed in the closed doors of a flirtatious pavilion or in the silence of a closed office... The “banality of evil”, to speak like the immense Hannah Arendt in other barbaric circumstances, is no longer an acceptable justification.

A salutary wind has risen and this March 8, on this International Women's Rights Day, we will come together, in one way or another, to demand equal pay, equal opportunities.... equality in everything! Rest assured that Louise will be at the head of this procession.

“We women are half the sky and even a little more.
We mean to be half of everything, not your halves, half of everything.
And above all, above all, be at least half wherever decisions are made.
The world that comes will have to get used to the presence everywhere, the strong presence of our daughters, of your daughters”
-Christiane Taubira