Eric Grassien is staging a protest under the Broken Chair to emphasize his plight.
Handicapped and in a wheelchair, the 44 yr old camped under the monumental statue opposite the Palais des Nations in Geneva on Tuesday. Smoking a pipe and looking every bit Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, he told me in French (which I hurriedly tried to decipher with my ‘Conversational French’ book) that he liked it under the chair, but had no home to go to.
The police told me he was evicted from his apartment and after a couple of days they will get social services to find him a half-way house to go to. For now, however, they left him to smoke at a giant wooden table with nothing but a candle, pamphlets and some bread and jam under the giant statue dedicated to remind UN delegates of the destruction of land mines and cluster bombs.
Created by Swiss artist Daniel Berset, Broken Chair had only three legs, the third symbolising loss of limbs from mines left by war. I was very impressed by Eric-what a perfect metaphor for his own situation, if not a little over the top-but hey, what’s a handicapped man have to do to get a home around here?
It turns out Grassien is no stranger to media.
-If any of the facts in this post are incorrect, please let me know. I do not speak French and people who spoke to me, did not speak fluent English. Thanks!