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French city backs off sick idea to label homeless

December 5, 2014

The city of Marseilles wanted homeless people to wear this symbol.–

French health authorities in the port city of Marseille, France, are being called a lot worse than just insensitive after trying to get city’s homeless population to wear an identifying symbol, reminiscent of the stars, triangles and other marks that Nazis made “undesireables” wear during the darkest days of the Second World War.

Pick a card; any card. Okay, maybe not this card!

The "Carte de Secours" front and back. --

The “Carte de Secours” front and back. —

La Carte de Secours” or emergency heath card was recently distributed to 300-or-so homeless people in Marseille. The back side listed each person’s name, social security number, health status and chronic diseases. The card was supposed to be worn on clothing so the front side, featuring a bright yellow triangle, was clearly visible.

Wednesday, December 3, about 100 people protested in front of the Marseille town hall and voiced their outrage about the cards; not only the way they resembled the Nazi-era badges that Jews and homosexuals (among many others) were forced to wear but also the way the cards violated the confidentiality of people’s medical information.

Even as the health card scheme was being scrapped, the official responsible for bringing it forward, defended the city’s good intentions.

Xavier Mery, one of Marseille’s deputy mayors and in charge of helping the city’s homeless, explained:

“Our original aim was to find a way to identify people living on the streets, and who often have their documents stolen. They are free to take it or leave it and on the face of it most of them are happy enough with this card”.

The Carte de Secours system is actually eight years old. It was created in 2006 by Philippe Grivolas, a bus driver from Avignon, France, after his wife almost died due to her undisclosed allergy to morphine.

Grivolas explains that he selected the shape of the triangle because it is reminiscent of a traffic sign.

No surprise authorities in Marseille, France, turned to a French product but here in North America we have something called a MedicAlert bracelet. This is a discreet bit of metal a person can wear around their wrist that can be engraved with simple medical information, such as health conditions or allergies to medications to alert paramedics and doctors in the event a person cannot speak for themselves.

Good idea n’est-ce pas?

You know, I  love France; I really do. Sometimes I love the fact that it’s an ocean away from me. Marseille, France, in particular is still about 8,561 kilometres away from Vancouver, B.C. Click the images to enlarge them.

One Comment
  1. Rich permalink

    People who make other people homeless deserve divine revenge. I really don’t like who did this to me.

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