Monday, 7 March 2011

The Gnome Liberation Front

Mass Suicide of Gnomes
In September 1998 eleven garden gnomes were found hanging by their necks under a bridge at Briey in Eastern France.
An anonymous source for the Front de Liberation des Nains de Jardin FLNJ, in an emotional interview at the scene was quoted as follows, “I regret and deplore the needless loss of life but this tragic incident is indicative of the deep despair that most garden gnomes feel concerning their many years of oppression by humans! Garden Gnomes are forced to maintain smiling faces, whilst being looked down upon by everyone, and condemned to stay outdoors in all weathers. The humiliation systematically inflicted on them by their owner’s dogs is too terrible to be openly discussed”!

The FLNJ is a non-profit making organisation set up to promote the liberation of garden gnomes by removing them from their owner’s gardens.  The liberated gnomes are then examined by specialists and, if they are in a healthy condition, they are transported to suitable places and released, for example, in the forest, where they can live independent lives free from tyranny and oppression.

It is said by their gnome-owning opponents that the FLNJ and their associates steal the gnomes, but according to the members of the FJNJ it is the act of assembling as a group, entering the gardens at night, taking the gnomes, running away and finally giving them their liberty, which gives meaning and value to the shared experience and not the theft as such. In fact, some assert that the members of the FLNJ take care to put a note in the letter boxes of the owners of the gnomes explaining the aims of the group and informing them where their gnomes can be recovered.  Others deny this, pointing out that it would be returning the gnomes to a life of oppression.

This secret organisation was born in June 1996 at Alençon in the department of the Orne. The first group of the FLNJ stayed active until January 1997 when one of their members was prosecuted. Other groups have proliferated since then and it is claimed that, in this popularly supported underground movement, there are now about 1,700 members and that activists have liberated about 7,800 gnomes. Similar movements have now appeared in neighbouring countries like Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Italy, also in the USA and Canada.  The  liberation of garden gnomes has continued sporadically during the first decade of the 21st century with events reported in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2008.

The most recent act of mass liberation,  which perhaps did not go fully to plan, was reported to the police on 2nd March 2011 when 71 gnomes were found sheltering in a shed in Alençon.

An un-named spokesperson for the shadowy Counter-FLNJ National Task Force said that since the gnomes are co-operating, and show no signs of attempting to escape, they have not been taken to a detention centre, as would normally be the case when “clandestins sans papiers” are discovered, but are helping the police with their enquiries. The latter are, however, progressing very slowly. The spokesperson denied that there was any truth in the rumour that the gnomes, inspired by recent events in the South and East of the Mediterranean, were meeting to prepare for an armed insurrection.

1 comment:

  1. I'gnome'ble!
    Across the channel however the Gnomes feel less oppressed, captivity is just a formality to them and the French have no business making such a fuss (as usual) and upsetting the apple cart, models of which are currently proudly on display freshly painted and in full bloom. (This year's geraniums and petunias have come out splendidly.) British gnomes have dominion over smaller territories where they enjoy the creature comforts afforded to them by captors so devoted they have become the vassals. A gnomes' every need, mainly sartorial, is attended to. Every gentleman gnome needs a yearly coat of paint and, depending on conditions, regularly polished boots. They look upon the Frenchies' actions more as kidnappings than bids for freedom and couldn't think of anything worse than finding themselves amongst untamed bushes and non linear flower beds.