Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Bastille Day

It is that time of the year again, Bastille Day, the 14th of July, formally called La Fête Nationale and known as le quatorze juillet (14th of July). It celebrate the storming of the Bastille prison on 14 July 1789, the start of the French Revolution, the beginning of the ‘liberte, fraternite, egalite (freedom, brotherhood and equality) era, which meant the end of the Kingdom of France and the beginning of La Republique Francaise. Today, festivities take place all over the country and the highlight is a parade with President Sarkozy in central Paris.

Yesterday I was on the phone with a colleague in Montpellier, Southern France, and he wondered “really, what is there to celebrate? French is disappearing as a world language and the new generation barely speaks English, the pension age unlikely to be changed anytime soon (currently 60, the lowest in Europe), the Culture Minister is openly a pedophile, and last weeks hundreds of millions of cuts were announced to the corps diplomatiques (their foreign ministry and army of diplomats), meaning France will unavoidably diminish its power worldwide. Not to mention how France was a complete joke at the world cup, its main players being haunted by stories they slept with a minor and only last week, the President was exposed as a corrupt out-of-control leader who takes cash in envelopes from old, rich ladies”.

When I tried to interrupt and was thinking of something positive, he continued “oh stop it, I did not even mention the banlieues nor France’s lovely Algerian community, or kids playing the healthy game Le Jeu du Foulard (intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain with the goal of inducing euphoria).”

It made me wonder whether France (considers itself) to be in the worst state in decades. Perhaps it’s time to get the weapons out again?

“Aux armes, citoynes,
Formez vos bataillons,
Marchons! Marchons!
Quun sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons

Vive La France, Vive La Republique Francaise!
Happy Bastille Day