Tuesday, 14 July 2009

g(l)ory days

july 14th - bastille day! allons enfants de la bastille, le jour de gloire est arrive... and all that. yup, i always remember bastille day when it arrives, more than i recall indian independence day (which i should identify with more, but there you go) or american independence day (at which time i get invited to an american consulate function, nice of them but usually difficult for me to make cos it's on a week night).

the main reason for this is that i studied french all through high school, up until second year university. and the fact that i did well at it and won various alliance francaise awards over the year helped too. there's nothing like learning a language to help you learn about a culture and identify with it. then there is the fact that i've visited france back in 1998, went to marseilles and to paris, and yes, i absolutely love love love paris. the history, the culture, the architecture, the museums... i could go on forever.

however, at the time i visited france, i didn't wear a headscarf. i wonder if the experience would be different now. it seems the love i have for france is not reciprocated these days, and i wouldn't be so welcome there anymore.

but back to bastille day. i think another reason i identify with it is because it represents the downfall of an aristocracy that was extremely oppressive and irresponsible. of course that downfall was a rather bloody and nasty one, and the replacement regime wasn't any kind of an improvement really. bit like the russian revolution and the chinese one. nonetheless, i have a soft spot for a people's movement, if only because it gives me hope that ordinary people without the resources of wealth and power can make a change to their circumstances through collective action.

what an imperfect world we live in...


i have a post up at the hand mirror about the practice of reclaiming words, if you'd rather go read about that.

4 comments:

Hugh said...

What was wrong with the replacement regime, in your opinion?

stargazer said...

hugh, as i've mentioned to you a couple of times in other posts, i'd much rather you'd give me your opinion on what i've written rather than asking questions. so, tell me, do you think the replacement regime was good or bad?

Hugh said...

Overall I'd say more good than bad.

stargazer said...

despite all the violence? i'd be interested in hearing your reasons cos i don't know the history in depth. just all the stories of the guillotines and the harshness of the new rulers. i guess that's because the elites tend to write the popular histories!