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.