France at war.
At the end of this week, on July 14th, France is due to celebrate its national holiday of Bastille Day. This will be the 234th anniversary of the fall of the Bastille Prison which was one of the key events of the French Revolution of 1789. With its slogan of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood/Fraternity) this revolution changed the country of France for ever. But did it change it for the better? The monarchy was abolished, the King went to the guillotine with his family, and, in his place, France eventually got the bloody reign of Robespierre. And after that came the endless wars of Napoleon, with this latter declaring himself as Emperor. So instead of a king, the French now had an Emperor. “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”
One has to ask, “Where was the Liberty, the Equality and the Brotherhood in all of this bloodshed and violence?” It would appear to be yet another case of “meet the new boss…same as the old boss.” Or maybe even worse than the old boss. I think Pete Townsend got it just right with these lyrics of his “Won’t Get Fooled Again” song. However, these are the origins of the modern French state.