Friday, July 14

Bastille Day

This day is celebrated as the anniversary of the French Revolution in 1789 and as the French national holiday. This despite the fact that the Bastille was hardly a prison at all when it was "liberated" by the Republican mobs which ultimately brought anarchy to the streets and the tyranny of guillotine justice to the Parliament. For the next twenty-six years, the French people were subjected to a host of pillar-to-post horrors: from lawlessness and totalitarianism, from radical egalitarianism to oligarchical imperialism, from Robespierre to Napoleon, from nationalistic isolationism to jingoistic militarism. Bastile Day was in fact, the beginning of one of the darkest periods in the history of Western Civilization. Not exactly the sort of legacy I'd think folks might want to celebrate!

1 comment:

oldfatslow said...

My father was in hospital during his final illness. We were watching the TV news together. Bastille Day celebrations were on the screen. He turned to me and said, "I was in Paris for the first Bastille Day after the Liberation. The Germans wouldn't let the French celebrate it." He paused and then added, "What a night!"