Tuesday, July 8, 2008


In a few days is the 14th of July, french national day. But celebration of what, outside having a bank holiday, heading to holidays completely in stress in the car and fireworks everywhere ? The Fête de la Fédération of the 14 July 1790 was a huge feast and official event to celebrate the establishment of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what people of the time considered to be the happy conclusion of the French Revolution, the outcome hoped for by the monarchiens. Held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, it is commemorated every year by what is improperly known in English as "Bastille Day" (Fête du 14 juillet in French). The Fête de la Fédération in Paris was the most prominent event of a series of spontaneous celebrations all over France: from August 1789, Fédérations appeared in towns and countryside; on 5 June 1790, with lots of individual feasts to celebrate the new state of France, a constitutional monarchy. the National Assembly approved the suggestion by the Commune de Paris to organise a "general Federation". Organised late, it was largely an improvisation. The idea was not to contest the legitimacy of the king Louis XVI, but to show the general will for stable institutions and a national reconciliation and unity. In the words of Jean Sylvain Bailly, astronomer and mayor of Paris: "We suggest that this meeting (...) be sworn on the next 14 July, which we shall all see as the time of liberty: this day shall be spent swearing to uphold and defend it". Charon, President of the Commune of Paris, stated: "French, we are free! French, we are brothers!". yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. All this "we are brothers" thing does not exist in my country. You're happy at a point, you smile but It's not to say "we are brothers". Because Berlin has a big community of French, since there was the army in the city, and some never left and founded family, settling here. Most of them have their home north of the city, in Pankow, where the old french buildings are located. When the army left, they took over the buildings and kept on living there when It was not tranformed in luxury lofts. They had their schools, their supermarkets, their administration, in one word, they could live in complete autarky. They had to adapt with german administration after the wall fell but they still have schools, supermarkets and consulate is not very far. Some other like me decided to play integrity and establish themselves with the german population. If I wanted to live among my people, I would live in France. My status gives me the great chance of being french outside my country and I like it very much. France is still seen as a beautiful place and in a way History gives me privilege of being seen as man with nice manners, who knows how to cook, is able to talk about many subjects and with a free mentality. And they looooove my accent. Next week-end will take place in Pariser Platz (of course) festivities and I'll make soon my programm. I have the intention to meet some of my felows there. Let's see how far "brothers" we are.

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