Tuesday, 17 November 2015


France French National Flag

Public feeling for France is unprecedented in my adult recollection.

Three days ago, I made the tiny gesture of putting red, white and blue stripes on Conductive World's Facebook page:

The French tricolor is now everywhere on Facebook.

British politicians are even risking all and speaking a little French in public.

Even further, today there is a friendly football match between England and France at Wembley Stadium. The words will be displayed on big screens and copies of La Marseillaise will be distributed to the the crowd, so that English football fans can sing along in solidarity when the French National Anthem is played:

I have always found La Marseillaise a uniquely moving national hymn. Like so many such it has some pretty dubious words but in combination with that tune: Wow!

Historian Simon Schama has just been talking on BBC Radio 4, analysing why it has that same effect for him. He concludes that, never mind the specifics of what the words say, the impact comes from its revolutionary, youthful defiance in the face of awful adversity.

I was pleased to hear Simon Schama's favouring my own all-time personal favourite rendition, from Casablanca:

Vive la France!: What more can one say?

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