It is the middle of a quiet peaceful night here, but my thoughts are drawn 4,500 miles away, to the people of France and the day they are waking up to live in. In the last 245 years, France has been on the cutting edge of a number of threats to Western Civilization. The French people have faced despotic monarchy, the ‘Reign of terror’, a dictator, world war, fascism, and international terrorism, without ever wavering from their fundamental belief in democracy and human freedom. A handful of zealots can extract a terrible cost, but they will never change the national will of the people who have been tireless supporters of individuality, democracy and reason since the phrase “the Enlightenment” was first spoken.
If you don’t know Albert Camus, take a moment to Google search his name and ‘quotes’ to get a glance at one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th Century. I do not agree with everything he said, but his commentary on searching for meaning and value in a world that seemingly offers neither, deeply resonates with me. Camus was a man of change, he was a pacifist who came to fight in the resistance, a communist who came to hate all totalitarians, an idealist who found ethically defensible ways of living in the real world. Won the Nobel prize for literature at age 44, killed in a car accident at age 46 in 1960.
My personal trident of inspirational French people is Camus, The painter Paul Gauguin, and environmentalist/adventurer Jacques Cousteau. They each played a very important role in keeping French thought and ideals at the forefront of the world stage at critical times. Each of them practiced their ‘art’ with elan and great personal integrity. Far too many Americans have an opinion of France that was provided for them by the media. Before swallowing one, people should go to Arlington Cemetery and learn that our own Tomb of the Unknown is sitting on 2″ of French soil, provided with the greatest of respect, that our nation’s son “Known but to God” who died in France in 1918 would eternally rest with the appreciation of the people of France. Find more thoughts here: French Aviation to be admired.
2 Replies to “Thinking of the people of France”
The caricature of France we are often presented is of course not accurate. A good sense of French sentiment is found in President Hollande’s comments in the immediate aftermath. Such conviction is part of a history of knowing freedom and liberty. People singing the French national anthem as they left the stadium knowing what had transpired speaks to the very center of what they hold good in life. Vive la France!
The French people stood behind our fledgling democracy and helped us gain our independance from England. They have been nothing but our friends eve since even if our respective governments have not always gotten along. We look to 9/11 as the greatest of terrorism events but but the reality is that such an attack would be difficult to repeat and we are relatively safe. Now just look at how many of these everyday terrorist attacks that France has had to endure and you see true bravery in the French people carrying on their everyday lives without bowing to Islamic terrorists. And yes they are Islamic Terrorists even if our current president is unwilling to give them the proper name. They may be corrupting their religion to justify their hate of everyone else but Islam is what links them togather and provides their supposed justification (just as most other world religions have done at some point in history).