Joyeux Le Quatorze Juillet.
The French proudly celebrate the 14th July to celebrate their revolution for two main reasons. Firstly they see the French Revolution, through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen), as the beginning of human rights. Although I must add, there is massive historical opposition over this which I happen to agree with. Secondly, and more importantly to me, it is the long process of the creation of democracy in France which took over 100 years, arguably almost 200.
Prise de la Bastille.
The path to French Democracy is a case study example of how bloody the path to democracy is. Until 1968 there was no stable form of government in France and since 1789 there have been monarchs, elected dictators, socialist communes and Nazis. Hundreds of thousands died in wars, genocides and famines in the quest for liberty, equality and fraternity so eventually true democracy came to France. There were many steps backwards along the way as well. But actually 200ish years is pretty quick for establishing a democracy, ours took way longer. However, despite the fact that the French people should feel proud in their democracy now that they have it, the way it was established was awful.
La Liberté guidant le peuple.
Democracy comes at a very high cost and its acquisition almost seems to distant for anyone in the West to remember how they got theirs. Of course the subject of democracy is very topical at the moment with Egypt where they seem to be following French history very accurately. Since Morsi has gone there has been a loss of control. The streets are tumultuous where many have died. There is no control because no one will agree to any constitution for the country. What is slowly happening is the takeover of the military. A new Mubarak-lite is the next Pharaoh of Egypt after Mr Morsi, which represents steps backwards. C'est de la folie. Indeed if democracy ever occurred from the Egyptian Spring it lasted from the first election for the assembly to that of the constitution under Morsi and died after that.
La Mort de Marat.
The situation in Egypt like France is going to be one horrible mess which the people of Egypt have to live through in order to have democracy. We cannot give it to them. People don't like systems of government enforced upon them, we restored the monarchy in France and after multiple coups and revolutions it eventually fell. But they can take a good lesson from the French people so that some of the mistakes like electing dictators or staging military coups can be avoided, but perhaps it is too late for that. Maybe one day the Egyptian people will celebrate a national day with the same significance of the 14th July having achieved a state of democracy. We may not even live to see that day, although I jolly hope so because I'm looking forward to the follow up blog article of celebration when it comes.
Napoléon III Empereur des Français
In the mean time Vive La France, Vive La Démocratie and excuse my French.