I almost fell out of my tree with disbelief when I learned earlier today that the annual "bal populaire" in honour of France's national day, known as Bastille Day in the English-speaking world, in London had been cancelled this year. Apparently the local Powers That Be decided that the general security situation was too dangerous just now, and so decided to abandon the festivities.
What spineless, timourous muppets.
Think of the words that are usually daubed all over the place, amongst the piles of red, white and blue paraphernalia: "Liberte, egalite, fraternite". Those are pretty close to being the very things that the people who orchestrated the bombings in London last week disapprove of. There could be no much greater show of defiance, no more conspicuous display of scorn than to have a great big, loud party, full of not only French but also British and others celebrating these great ideals. I say ideals because obviously France slips up on "Liberte, egalite and fraternite" with some degree of regularity, but at least there's a collective sense that those are the things that people believe in. But the officials decided that it was just too dangerous to make a demonstration of this. Surely that should be for the people who want to attend to decide?
Don't give in to this officially-sanctioned fear. This evening, go out and celebrate these ideas derived from the Enlightenment. They may be high ideals that we'll never quite attain, but they are pretty much what the West and friends believes in, they are universal values not just for the French but for everyone. So don't let a bunch of terrorists and two-bit officials scare you into subdued mumbling in front of sensationalist news reports.
Tonight, go out and have a drink, a laugh and a dance for Liberte and sod the fear-mongers!
Joyeux 14 juillet a tous et a toutes!