Tuesday, August 28, 2012

François Hollande and French Jewish Memory: Paris marks its liberation, pays tribute to deported Jews

Commemoration of the Liberation of Paris(Adam Chandler)
The very idea of a muscular commemoration in honor of French military prowess defies many of the stereotypes that people tend to heap upon the French. But over the weekend in Paris, muscular is what the city got as it marked the 68th anniversary of its victory over the forces of Nazi occupation in the Battle of Paris.

Outside the Hôtel de Ville, the site of the city’s municipality since the mid-14th century, a series of speakers told the history of the occupation of Paris to a huge crowd including a number of tourists, children, and pensioners–some of whom were among the last remaining veterans of the battle and were dressed in the mothballed uniforms of the famous resistance. A chorus sang battle hymns! The whole of the 4th arrondissement quaked as three fighter jets swooped in low from the Seine in a military flyover. (A gripe: Very little credit was given to the assisting Americans.)

French President François Hollande used his speech as an opportunity to make the parallel between the French struggle against Nazi Germany and the Syrian rebellion against the Assad regime. (A few blocks away from the event, a raucous anti-Assad rally was taking place in a square beside the Châtelet metro stop.) -- Adam Chandler, The Scroll

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