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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 13. September 12, 1957

France's Glory

France's Glory

Allons enfants de la Patric
Le jour de glorie est arrive!
Contre nous de la tyrannie
Letendant sanglant est Ieve,
L'etendant sanglant est leve!

On the 14th July. 1789, the people of Paris captured the Bastille. That date has ever since been held to mark the fall of the Ancient Regime.

The French people have since then never ceased to struggle for their freedom. Often they have lost it, and ever they have risen against their oppressors.

  • 1830—Overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy restored by the Allies.
  • 1848—Overthrow of the Orleans monarchy and foundation of the short-lived Second Republic.
  • 1871—The people of Paris rise against the Prussians and the forces of the established order. The revolt was put down, but the Third Republic established.
  • 1944—Frenchmen of the Resistance of all political colours, after four years of underground struggle, unite in the F.F.I. and co-operate with the Allies to [unclear: capel] the [unclear: Ger]

The memory of these revolutions is cherished by Frenchmen and by friends of France the world over. And the day chosen to celebrate them is the Fourteenth of July.

But times have changed! Although it is only 13 years since the French shook off the worst tyranny they have ever known, July 14th, 1957, was turned into a festival in support of tyranny. "Support our soldiers in Algeria" was the tune called by President Coty, and chorussed in a thousand ways. The main event in the celebrations in Paris was a military parade, in which marched paratroopers fresh from exploits in Algeria. According to the press, they were given a hero's welcome.

What were their exploits? Let some speak for themselves.

"For over an hour I watched the prisoners being brutally treated: kicks, blows with the butt in the stomach, ribs and neck. Three die on the spot. The others were she in the evening, I learn." These prisoners, 40 of them, were only suspects.

"We killed an old man of seventy who had climbed a tree to pick figs. The report called him a sniper hidden in a tree,"

But not all gave these "heroes" a cordial welcome. Some Algerians fired on the parade with revolvers, and shot two members of the so-called "Moslem Home Guard." a quisling force recruited by the French to crush their own countrymen. This incident and the mass arrests that followed must have rather spoiled the festive atmosphere.

"Contre nous de la tyrannie. . . ."

But it is France that has raised the blood-smeared banner, and to the horror of the world it is France that is denying her most glorious traditions in her brutal and bloody war against Algeria.


(Note—the quotations from French soldiers are taken from 'Tribune," 26th April, 1957.)

"It's Terrible to undergo the experience of being hated. ... I feel that I am reliving precisely the Resistance of 1943-44 but the other way round."

"On May 11th, 1956, a unit is passing through a village; two or three shots are fired on the soldiers. Orders given to destroy the whole place. At least 78 people—men. women and children—killed"

"When I meet a group of natives in the fields I open fire; but because I'm human I fire to one side, if they run away, they must be rebels, so I fire on them."