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Saturday, September 15, 2012

La Fête de l’Humanité

It's September, the children are back in school and their parents are back to work (some of them anyway) and it's time for the other main event of La Rentreé, La Fête de l’Humanité.

This is a huge festival held in the Paris region every year and it's quite the party with music, debates, expositions and other "spectacles."  As always people are having a rip roaring good time.   The concert program alone is pretty impressive with just about every kind of music you can imagine.  If I could go, however, I would attend the debates.  What I would give to be there for the discussion on topics like:
Qu’est devenu le Printemps arabe? (What Has the Arab Spring Become?), Vivons-nous en démocratie? (Do We Live in a Democracy?) and the not-to-be-missed  Quand l’Amérique s’éveillera (When America Awakes).

The last is perhaps more a hope than a reality.  I was raised by American hippies, people who dreamed of such an awakening, but it didn't happen 50 years ago and I'm not sure things are looking up as we enter the 21st century.  As I contemplate voting in the 2012 U.S. elections I find myself singing:

Well I don't know why I came here tonight 
I got the feeling that something ain't right 
I'm so scared in case I'll fall off my chair 
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs 
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am 
Stuck in the middle with you

La Fête de l’Humanité has been around since 1930.  At that time the French government was putting Communists in prison and the party fought back in various ways one of which was this festival held to bring people together and to finance their journal l’Humanité which is still alive and well today.  The festival has grown up over the years - it's a lot more diverse and will welcome hundreds of thousands of people this weekend to the festivities at la Courneuve en Seine-Saint-Denis.

For this 77th manifestation of the Fête, the director of l'Humanité, Patrick Le Hyaric, gleefully wrote:
"Nous avions clamé l'an passé, sur des affiches, des tee-shirts, sur la grande scène, que la Fête de l'Humanité 2011 devrait être la dernière fête avec Sarkozy pour président. C'est le cas aujourd'hui!"
(We said last year, on posters, t-shirts and on the main stage, that the 2011 Fête de l'Humanité would be the last festival with Sarkozy as president. And that is the case today!)
May I say how delighted I am that somebody is getting his heart's desire this election year.

Bon weekend, everyone.

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