I was never really a fan of Robespierre. Wasn't he the organiser of the reign of terror during the French revolution? And yet....
Today, at 5 p.m. sees a silent march through the streets of Toulouse. It calls on all citizens, public bodies, civil authorities and people of all religions to join in a show of solidarity in homage to the innocent lives lost this week. Importantly, no banners will be waved nor any symbols of allegiance.Why? Because a banner gives you a false sense of an exclusive 'family', distancing yourself against other groups. And then? As with football supporters, you feel the need to fight and jeer at others who aren't part of your exclusive club.
I was quite proud of Sarkozy this week. He showed himself, in times of need, to be a true statesman. With looming elections, the French people need to think long and hard. Forget personal idiosynchrasies. A leader isn't just someone to lower taxes, but someone strong enough to represent a nation amongst other nations.
As with Robespierre's 1793 declaration of liberte, egalite, fraternite: he who oppresses one nation declares himself the enemy of all. As with today's march: against terrorism, hatred and extremism. The clock's gone forward...maybe there's hope for us all yet.