International media portrayed the French parliament’s spontaneous version of the national anthem after violent Paris terrorist attacks Friday as a way of coming together across party lines. Really, it’s just a violent war declaration.
After listening to Francois Hollande’s declaration of war against Islamic State Monday, the French parliament came together to sing “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem. A beautiful act of patriotism, but what most people failed to realize is that it is also a declaration of a bloody war where they will show no mercy against their enemies.
Army officer Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle wrote the anthem in 1782 as France prepared to go to war with Austria. It was meant to be a call to the citizens to arm themselves and join the fight against the people that come “to cut the throats of your sons and consorts.” More than 230 years later, the anthem is perhaps more relevant than ever.
The English translation of the first verse of the anthem goes as follows:
Arise children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived
Against us tyranny’s
Bloody standard is raised
Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts
Like most nations, only certain verses are still sung by the public. Every verse is separated by a direct call “to arms, citizens.”
The second verse used might be the most violent of all. Here they will spare innocent victims, but not the “bloody despots,” the “tigers” who mercilessly “rip their mother’s breast!”
It then finishes on a strong note with a call to death of enemies, and ultimate glory.
Hurry to your manly tone
So that in death your enemies
See your triumph and our glory!
English soccer fans showed solidarity with France by joining in on “La Marseillaise” when they hosted France at Wembley Stadium Tuesday.
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