N PARIS, IN THIS SYMBOLIC NIGHT OF 14 JULY, NIGHT OF
fervor and of joy, at the foot of the timeless obelisk, in this Place
de la Concorde that has never been more worthy of the name, [a}
great and immense voice ... will cast to the four winds of history the
song expressing the ideal of the five hundred Marseillais of 1792."
The words, so redolent in language and tone of the instructions for
the great public festivals of the French Revolution, are those of Jack
Lang, French Minister of Culture, Communications, Great Public
Works, and the Bicentennial. The text is that of the program for the
grandiose opera-parade presenting "a Marseillaise for the World," the
internationally televised spectacle from Paris crowning the official
celebration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution.
The minister's language was aptly fashioned to the occasion.
well chosen to celebrate Paris as world-historical city-joyous birth-
place of the modern principles of democracy and human rights-and
the Revolution of 1789 as the momentous assertion of those universal
human aspirations to freedom and dignity that have transformed,
and are still transforming, an entire world. It was no less well chosen
to leap over the events of the Revolution from its beginning to its
end, affirming that the political passions engendered by its momen-
tous struggles had finally ceased to divide the French one from
The spectacle on the Place de la Concorde exemplified the un-
avowed motto of the official bicentennial celebration: "The Revolu-
tion is over." Opting for a celebration consonant with the predomi-