EDITORS' INTRODUCTION
I
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 his-
tory 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 Pub-
lic 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. It was
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 1789as 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 momentous
struggles had finally ceased to divide the French one from another.
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-
nantly centrist, consensualist mood of the French in the late 1980s,the
presidential mission charged with the organization of the bicentennial
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