France Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite?

200 years later, the French are still quarreling about the revolution

"The revolution is a complex whole, like life itself, with the inspiring and the unacceptable, with hope and fear, violence and fraternity."

-- Francois Mitterrand

A big azure-and-gilt hot-air balloon, a reproduction of an 18th century model, wafted skyward in a "salute to liberty" as thousands of spectators gathered in the Tuileries Gardens last January for the official launch of the bicentennial of the French Revolution. The Republican Guard played a fanfare. An actor solemnly read the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

Five days later, in a theater across town, a dozen masked youths with shaved heads...

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