There was chanting of the Carmagnole. There were shouts of "To the lamppost." France's first Bastille Day since liberation brought Parisians into the streets for snake-dancing on the boulevards, parades, surreptitious fireworks (firecrackers are officially banned). But the Bastille Day gaiety was less spontaneous than official. Said one French spectator: "It's all very well to show [the people] a military spectacle, but they are still worried about food."
On hand for the occasion were Prague's Mayor Vaclav Macek and a "Monsieur Mong" representing the mayor of Chungking. But France's most important guest was Sidi Lamine, Bey of Tunis. He arrived wearing fez, black tunic and red gold-striped trousers. Across his chest shimmered the red sash of the Legion of Honor.
At the Bois de Boulogne station the Bey was met by General Charles de Gaulle and whisked through flag-decked streets toward the Hotel Talleyrand, to freshen up for the ceremonies, which included the presentation by the Bey to the General of a silver bathtub.
Sidi Lamine was not the only distinguished African visitor to Paris in recent weeks. He had been preceded by Sidi Mohamed Ben Youseff, Sultan of Morocco, who had received the Croix de la Liberation (his son Prince Moulay Hassan was also decoratedsee cut) and was shown a hydroelectric dam in the Auvergne Mountains. Behind these comings & goings was potential trouble in France's North African empire and the specter of France's Syrian debacle (epitomized in the Damascus parliament building wreckedsee cut by French mortars in an attack which Syrians refer to as "Syria's Pearl Harbor"). North Africa was restive. Like Frenchmen, Moroccans, Algerians and Tunisians were still worried about the food shortage. Last year, arid Morocco had its worst drought since 1904. This year's crop will be sufficient only for seed. And Algeria, where bloody revolts were bloodily suppressed (TIME, May 28), was still hungry too.