Jean-Luc Tisserand, a French national living in Armidale, is preparing to celebrate Bastille Day this weekend. He took a unique view for perspective on the attack in Nice on the same holiday in recent weeks.
He said he could not support his government’s participation in war in the Middle East over the last decade, describing the conflict as a “Pandora’s box”, but said living in Australia at the time of the Nice attack provided a unique but troubling perspective.
“It is like the cyclist,” he said.
“You cannot see far from your wheel turning in front of you. When you are far, you see far, or wider.”
From Australia, Jean Luc said the Nice attack was not his France, nor was it a reflection of the national holiday celebrating France's revolution against the monarchy and the destruction of the Bastille.
“We do not call it Bastille Day in France, we call it “Quatorze Juillet”, it is the French national day. It is a holiday like in Australia for the national holiday,” he said.
“La Bastille was a fort in the centre of Paris, where there were many people locked there. It was a prison. It is supposed to have been (on) Quatorze Juillet [July 14] (when it was) attacked and destroyed by the population to free the people inside.”
Jean Luc said sacking the Bastille was the beginning of the end for French monarchy and has historically represented liberation from tyranny.
He will lead the Alliance Française, the Armidale branch of a national French society in Australia, in a minute’s silence on Sunday evening, paying tribute to lives lost in the Nice attacks earlier this month. The cultural group will hold a Bastille Day event with two course dinner and entertainment at Booloominbah on the UNE campus.
“What I dislike, in what happened is it could be my family there,” Jean Luc said.
But, he said the national holiday should not become synonymous with the attack.
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