‘Marchons, marchons!’

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Like Rick Blaine in “Casablanca,” my German is a little rusty. So is my French, for that matter. My Russian? Не спрашивайте.

I wrote last month about seeing the film again on the eve of another invasion in Europe, and the moving scene in which the free French sang “La Marseillaise” to drown out the Nazis. The French, who have been singing this anthem since 1792, know more than most countries about resisting invaders. You can hear it in the lyrics, translated into English here courtesy of Wikipedia:

Arise, children of the Fatherland,
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us, tyranny’s
Bloody standard is raised,
Do you hear, in the countryside,
The roar of those ferocious soldiers?
They’re coming right into your arms
To cut the throats of your sons, your women!

To arms, citizens,
Form your battalions,
March, march!
Let an impure blood
Water our furrows!

What does this horde of slaves,
Of traitors and conspiring kings want?
For whom have these vile chains,
These irons, been long prepared?
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What furious action it must arouse!
It is to us they dare plan
A return to the old slavery!

To arms, citizens…

What! Foreign cohorts
Would make the law in our homes!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would strike down our proud warriors!
Great God! By chained hands
Our brows would yield under the yoke!
Vile despots would themselves become
The masters of our destinies!

To arms, citizens…

“La Marseillaise,” French national anthem

There’s more, but you get the picture. Free people will fight back in every way they can when despots seek to become their masters.

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