Macron and some of his international colleagues are the kind of strong and pragmatic leaders who understand this goal. They will also benefit, if Europe does not falter in its collective negotiating strategy, from a welcome windfall: the many billions that the UK will have to pay to disengage from its obligations.
While the US and the UK are wasting their time, energy and money on non-problems, unimportant problems and self-inflicted problems, on building Maginot walls, on investing in technologies of the past and on closing themselves off from the sources of their own future, Europe should work on what matters. In forthcoming articles I will provide more detailed analyses of the various points sketched here.
And yes, I know this venue started out as a technology blog and I will continue to talk about void safety, effective concurrent programming and how to verify programs. But the stakes are too high for scientists and engineers to stay neutral. Through what we know, see and understand, it is our duty to help Europe and with it the rest of humankind. It could just work. The character of Ubu, created by Alfred Jarry , deserves to be better known.
Part of the satisfaction arises from the fact that in the burlesque mode which Jarry invents, there is no place for consequence. While Ubu may be relentless in his political aspirations, and brutal in his personal relations, he apparently has no measurable effect upon those who inhabit the farcical world which he creates around himself.
An English translation of the play can be found here. The original French text two versions of it is available here. Sometimes it is better not to know French. But at least you will not find out what the Marseillaise really says. Stirring, sure. Until you pay attention to the words.
I wrote an article on this blog, in French , proposing to shed the Marseillaise from its worst parts.
A few people asked me to provide an English version; here it is. A rendition rather than a translation. Politicians in towns large and small make a point of intoning it, in tune or more often out of it. One assumes — rather, one hopes — that occasionally they feel some embarrassment. You see, they understand French. The rest of the world hears the music, apparently good enough to have led such diverse composers as Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Beethoven to cite it in their own works, and has the luxury of ignoring the words.
Here are some of the gems in my almost literal translation, all those I found on the Web are awful :. Do you hear, in the countryside, The howling of these ferocious soldiers? They come to snatch our sons and wives from our arms And slit their throats. Let an impure blood Soak the grooves of our fields!
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As a matter of fact, it happened, three quarters of a century ago. Hundreds of thousands of French people learned that their blood was now officially non-conformant. They are not, to put it politely, the most glorious, and not the most appropriate to recall for celebration in the national anthem.
A straightforward intergenerational dispute?
In the days before the festivities, hearing a 7-year old sing in tune the impure blood that must soak the grooves, I wondered what kind of thoughts such slogans can evoke among schoolchildren, who are instructed to memorize them and sing along. What about the blood-stained flag? What about the tyrants Matteo Renzi? Mario Draghi?
We need not quarrel about history. The song had a role. The revolution faced enemies, it was defending itself. Enough blood, battles, ferocity. Sing what unites us today. A national anthem should not, of course, be changed every year as a response to changes in fashion. By nature, it will always be a bit off.
But after two hundred and thirteen years of existence, including one hundred and thirty-six of service as national anthem, it is time to shed the Marseillaise of the most shameful remnants of its original text. Only weak peoples seek unity only through the detestation of others. Their songs are full of rejection and negation.
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Strong peoples, for their part, invoke positive images. Be the judge. There have been proposals for alternative Marseillaises before, but they tend to be mirror images of the original, falling into their own excesses, such as a rabidly anti-militaristic version which can only exacerbate divisions. We will not gain anything by replacing ancient grievances by modern insults. The following version, illustrated below by the first verse and the chorus and given in a literal English translation not meant for singing, whereas the French text respects the prosody and versification of the original Marseillaise pursues a different goal: not antagonizing people, but uniting them; highlighting not differences, but affinities; and allowing everyone to bellow it: with no shame; instead, with pride.
Children of the fatherland, come along The day of glory has come With us, marches democracy We have raised our shining flag. Do you hear, in the countryside, The murmur of those envious peoples? They come to our towns and mountains And cannot stop admiring them. Together, citizens! Let us make our union stronger!
French-Nordic Conference in Paris
Let our pure hearts Vibrate in unison. The topic: freeing a national anthem of its hateful overtones. Mardi dernier quatorze juillet, une fois de plus, la Marseillaise a retenti un peu partout. Et les tyrans Matteo Renzi? Ils viennent, jusque sous nos cieux, Admirer nos villes, nos montagnes. Ensemble, citoyens! That is doubtful. All reports suggest that the problem is not to replace a checkbox by a menu, or buy a few more servers.
The analysis, design and implementation are wrong, and the sites will not work properly any time soon. Barring sabotage for which we have seen no evidence , this can only be the result of incompetence. An insurance exchange? Come on. Any half-awake group of developers could program it over breakfast. The people building the site do not have infinite time. In fact, the process is crucially time-driven: if people do not get health coverage in time, they will be fined.
But what if they cannot get coverage because the Web sites do not respond, or mess up? Consider for a second another example of another strictly time-driven project: on January 1, , twelve countries switched to a common currency, with the provision that their current legal tender would lose its status only a bare two months later.
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The IT infrastructure had to work on the appointed day. It did. How come Europe could implement the Euro in time and the US cannot get a basic health exchange to work? Here is a possible scenario: the sites do not work cannot handle the load, give inconsistent results. A massive wave of protests ensues, boosted by those who were against universal health coverage in the first place. Faced with popular revolt and with the evidence, the administration announces that the implementation of the universal mandate — the enforcement of the fines — is delayed by a year.
The law fades into oblivion.