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Robespierre - unwanted in Paris

 
 
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:25 am
Quote:
Comment is free
Rejecting Rue de Robespierre
Parisian councillors have guillotined a plan to name a street in France's capital after the revolutionary leader


Agnès Poirier
guardian.co.uk Saturday 3 October 2009 15.00 BST

There was a time when the announcement would have made headlines all over the world. Instead, it was relegated to a little side column in Libération but the news still came as a kick in the teeth for history-minded Parisians.
Article continues below ...

http://i37.tinypic.com/2dl82fa.jpg
Source: Libération, 1 October 2009, page 12


.... continued from above
Quote:
By a narrow majority, the city council rejected a proposal to name a square or street "Robespierre".

Yes, Robespierre: a hero of the revolution for some, a bloodthirsty dictator and terrorist for others. Indeed, it is in the streets of Paris of the year 1793 and 1794, during the Reign of Terror, that the later term "terrorist" originates.

But it is strange that Paris, the former red capital of France, should be so timid and not give its due to a central (if questionable) figure of the revolution. The French towns of St Etienne, Brest, Arras, Marseille, Belfort, Aubagne, Quimper, St Dizier and Alès all have a street, impasse, square or boulevard named after Robespierre.

Of course, Robespierre has always been the most divisive figure of the French revolution. I can recall epic conversations with my Gaullist father who loathed Robespierre and Napoleon in equal measure. And those across the Channel who have been fed Edmund Burke's views of the French events usually have nothing but profound disgust for the man and probably put him in the same bag as Stalin and Pol Pot. The difference, of course, is that Robespierre may be partly responsible for about 3,000 deaths by the guillotine, but the victims of Stalin and Pol Pot's run into millions.

I would agree with Clémenceau who once said that "the revolution is made of one block" " one cannot simply pick and choose among its heroes and events. In other words, you either accept the revolution and its heritage or you don't.

Robespierre, for better and for worse, is part of this heritage and shouldn't be put aside simply because he is a less palatable figure than, say, Danton or Lafayette.

What this affair really reveals is a profound divergence in the historiography of the French revolution. Your views will depend on whether you learned your history from the works of Albert Soboul or François Furet (unless, of course, you studied both).

The bicentenary of the French revolution in 1989, a few months before the fall of the Berlin wall and the Romanian revolution, saw an attempt at reconciliation between those two schools of thought " one which, at the time, provided for future history students like me a much-appreciated intellectual truce. Today, that truce enables me to wish for a Robespierre Street in Paris, in the name of history, rather than for the sake of Marxist ideology.
 
MontereyJack
 
  3  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:33 am
It seems appropriate, according to what that article says, that they would name an "impasse" after him, though I had to look it up, since I've never heard the term used for some sort of geographical feature before. It's apparently what we in the States call a "dead end".
Francis
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:40 am
@MontereyJack,
I've seen more than one cul-de-sac, in the US..
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:44 am
yep, "cul-de'sac" is used too, but probably well behind "dead end", and WAY ahead of "impasse".
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:44 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I' readily change la Rue de la Grande Truanderie (Große Betrügerei straße) for Avenue Robespierre.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:46 am
Is anything named after Sade?
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:50 am
geez, edgar, I was wondering the same thing.
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:51 am
@edgarblythe,
Not that I'm aware of..
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 09:10 am
@MontereyJack,
There are quite a few French towns/cities which have a rue Robespierre. (And that's what had been discussed in the Conseil de Paris.)

At least in Antibes there's a rue Sade - quite famous for its restaurants and 'delicatessen' shops (next to the cathedral and market place).
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 11:28 am
I don't pay any attention to streets when I'm traveling. I go by landmarks to keep from getting lost.

Is there a Jacobite street in France? I know that Thomas Paine got in trouble with those guys when he spread his propaganda during the French Revolution.

In England a dead end street is called mews. Here, it's just called dead end.

There's a Bill Graham Parkway in one of the Carolinas.

Of course, St. Augustine is the oldest city in America, but I don't know one street name.

Is there really a Rue de la Pas? Loved that song by Al Jolson; "...and Mimi..."

Found out from Ursula that the Germans are celebrating Unification Day this weekend and that reminded me of The Brandenburg Gate.

0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 11:41 am
Miss Letty wrote:
Is there a Jacobite street in France?


No, but there are lots of Rue des Jacobins..

And there's one Rue de la Paix in Paris.

However, there's no Rua de la Paz in St Augustine but there's one Casa de la Paz.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jul, 2018 10:33 am
Robespierre is making a bit of a comeback in the states.
coluber2001
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jul, 2018 01:34 pm
@Lash,
In the Oak Cliff region of Dallas there is a major street called Jefferson. The next major Street parallel to Jefferson is Davis. I often wonder if this is an allusion to the former Confederate president or is it just a coincidence?

If it really is an allusion to the Confederate president that I wonder how it escaped the recent purge of Confederate names.
Lash
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 4 Jul, 2018 02:00 pm
@coluber2001,
Interesting observation.

In fact, all Americans are descendants from racists, murderers, and Neanderthals🤬.

No American surnames or likenesses should appear on any public spaces, including mailboxes.
0 Replies
 
 

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