Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bloody Soil

After the consumerist nightmare of the Champs-Élysées, we stand atop the Arc de Triomphe and look out across the foggy city spread out below us in radiating spokes from here. I've spent most of the day imagining the wars and revolutions that have bloodied the streets of Paris, and now I'm looking down from a monument to a biggie. The high relief friezes on the front of the arc show men and boys (and the occasional very angry woman) getting ready to go to war, drawing swords and rushing off to do battle against whatever foe the state has mandated this time.

When we come back down to earth, a coterie of soldiers have taken over the plaza by the monument to the unknown soldier, and summarily we tourists are shooed away to make way for some solemn ceremony or other, of which we will never really be a part.

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