|The Eiffel Tower illuminated for the Bastille Day celebrations.|
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the crowds of people singing La Marseillaise, France's national anthem, on the Champ de Mars last night, I fervently wanted to be French. It happens every July 14. A feeling of pride for a country that isn't my own sweeps over me, and I momentarily wonder how difficult it would be to obtain French citizenship. In actuality, it doesn't make any sense because my Swiss passport entitles me to live, work and pay taxes in France ... just like a French person. But, nonetheless, the thought always enters my mind.
That's why I was troubled to hear that French politician Marine Le Pen had recently called for a ban on French citizens holding double nationality. After clashes between police and soccer fans during the World Cup, Le Pen told iTele news channel, "They must choose: they are Algerian or French, Moroccan or French, they can't be both."
Madame Le Pen, I beg to differ ... but it's completely possible to be both. As an American/Swiss resident of Paris, I am deeply and irrevocably connected to the country and people of France. It is my home. I often compare my dual citizenship with having two children. There's room in my heart for two countries, and even more.
While intended to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, the theme of this year's Bastille Day (Fête Nationale) fireworks was a chilling reminder of all that's wrong with our world today. When the darkened Eiffel Tower was symbolically engulfed in flames, I had a frightening glimpse of what our future may hold.
Wondering how the firework display could end on a positive note, I had an "aha" moment when the first notes of John Lennon's Imagine immediately united the international crowd on the Champ de Mars. In unison, people started singing:
... Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one...
Bravo and thank you to the city of Paris for encouraging us to imagine what our world could be!
|The Eiffel Tower during the firework display on Bastille Day.|