Moaner, complainer, protestor, whinger, grumbler, objector and maybe…. Troublemaker… How many times I have heard these terms about French people. What can I say? Yes, that’s thoroughly true; however I decided to try to understand this statement. I needed to cross the planet to accept what sticks to my culture, this French revolution flowing in my veins.
Let’s speak a bit about history.
After all we are in the period of Bastille Day. Ok everyone remembers we cut the heads of the King and the Queen, but the most important is the “why?”. Paralysed by the tax system and annoyed to see the Monarchy living in extravagance and luxurious lifestyle meanwhile French people had a miserable life, it was time to shout, “stop”. From economic, social and political points of view, it was enough – “assez, c’est assez!”!
Surely, a particularity of the French culture, it’s this habit to keep our big mouth open. We made a revolution when we couldn’t tolerate any more injustice; and I believe that we still have this revolutionary mind. The only difference is that we have evolved, getting more civilised; indeed we prefer to keep the head.
Actually, this spirit is cultivated at school. The government announces a reform; all students go to the streets to protest (but we have to be honest it’s always a good pretext to skip school). Later, you find a job, and you apply for a syndicate of your choice if you want to get involved in the choices of your company. Then, if your industry is affected by a change, here we go again in the streets. By strike, you will express yourself, such is our strong devise and you will find always a way to drink a glass of wine during a strike.
We can find this r(evolution) spirit in all French people.
Tell us we are arrogant, we will hit back “do not confuse arrogance and confidence”; threaten our “liberté, égalité, fraternité” and we will move the world forming a crowd of solidarity in each street of every city; say to a woman to follow fashion and she will reply to you: “I don’t need to follow brands, I create my own style”; ask her to be a Kim Kardashian and she will subtly reveal her small boobs under a white shirt with no bra.
We love talking, and talking, and talking about thoughtful philosophical, existential, and political topics enjoying drinking wine. We can debate so much that if you are not French you believe that we are starting a new Revolution, going round and round the same arguments.
That rings a bell when I went to a restaurant in Melbourne and the food was absolutely shameful. I was already thinking about what I was going to say in a nice way – we can be direct but we always try to be diplomatic. My Aussie friend was looking at me with questioning eye thinking, “please do not say nothing”. But I did, I told my thoughts reinforcing the French culture and I felt so good, feeling like a super hero who saved the following customers of this miserable restaurant.
We believe that sometimes you have to grumble to get what you want. Yes, we are complainer, yes we have a revolutionary mind but we also know that because we were – and we are – like that, we can change the world. After all, the French Revolution allows writing the “Declaration of the rights of Man and of the Citizen” in 1789, a declaration that inspired and still inspires the world.
Complain if you want, after all there is nothing wrong but be a happy complainer and maybe we have to question and make an evolution in what is the right “revolution” we need to prepare in our lives.