The title comes from a song by Gary Moore that was a hit in 1979, but was really based on the jazz standard “Blue Bossa” by Kenny Dorham, an American jazz trumpeter who never received the attention or fame he deserved.
This happens a lot in life but it’s hard to know in the real time what's important, to be fair.
The austerity measures of the EU are having a profound impact in Europe. The proof is in the news - in Paris on December 1st there was a major civil uprising, the worst France has seen in decades. Jeanne d’Hauteserre, the mayor of Paris’ 8th district, near the Arc de Triomphe told the press: “We are in a state of insurrection, I’ve never seen anything like it.” We can easily be witnessing the start of the next French Revolution and there is no solution in sight.
Still, president Macron is unrepentant and unyielding. He said he would not change his policy because of the protests of “thugs”.
By making this statement he follows the French history of misunderstanding major events, which is no different from what Marie Antoinette did.
She said back in the days of Revolution “Let them eat cake”.
It’s is not clear what she really meant – eat cake instead of bread, or crumbles from the crust of the pâté, but her words inspired a revolution nevertheless.
It is simply a wrong thing to tell people in the heat of the battle.
Revolutions always and everywhere start because of excessive oppression or excessive taxation, but those in power do their best not to understand it. To be fair, it’s very difficult to make a person understand something if her/his salary depends on them not understanding it.
And revolutions take time to clean up after - Vienna conference was called to clean up the mess in Europe after Napoleon, who was a product of the French Revolution. Another upheaval of this kind happened in Russia and it took almost a century to contain.
A brutal world war too.
Still, I have this respect for Napoleon Bonaparte, and I can’t finish without saying something about him.
He was a guy’s guy. During his wars he was right there in trenches with his soldiers, dirty with mud and smelling of gunpowder. You don’t get this type of behavior from Pentagon officials these days and it makes a huge difference.
He married Josephine de Beauharnais known as Rose, a name that he disliked. He called her "Joséphine" instead. I like that too. He divorced her eventually, so he could remarry in search of an heir. But he showed his dedication to her for the rest of his life. After they split, Napoleon was never the same - he developed health problems, gained weight. During the battle of Waterloo stomach pains paralyzed him. And then he lost everything, tough for a guy who never knew when to quit, when to stop, or when to say die.
Living his last days on the far island must have been a torture and I think he just wanted to be back with her. I think she did too because he was a unique man and they made a unique couple.
All his life standing on the ledge showing the wind how to fly. Both of them.
This is the thing about the revolutionaries – you can’t help but have a respect.
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Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler