Chers amis,

La fête nationale du 14 juillet symbolise un des moments les plus importants de l’histoire de France, lorsque le peuple prend la Bastille ce jour de 1789, se libère ainsi de la monarchie et fonde la République.

Les valeurs portées par la Révolution française sont devenues celles de la nation tout entière.  Comme on admire l’héritage de cet acte révolutionnaire qui a donné naissance à la Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen, la liberté de la presse, la liberté d’association, l’instruction laïque gratuite et obligatoire, la séparation de l’Église et de l’État, la liberté syndicale, ou encore le suffrage universel.

Qui aurait cru que l’année 2020 serait celle d’une crise mondiale qui ébranle tout ce que nous connaissons, tout ce qui fait – ou plutôt faisait ! - notre quotidien ? C’est en cas de crise que les valeurs acquises par un peuple sont questionnées et réévaluées. Le danger, la peur, la frustration sont autant de facteurs qui nous affectent au niveau viscéral, tout comme nos valeurs. Au vu de la situation de santé, des démonstrations d’intolérance, de la violence dont nous sommes entourés, il serait facile de se perdre dans le cercle vicieux des inquiétudes  et du pessimisme. On nous demande d’être forts, stoïques, de prendre des décisions qui nous amènent à prendre des risques au jour le jour, et cela nous mine.

Mais n’oublions pas que c’est dans l’adversité que nous nous découvrons des forces inconnues, qu’un changement radical dans notre vie est aussi une opportunité de réflexion et de remise en cause, et qu’une crise qui affecte le monde entier nous permet de réagir et d’offrir notre aide à notre communauté. Car en ces temps d’incertitude, une chose est certaine : nous sommes tous affectés et nous avons tous les mêmes sentiments.

Célébrer le 14 juillet, et le célébrer ensemble, c’est l’occasion d’honorer les fondateurs de la République qui se sont sentis forts et investis d’une mission pour littéralement changer leur monde, et qui se sont mobilisés, ont surmonté les obstacles pour le bien de leur communauté. Célébrer le 14 juillet, c’est réaffirmer notre attachement à nos valeurs de Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, qui nous semblent parfois fragilisées mais qui nous sont si précieuses, plus que jamais.

Le 14 juillet, c’est aussi une fête que nous offrons ce soir, bien différemment des années précédentes, mais de tout cœur.

Vive le 14 juillet, vive la France et vive l’amitié franco-américaine !

Barbara Bouquegneau
Executive Director

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Dear friends,

The national holiday of July 14 symbolizes one of the most important moments in the history of France, when the people took the Bastille on this day of 1789, liberated themselves from the monarchy and founded the Republic.

The values carried by the French Revolution became those of the entire nation. One can only admire the legacy of this revolutionary act which gave birth to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the freedom of the press, the freedom of association, the free and compulsory secular education, the separation of the Church and the State, the freedom of unions, or even universal suffrage.

Who would have thought that the year 2020 would be that of a global crisis that shakes everything we know, everything that is - or rather, was! - our daily life? It is in times of crisis that the values acquired by a people are questioned and reassessed. Danger, fear, frustration are all factors that affect us viscerally, just like our values. In view of the health situation, the demonstrations of intolerance, the violence with which we are surrounded, it would be easy to get lost in the vicious circle of worries and pessimism. We are asked to be strong, stoic, to make decisions that lead us to take risks every day, and that undermines us. 

But let's not forget that it is in adversity that we discover unknown forces, that a radical change in our life is also an opportunity for reflection and questioning, and that a crisis that affects the world whole allows us to react and offer our help to our community. Because in these times of uncertainty, one thing is certain: we are all affected and we all have the same feelings. 

Celebrating July 14, and celebrating it together, is an opportunity to honor the founders of the Republic who felt strong and invested with a mission to literally change their world, and who mobilized, overcame the obstacles for the wellbeing of their community. To celebrate July 14 is to reaffirm our attachment to our values of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, which sometimes seem fragile, but which are so precious to us more than ever. 

July 14th is also a party that we are offering this evening, very differently from previous years, but with all our hearts.

Long live July 14, long live France and long live Franco-American friendship!

Barbara Bouquegneau
Executive Director

Barbara Bouquegneau

President and Executive Director

Barbara has worked at the French Cultural Center for more than 20 years. Barbara has represented the Center and Alliance Française of Boston throughout the years and has most recently been appointed board member of the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA. She is committed to pursuing the extraordinary mission of the French Cultural Center and believes that the Francophone world is worth exploring in all its different cultures.

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