Friday, 4 July 2008


The French army shootout in Carcasonne was an easy way to play the Kevin Bacon game, as anyone who remembers Animal House will appreciate. According to the reports I read, the one soldier with live ammo may have been the one chosen not to have blanks, for reasons no one could explain. Perhaps they were trying for the inverse of a firing squad, where one member is traditionally given a blank so that all of them can pretend they might not have been the executioner. I'm not sure that held true in Germany between 1939-45.

As it happens, on the day of the shooting we were driving from Ceret, close by the Spanish border, to Cuq Toulza, between Toulouse and Castres, and as we headed up from Castlenaudary, a convoy of about 10 APCs passed us going the other way (direction Carcasonne, as the French road signs say, invariably only after you're on the right road). Kirsten asked what they were up to and I guessed there had been a sighting of a New Zealand Greenpeacer in Carcasonne. Little did I know.

I remember as a kid watching parades of military stuff with great delight, so I suppose I shouldnt be that surprised that the French were staging a show of 'anti-terrorist' tactics as a pre -Bastille Day diversion. Since all of us are potentially terrorists in the brave new Bush/Blair/Sarkosy world, it's probably useful to see. It's also fun to watch the new French right-wing Prime Miniature going head to head with the military because he didn't show them the proper respect after they'd shot up one of the country's prime tourist towns. Luckily no one was killed, including a child shot in the heart, but don't mention that either, because then you're just Michael Moore entranced by the French health system. Their tax system, as we heard from the hoteliers in Coq Toulza, is something else indeed!

happy Fourth of July! Le 14eme s'approach!

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