Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sacre Coeur, the Dark Side

While Sacre Coeur is a beautiful monument in Paris, I have to raise a certain point. The Wikipedia entry on it notes that
It was built, as contemporaries put it, "pour expier les crimes des communards" ("to expiate the crimes of the Communards") and is therefore a controversial monument.

It gets better.
(D)uring the Commune of 1871, hundreds of Communards hid in the chalk mines of the butte Montmartre, and were forever imprisoned inside when the government troops dynamited the exits.

The communards buried alive in Montmartre were the "criminals?"


Anonymous pseudonymous in nc said...

The 'crimes' refers to the murder of clerics and other hostages held by the Commune during its final days in May 1871, including the Archbishop of Paris.

The aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune was one of the darker moments in French history on all sides. I remember being incensed when George Will, smug git, trotted out the old cliché about 'France surrenders'. Of course, the Siege of Paris lasted four months, and famously (sadly) led to the zoo animals being slaughtered for food.

Anyway, I don't really like the Sacre Coeur. It's a bit... um, Catholic-nationalist.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Yeah, I knew that's what they were referring, but, you know, they'd been under siege for quite awhile which can make you desperate.

It's like the Spanish Church's view of the Republicans following the Civil War, I suppose.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous fatslug the impetuous said...

"History is written by the victors" is the operant phrase here. (Was it Napoleon who said that? He would have known.) Apropos the slaughter of the Paris Zoo animals for food: Wagner thought the starvation of the French so amusing that he wrote a comic libretto about it (at least HE thought it was comic) and planned to turn it into an Offenbach-like operetta until friends talked him out of it. (Did I mention that Wagner was a major inspiration for Hitler?)

2:54 PM  
Anonymous pseudonymous in nc said...

It's like the Spanish Church's view of the Republicans following the Civil War, I suppose.

Yeppy. Had France embraced that Action Francaise ideology, you might see the Sacre-Coeur given the same status as Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos. Thankfully, that's not the case.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Yeah, I had the sick feeling I'd been to France's version of the Valley of the Fallen once I read about the Communard bashing.

11:36 PM  
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