|Le débarquement des Alliés en Normandie, à Juno Beach, le 6 juin 1944. © DR|
He told me that, no, no mention of D-Day had been made. No allusion, hint or suggestion. Not even a recommendation to watch the documentary that was on TF1 last night using film and words from those who were there.
Talk about shocked. I was horrified. What a missed opportunity to learn, educate, understand, and... keep the memories alive.
Then, today, I read this article on the Landings, June 6, and the French. Here is the sorry explanation.
Longtemps, le 6 juin 1944 a figuré dans l'angle mort de la mémoire collective française. Dès août, lors de la libération de Paris, de Gaulle avait réécrit l'histoire : nous nous étions libérés seuls. Les Américains ? Les Anglais ? Pas vus.
... en France, la peur du déclin est bien antérieure à la guerre de 39-45. Mais avec la débâcle et l'Occupation, "elle se métamorphose pour devenir profondément tragique et dramatique". La nation a été frappée dans sa dignité. Tout ce qui lui évoque cette blessure la fait vaciller. D'où notre propension à minimiser l'action des Anglais durant le conflit. Puissance du même ordre que la France, allié privilégié, l'Angleterre, durant la guerre, a montré une détermination et un courage churchilliens qui nous renvoient à nos ombres : d'où le fait qu'elle nous soit si insupportable.
For a long time, June 6th, 1944 appeared as a blind spot in the French collective memory. As soon as August, during the liberation of Paris, de Gaulle rewrote the history: we released ourselves. The Americans? The English? Not seen.
... In France, the fear of decline dates back to before the war of 39-45. But with the collapse and the Occupation, " it metamorphosed into become profoundly tragic and dramatic ". The nation's dignity was wounded. Everything which evokes this injury, makes the nation tremble. This is where our inclination to minimize the action of the English during the conflict comes from. As a similar Power to France, and privileged ally, England, during the war, showed a determination and a Churchillian courage which reminds us of our ghosts: which is why it is so unbearable for us.
Wounded dignity. Ingrates.
I told my youngest he could stay up to watch the whole programme which recounted D-Day to the liberation of Paris. He was fascinated. He can stay up tonight too, to watch France 2 or Arte which both have interesting looking documentaries on the subject.
At least the media is taking advantage of the commemorations to bring us educational programmes even if teachers are ignoring the whole event. I suppose it's not on the syllabus... and if it's not on the syllabus, it doesn't exist.
History syllabus for 5ème:
10% beginnings of Islam
10% Feudalism in the west
10% Sub-Saharan African civilisation
40% Towards the Modern Age: 15th -17th centuries (Columbus, Empires, Renaissance, religious crisis, science)
The rest of the time is taken up by geography and civic education which are all lumped into the same slot.
True, D-Day is not in that, so despite being responsible for the gathering of several million people, including heads of state, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the event that was responsible for liberating France and freeing it from the Nazi menace, it gets no mention in school. They're learning about Mali instead. Right...
And the D-Day memories? Ni vus, ni connus.