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The French national team won the World Cup on home soil in with what seemed at the time like an epoch-making display of multi-ethnic unity.

But in , when the Algerian team came to Paris for their first ever encounter, La Marseillaise was greeted with a hurricane of booing from a crowd largely made up of the descendants of colonial subjects. The match was eventually abandoned after a pitch invasion.

Sources & acknowledgements

The historian Laurent Dubois has documented the emergence of these tensions. In vain did players of a previous generation point out that nobody really sang the anthem.

Socialist versions of the marseillaise

And, of course, Le Pen succeeded in getting through to the final round of that election, pushing aside the candidates of the left, as his daughter Marine did in Through these controversies, the association between La Marseillaise and race has been reinforced. In , the justice minister Christiane Taubira, of Afro-Caribbean descent, was sucked into a social media row with the conservative opposition after being seen not singing along at a ceremony marking the abolition of slavery.

There have been campaigns to change them or to change the whole song, while others argue that altering a few words will not deal with the underlying racism of society. The series of shocking terrorist outrages in Paris and elsewhere since have, in some senses, put these squabbles into perspective.


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Christiane Taubira can be seen, just about singing along, in the video of the November parliamentary Marseillaise. In other senses, however, they have heightened the tensions which lie behind the disputes.

Taubira herself resigned from the government two months later, unwilling to endorse a proposal to strip French citizenship from convicted terrorists. The controversy did not stop in the 18th century but has lasted over the years, and the lyrics remain the subject of debate today.

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La Marseillaise

Most famously, it was used in part by Tchaikovsky in his " Overture" debuted in The song also formed an emotional and unforgettable scene in the classic film, "Casablanca. Presidency of the French Republic website. Share Flipboard Email.

Continue Reading. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our. Verse 1: Let's go children of the fatherland, The day of glory has arrived!

'La Marseillaise' Lyrics in French and English

Against us tyranny's Bloody flag is raised! They come right to our arms To slit the throats of our sons, our friends! Refrain: Aux armes, citoyens! Refrain: Grab your weapons, citizens! Quels transports il doit exciter!

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Verse 2: This horde of slaves, traitors, plotting kings, What do they want? Click to view The lyrics of the Marseillaise [ Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. Hide tip ]. The words are an aggressive and sanguinary demonisation of the enemy in the Austrians as tyrannous and cruel. In the dynastic wars of the Old Regime, bloody as they were, monarchs did not normally encourage personal hatred of the enemy.

The Revolutionary Wars were embittered by ideological zeal. The proclamation of to people of Belgium contains the same language of incitement. The Belgians are invited to defect to France in the cause of liberation from tyranny the Habsburg emperor. Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. Take a look at all Open University courses.

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