storming the bastille


The time was half past three, on the famous date of July 14, 1789. A huge, bloodthirsty mob marched to the Bastille, searching for gun powder and prisoners that had been taken by the unpopular and detested King, Louis XVI. Even elements of the newly formed National Guard were present at the assault. The flying rumors of attacks from the government and the biting truth of starvation were just too much for the angry crowds. The Bastille had been prepared for over a week, anticipating about a hundred angry subjects and along the thick rock walls of the gargantuan fortress and between the towers were twelve more guns that were capable of launching 24-ounce case shots at any who dared to attack. However, the enraged Paris Commune was too defiant and too livid to submit to the starvation and seeming injustice of their government. But nothing could have prepared the defenders for what they met that now famous day.

The Bastille was governed by a man named Marquis de Launay. On July 7th, thirty-two Swiss soldiers led by Lieutenant Deflue, came to aid de Launay, helping him to prepare for a small mob. Rumors were flying everywhere. The Marquis was expecting a mob attack, but certainly not a siege! The entire workforce of the Bastille had stealthily and furiously been repairing the Bastille and reinforcing it, all to prepare for a minor attack from a hundred or so angry citizens. At three o’clock that afternoon, however, a huge group of French guards and angry citizens tried to break into the fortress. There were over three hundred people ready to give their lives to put an end to their overtaxing and overbearing government. However the Bastille was threatened by more than the numerous crowds: three hundred guards had left their posts earlier that day, out of fear and from the rumors. The besiegers easily broke into the arsenal and into the first courtyard, cut the drawbridge down, and then quickly got through the wooden door behind it. They boldly demanded that the bridges be lowered, but they were refused. The Marquis de Launay said he would surrender if his troops were allowed to leave peacefully, but he was simply rebuked. They wanted de Launay on a noose or with his head in a basket.

The vicious crowds shouted for him to lower the bridges. De Launay sent a note to a mob leader named Hulin, claiming that he had 20,000 pounds of gunpowder and if the besiegers did not accept his offer, he would annihilate the entire fortress, the garrison, and everyone in it! Yet, they still refused. The bridges were finally lowered on de Launay’s command, and he and his soldiers were captured by the crowds and dragged through the filthy streets of Paris.

The mob paraded through the streets, showing off their captives, and crudely cutting off many heads. The National Guard tried to stop the crowds from looting, but it was useless. They continued marching on, maKing their way to the Hotel de Ville. Upon learning that the Bastille had been taken, King Louis XVI, who was residing at Versailles, was reported to have asked an informer: “Is this a revolt?” and La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt said, “No, Sire, it is a revolution.” Little did Louis know that the mob’s next plan was to march to Versailles, and take him away with them as well…. reposted from library.thinkquest.org

there seem to be so many similarities in these times as those in 15th century france. the ruling class of course is corporate board members and they are bleeding the environment, the national treasuries, and the working man’s paycheck so that they may acquire more wealth and indulge themselves in luxuries and whimsies that are hardly necessary. the rulers infused their will using force, fear, personal freedom, and economic insecurity to excise their will. 
what it must have taken for those parisians to muster the fire to storm the gates. i believe the international occupy movements are the first serious response from our millennium to such tyranny. the majestic response has been very much mirrored as well. shutting down public parks, macing and arresting citizens who dare oppose the status quo. using smoke and mirrors, the ruling minds create criminals out of passionate, focused, and patriotic hearts. arresting those who incite their constitutional rights and dousing their hearts with litigation and invasion of privacy even going so far to deem these folks as terrorists engaging in treason. the audacity of this is numbing. i can see why angry birds and world of warcraft are so popular. our nation is so needing to resolve this conflict we are muddled in every day. there will no doubt come a day soon where we will be storming our own bastille.
however, this post is really a music post. i have run across an english band that has blown me outta my shoes. i have listened to some of their music for the past coupla weeks and i am smitten. but it’s not just me. 
here is what neil mccormack of the uk telegraph had to say about the band just last week

Bastille are the British debut success of the year. Their single Pompeii has sold two million copies around the world. Their album, Bad Blood, went straight to number one in Britain in March, spending six months in the top 10 before becoming the highest entry by any new British artistin America (at number 11) this year. Yet no one saw this coming – not critics, not their record company, not even the band.
“Led by me, we’ve always been a group of pessimists,” according to Dan Smith, singer, songwriter, keyboard player and producer for the London four-piece. “Our expectations have been incredibly low. I never, ever imagined leaving Great Britain. For us, going to Scotland was a big deal.”
Bastille did not even make the long list for the Brits Critic’s Choice award or the BBC’s ones-to-watch poll. As the popularity of traditional bands waned, the record industry openly fretted over wheth
er there would ever be another Coldplay again. And then Pompeii lifted Bastille to the head of the pack. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised,” says the understated Smith.
If you are still trying to place them, Pompeii is the song that starts “eh-eh-oh, eh-oh”, like a choir of autotuned monks chanting over a burbling synth. Although the Roman town is never mentioned in the song, the 27-year-old explains that he was imagining what the dead victims might have to say to one another. “If you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all?” Smith sings in a soft, clear, tuneful voice. “Oh how am I going to be an optimist about this?”
“It is essentially about fear of stasis and boredom,” explains Smith. “Being quite a shy, self-conscious person, I was afraid my life might get stuck.”

it seems to be dan’s smith’s vocals which really pierce my hard candy coating and get me starting to melt on the inside. please note that i am including acoustic versions here. they do not play acoustic always – at all. the acoustic vibe fits my mood- and probably my age. it amazes me that 4 guys with some instruments are still able to rock my world.




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Categories: bastille, english, music, youtube

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