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Versailles

Brooke is studying the French Revolution this month.  I told her that Charlotte Corday and the death of Marat would make a pretty good essay topic.  Then I realized that the guy was essentially a blogger who was murdered in his bathtub.  Ok, he was a nasty blogger who let things get out of control. He was more like Glenn Beck. Then I get all philosophical about the ethics of committing crimes to prevent even bigger ones, like Dietrich Bonhofer did during WWII, and she gets that “Ok, I’m bored now” look on her face.   Uh, nevermind.  Start at the beginning, go all the way to the end and, then, stop.

The French were pissed off over bread.  The Romans at least got that right.  Never keep the rabble hungry for bread.  But I digress.  Anyway, the roots of the French Revolution had something to do with a really bad financial collapse.  The tax system was a mess with the lower classes bearing the burden and the aristocracy getting away with murder.  There were some bad harvests.  The king was inept.  Not necessarily a bad man.  He just felt entitled.  Oh, sure, there had to be reform but it couldn’t go too far.  He was the king after all and he had the last word.

The Bastille fell in July 1789.  There was rioting on and off throughout the summer.  But the rabble definitely wasn’t going away.  It wasn’t until one night in October 1789 that a mob of women got to Versailles and the royals scrambled from bedroom to bedroom in a panic.  The monarchs left the palace and after a couple of years of factional fighting, The Terror began in earnest.

The Terror.  What a waste.  Thousands of lives lost, rivers red with blood.  Fear, chaos, instability.  It makes you wonder why any king would let that kind of pressure build up over 4 months to result in the country essentially eating its own for several years afterwards.

I saw Mubarek’s face on the frontpage of the NYTimes site, a face only a mother could love and a poster child for Grecian Formula and wondered, what the hell is he thinking?  He’s 82 years old for god’s sakes.  As one commenter said, it’s the ego of a man pampered by 30 years of power who thinks that only he can stabilize Egypt and the middle east.  In fact, he’s doing quite the opposite.  The people of Egypt want him gone.  A week ago, Mubarek stepping down might have been enough to turn the boiling pot down to a simmer, buying the region enough time to put together an interim government.  Now, it looks like all Hell is about to break loose.

But Mubarek must have the last word and he’s not going.

I’ve read that the protestors are starting to move on the presidential palace.

Those kinds of things never end well.