In every little town of France, the onlooker can not but read three old and simple little words on the pediments of the city halls and of some schools, “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité”.
These few short words stand where citizens discover life in society, then found their own future family. They convey in every French citizen’s daily life the idea that the French society is a «République indivisible, laïque, démocratique et sociale », meaning that French society is founded around a community of people willing to live and to govern their life side by side, as gathered under an unifying principle of secularism 1.
The satirical journal “Charlie Hebdo” is the most prominent, and in fact the last, illustration of this secularism in the daily French society. It is an open door and a fresh breeze against oppressive ideas.
My generation has not particularly been raised to live in a society where people are killed for an idea or for an intellectual choice; I realized today that we nevertheless have been well educated to identify the importance of the issue and to stand up for the reality of this very French specific little word.
There are some obvious things which are better to be written down.
This one is a very tricky and very clever principle, since it had be strong enough so it could — and did — replace the former gathering one given by the recognition of only one religion for all. It is certainly thus not surprising that it nowadays stumble over a bit to find its way among the development of ideas of the XXIth century in France. ↩