Bastille Day 2020 - Message from the Ambassador

I am pleased to welcome you on this 14th of July, which will remain as exceptional as this "out of the ordinary" year 2020 in all respects and invite you to celebrate this day with us online which marks the 231st anniversary of the French Revolution. I would like to welcome you all to our website and our Facebook page, which also fly the flag of France, and I regret, under these circumstances which are far from anything we could have imagined, that we are unable to offer you the hospitality that allows us to meet again each year at the Residence in an atmosphere that is both festive and solemn.

This year, the course of events has been different, but we do not forget the friends of France, especially at the time of the Bastille Day. We do not forget our compatriots and all those who, like all of you, join us in thought on this day dedicated to France, to the universal message carried by the French Revolution and to the ideals it embodies. More than ever, the words Liberty, Equality and Fraternity resonate in our hearts and bring us together today with strength and hope to build the world of tomorrow together.

For this 14th of July like no other, we offer you an online itinerary that will virtually transport you to France. You will find videos that will take you back to our great Bastille Day traditions, our country and our culture. I warmly invite you to join us and particularly recommend the flag-raising ceremony against the background of the Marseillaise, our national anthem which is dear to all of you who are reading this, as well as a recital of French music, the 3rd movement of Maurice Ravel’s Sonatine.

The health crisis that has stunned the entire planet has shaken our lifestyles, shaken our certainties, plunged millions of people around the world into mourning and suffering, and generated an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions. It will mark a major turning point in the history of the modern world. Through its global impact, it reminds us that the planet we live on is one and in solidarity and that we are all equal in the face of the dangers that threaten it. The COVID-19 pandemic is a cruel reminder of this, as is climate change, which, more surreptitiously but just as destructively, is disrupting our environment, gnawing away at our coasts and oceans and unleashing the forces of nature.

This terrifying experience therefore invites us to learn lessons for the future. But before we do so, it reminds us of our duty to pay tribute to all those around the world who have risked their lives in the fight against the spread of the virus, eased the suffering of the sick and accompanied their families and loved ones through their distress. This 14th of July we dedicate to the health care personnel of all countries and to all those who have mobilized to ensure the continuity of everyday life for all of us, wherever the virus has paralyzed economic and social activity. The entire French nation expresses its profound gratitude to them.
No one today denies that these few months of 2020 that we have lived through are going to go down in history and that it is our responsibility to reflect on their full significance. If we do not do so now, if we ignore the message that history is sending us, then we will be condemned to relive it. For what this crisis has revealed is, first of all, a critical need—the need to mobilize, more than ever, the international community against the global threats to our future. This means strengthening multilateralism and giving the bodies that drive it the resources to fulfil their mission. In this regard, the field of public health remains a high priority in the fight against pandemics, both present and future, and we are convinced that the strengthening of the World Health Organization must receive our full attention and efforts. France’s diplomacy is committed to this. This will be one of the major themes of the 3rd edition of the Paris Peace Forum, which will be held from November 11 to 13, partly by videoconference and, we all hope, partly attended in person by the many guests we are expecting on this occasion. It will be the first major global post-COVID meeting.

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, a friend and partner of France, has of course an important role to play in tomorrow’s post-COVID world. It has distinguished itself throughout this crisis by its resilience, commitment and preparedness in the face of the pandemic, which has enabled it to move quickly to protect its population. On behalf of France, I would like to express our gratitude to Trinidad and Tobago, which I address to all the institutions that make this country proud, and show all our support and our willingness to work together for the economic, ecological and social reconstruction of the 21st century, which has just come about in a way that is as brutal as it is unexpected.

I would like to extend my thanks to all our partners, French companies and community, the business, cultural, associative and academic communities in Trinidad and Tobago, and colleagues in the diplomatic corps who have always supported us and shared these long weeks of crisis with us. I would like to take this opportunity to extend a special thought to the Alliance Française of Port of Spain and to the team of the IFLE (Establishing French as a Language of Communication) programme, who have continued throughout this period with dedication and courage to promote the French language and culture in this great region of the Caribbean that is so dear to us.

I would like to send you all a message of hope on this 14th of July. The health crisis has been able to awaken our consciences, to strengthen forgotten or strained links, to give us time for reflection during these long weeks of lockdown of a large part of humanity. Far from isolating us, it will speed up the transformation of our societies as we have never seen before, both in terms of digital technologies and the deep bond that unites us. It is up to us to ensure that this crisis is transformed into an opportunity and not to forget that, in this time of peril, what unites us is stronger than what divides us.
I look forward to seeing you all at the Residence on July 14, 2021, and wish you all a better world, more united and looking towards the future.

Long live the Republic,
Vive la France,
Long live the friendship between France and Trinidad and Tobago.

Last updated on: 13 July 2020