Becoming a French citizen
Sir, – Félicitations! “The Paris Letter” of April 12th, a historic first on the part of Citoyenne Marlowe, is inspirational. “We laughed when we called each other compatriot”, we learn, as, among 70 newly minted citizens, your intrepid reporter was awarded a cherished certificate of French naturalisation.
The history and culture of Lara Marlowe’s adopted country comes alive in the telling, with guest appearances on the part of philosophers Camus, Montaigne and Montesquieu, each in his own way proclaiming the privileges and the aesthetics inherent in the gift of a French birthright.
The latter-named might as readily have presented in Niamh Sammon’s challenging and provocative RTÉ documentary, Rome v Republic, as and when the civics-centred influences of the Enlightenment were uppermost as, forlornly, Wolfe Tone set his focus on an inclusive, tolerant republic.
In the two stories playing out here, could there be a more stark contrast as regards the essence of citizenship as we’d embrace the French experience above, so evocatively narrated, set against An Taoiseach John A. Costello’s “Irishman second, Catholic first” 1951 Dáil pronouncement, as recounted in the documentary? – Yours, etc,