What were Parisians doing on 14 July 1789?
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Today’s question was read on 14 July, the French fête nationale, which commemorates the first Fête de la Féderation (Festival of the Federation) in 1790 - the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. I asked you to tell me what “the storming of the Bastille” was – what did the Parisians do on 14 July 1789?
The answer is: the Bastille was a fortress/prison: political prisoners, who had displeased the king in some way or another, were held there. The Bastille was also filled with guns and ammunition. The people of Paris attacked the Bastille to release the prisoners (although there were only seven there at the time, and none of any political importance) and to get the arms which were stored there. Which they did – they won.
Feudalism was abolished, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed a month later and the French modern nation was born.
The winners this week are: Mr Agwe Atoh from Mbengwi, in the North-West Region of Cameroon; Mr Modu Mulima from Borno State, Nigeria; Mr Niyarnibir Talukdar from Assam, India; Mrs Kaneez Fatima of the International Listeners Club in Mailsi, Pakistan, and Mr Imran Naveed Khan from Karachi, Pakistan.
And now on to this week’s quiz … the presidential race in the US is heating up with less than 50 days to go until election day (and be sure you tune into RFI English for coverage – our Sarah Elzas will be there, and she is tireless!).
And heating up it is: this past week a private video of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, speaking to a group of donors at a 50,000 USD per person dinner in Florida last May, was made public. In his speech Romney referred to a percentage of the American population that doesn’t pay taxes (although he forgot to use the word “federal” before “taxes” – everyone pays some kind of tax in the US, whether it be city, state, payroll or sales tax).
Romney said that this percentage of the population are people who “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement and government should give it to them.”
Can you believe it? Some people actually believe they are entitled to food in the richest country in the world … the country of which they are citizens … amazingly presumptuous, isn’t it?
I asked my Republican 80-year-old mother - who no longer pays federal tax, because she is old and is now living off her government retirement, which she paid into her entire working life - how she liked being called an “entitled victim”. I can’t print her answer … it was not very ladylike!
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney forgot to say, even though the percentage point that he quoted came from a study by the highly respected nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in the US, that the households in question consist primarily of the retired, the poor, and low-income families with children … moreover, these households do pay taxes, if not income taxes: just eight per cent of households in America do not pay payroll or federal income taxes, discounting the elderly.
But how about this for irony: it was Republican presidents, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George W Bush, who introduced new tax credits to help the poor, senior citizens and low-income working families. … and the result of those tax credits is that the poor and the elderly no longer pay federal income taxes.
Politics – what a weird world it is, eh?
My question to you is: what is the percentage of the American population, which, according to Republican candidate Mitt Romney, pays no tax, feel as if they are victims, and are entitled to the government taking care of them? By the way, he got the number wrong – so you can send me either the right number, or the number Romney actually said.
Send me your answer by 22 October; the answer and the winners will be announced on the 27 October programme. As always, be sure you send your postal address in with your answer … and be sure and tell me if you are a Mr or a Mrs or a Ms or a Miss – I don’t want to get it wrong!
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I look forward to hearing from you soon!
All the best,