Human communions

I borrow this title from a book by Régis Debray, published in 2005. It has little to do with Christianity and even had in the subtitle “To put an end to religion”. Régis, who is my friend, explained his project: let’s try to give up the word religion to see a little more clearly in the still opaque world of beliefs. As often with Régis, I had read this book closely. Then I must confess that it slipped my mind.

The meaning of a planetary event

It was the excitement that accompanied the disappearance of Queen Elizabeth II that troubled me. I ended up wondering if I had correctly understood the meaning of this planetary event. After 70 years of reign, the fidelity of this love and this popular emotion for the deceased sovereign constituted an extraordinary event. By its magnitude, it took us by surprise. Including the British and a good part of the Commonwealth countries. I wanted to reflect by situating myself this time beyond questions about royalty, its legitimacy and its future.

I must admit that I myself was moved. I was able to stay glued to the television for hours on end. Normally, I’m only rarely interested in these stories of kingdoms, monarchs and active aristocracies. With my wife, we were convinced by this popular fervor, but we couldn’t define it. That’s why I remembered Debray’s book that I had read 17 years before. Looking through it again, I had the feeling that it gave us a clue.

fervor and devotion

The event indeed resembled “human communions”. What does that mean? It is a collective fervor, a devotion, an attachment that inspires both respect and circumspection. Elizabeth II goes down in history in a more than respectable way. One would be tempted to speak of adoration, of living love, even of divination, authentic feelings but not so frequent in the history of peoples. All of a sudden, men and women agree to wait dozens of hours in queues of 10 or 12 kilometers. Some came from Australia (member of the Commonwealth) in order to see and approach the coffin.

At home, in France, the televisions followed the event without taking many breaks to discuss the rest of the news in the world. You could see that some experienced journalists were literally overwhelmed. Yes, even these warmed their hearts with the warmth of a “human communion”. And yet, despite the popularity of this queen, her reign had not escaped criticism, mockery, insolent imitations, irreverent comments.

British youth were all the more critical as for years the United Kingdom had been facing a deep crisis and a political disaffection towards those in power. Scotland threatens to hold a new referendum on its independence. The situation in Northern Ireland is tense again. Britain’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, is so far favored by the Conservatives and is already being compared to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. As for the situation of the economy, it is already giving governments cold sweats. Where will we be when the happiness of “human communion” ends? Will this “lunch in the sun” be forgotten?

We wholeheartedly wish our British neighbors not to find shade.

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Human communions

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