Macron warns rising nationalism would put world peace on edge
Paris : With world leaders gathered, church bells rang and Bach's Sarabande played, French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday held a solemn ceremony to mark the centenary of the Armistice of the First World War.
Around 11 a.m. Macron and delegates from around 70 countries walked side by side towards the Arc de Triomphe to pay tribute to around 10 million soldiers killed during the 1914-1918 war, Xinhua reported.
In a wintry and rainy day, 40-year-old Macron inspected troops. In his following speech, the president reminded the gathering that "during these four years, Europe had come close to committing suicide. 10 million dead, 6 million injured," ringing an alarm bell for the rising nationalism, which, according to him, would put on edge fragile world peace.
100 years on, the French president warned "the old demons are rising again. New ideologies manipulate religions, history threatens to resume its tragic course.
"Let us build our hopes rather than playing our fears against each other," he said.
"The lesson we draw of the great war cannot be rancor and resentment against other nations. And it cannot be allowing the past to be forgotten. The great war is a foundation that obliges us to think forward to the future and think of our essential values," he noted.
At Sunday's commemoration, young students, born decades after the World Word II, read out in English, Chinese and French etc. testimonies written by French, German, British and American soldiers when the guns fell silent on November 11, 1918.
Culminating a week of World War I memorials, Macron also lighted a flame and laid a wreath to honour an unknown soldier who was killed in the war and whose remains are buried with others under the arch.
Starting from July 28, 1914, and ended on November 11, 1918, the First World War is one of the bloodiest wars in history. Involving five European empires and dozens of world powers, it ended up with a Europe left in ruins and almost a generation of youth depleted.