The Marseillaise, the French national anthem, is hated by a lot of people in France because of one line:
Qu’un sang impur, abreuve nos sillons!
It means ‘let impure blood water our fields’ and it made sense about 200 years ago when the song was written. France was facing war with most of Europe, and wanted any invaders viciously killed.
But it makes much less sense now, especially given well over 10% of France’s population is an ethnic minority who don’t have fond memories of the country’s colonial past.
So, what to do about it? An answer came to me while donating blood this week, sitting there watching my blood pump into a bag (see the beautiful photo above). How about changing the line to this:
Qu’un sang, n’importe quel sang, en faire don à l’hôpital!
Ok, it doesn’t fit the tune and it’s probably appalling French (I’m trying to say, ‘Got blood, any blood, then donate it at the hospital’), but those problems aside, it might just work!
If you’ve got a better suggestion, let me know. And if you want to donate, you can find out where to do so here if you live in the UK, here if you live in France, and here if you’re in the States. If you live elsewhere, use bloody Google!