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“Ie dies on the verge of victory and the goal. Happiness to those who will survive us and taste the sweetness of Freedom and Peace of tomorrow. I am sure that the French people and all the Freedom Fighters will honor our memory with dignity. » Missak Manouchian addressed these words to his wife, his “beloved” Mélinée, two hours earlier than his execution. On February 21, 1944, on the age of 37, the communist resistance fighter of Armenian origin was killed for having defended the liberty of France in opposition to the Nazi occupiers, though he by no means managed to accumulate French nationality. .

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Eighty years later, France was lastly in a position to honor his reminiscence with dignity. Missak Manouchian entered the Pantheon, temple of the nice males and nice girls of the French nation. But not solely. The physique of Mélinée Manouchian accompanied him on this everlasting sleep in vault XIII of the Pantheon. “Today, it is no longer the winter sun on the hill; it is raining in Paris and France, grateful, welcomes you,” declared Emmanuel Macron in a critical tone.

This Wednesday, at dusk, a lifeless silence reigned within the sq. in entrance of the Pantheon. All that remained was the fixed sound of positive drops of rain falling on the stands. Here, college teams had been invited by the president to pay their final respects to the resistance fighter. In whole, 600 college students made the journey, in response to the Élysée facet. In the entrance row, the scholars of a CM2 class from the Chappe college in Saint-Étienne had been quietly ready for the ceremony to start. “But where is Macron? » said a student impatiently.

For Louis, 10 years old, a student at the Chappe school, paying tribute to the Parisian leader of the Francs-Tireurs et partisans de la immigrant workforce (FTP-MOI) was not an option. After studying with his teacher a work linked to the tragic fate of Missak Manouchian, Louis remembers having written, with his classmates and his teacher, to Emmanuel Macron, to ask him to attend the pantheonization of the resistance fighter. To the delight of these young Stéphanois, the president accepted. “He’s a hero. He tried to liberate France and he had the courage to resist,” says the boy, earlier than including: “He is an example for our generation. »

Manouchian, a “preferably French”

To be certain that this ceremony stays remembered, the Élysée had thought massive. And it was. The solemn tribute started with a studying of Missak Manouchian's final letter to his sweetheart Mélinée. And it was the singer Patrick Bruel, a long-time activist in favor of the pantheonization of the resistance, who had the heavy duty of announcing the farewell phrases of “Manouche”, he who liked his spouse Mélinée a lot. “My dear Mélinée, my beloved little orphan. In a few hours, I will no longer be in this world. We are going to be shot this afternoon at 3 p.m. This happens to me like an accident in my life, I don't believe it, but yet I know that I will never see you again. »

On Place Edmond Rostand, at the end of Rue Soufflot, the coffins of Missak and Mélinée Manouchian sit a stone's throw from a giant representation of the Red Poster. There, the filmmaker of Armenian origin Serge Avédikian cited one by one the names of this “band of friends, in life, in death”, as Emmanuel Macron describes, the Manouchian group. Then, to the applause of some valiant Parisians braving the rain, twelve troopers of the Foreign Legion, additionally “preferably French”, particulars the Élysée, lifted the coffins of the 2 resistance fighters and started their lengthy climb in direction of the Pantheon . In the background, Rostom Khachikian, grasp of the duduk, an oboe with ecstatic sounds straight from Armenia, carried out a mild and hypnotizing piece entitled “A Dream on the Horizon”.

During this ascent in direction of the Pantheon, the legionnaires paused thrice so as to give method to inventive performances retracing the lifetime of the resistance fighter, a “shadow soldier”, in response to Emmanuel Macron. A primary station was dedicated to the Armenian genocide from which Missak Manouchian escaped. In reminiscence of the decimated Armenian populations, the choristers of the Maîtrise Populaire of the Opéra Comique sang “They fell”. A shifting textual content written by Charles Aznavour, whose mother and father hid the Manouchians throughout the Nazi occupation.

The second break represented “Manouche's” dedication to France, with the studying of extracts from his notebooks, whereas the final stage of the ascent symbolized his combat in opposition to Nazi Germany, with an interpretation by eighty -ten youngsters from the Maîtrise Populaire of the Opéra Comique of “La Complainte du partisan”.

“It’s important to remember who Missak Manouchian was,” younger Louis informed us. Due to an obligation of reminiscence, this pantheonization was justified, in response to the president, particularly by the “return of war to Europe, the resurgence of anti-Semitism and hatred”.

His combat “made him a Frenchman”

The odyssey of this “French of preference” and “of hope”, as Emmanuel Macron says, “is also ours”. A primary recognition of inside communist and international resistance which however comes six many years after the pantheonization of Jean Moulin and the Gaullist resistance fighters.

Évan, 19, supervising highschool college students from the Nelson-Mandela college in Marseille, was proud to witness the pantheonization of an “honorable man who gave his life for France”. “You have to be proud to be French,” he mentioned. Furthermore, for the younger man, the communist resistance fighter didn’t die stateless: his combat “made him a Frenchman”.

When the coffins of the Manouchian couple had been positioned in entrance of the Pantheon, the French Army Choir sang the very well-known “Song of the Partisans”. Then, an angelic voice spoke up. That of Arthur Teboul, singer of the group Feu! Chatterton, who then sang “L’Affiche rouge” in his personal method.

“There were twenty-three of them when the guns flourished / Twenty-three who gave the heart before time / Twenty-three foreigners and our brothers nevertheless / Twenty-three lovers of living to death / Twenty-three who shouted France in s 'folding'. If the middle school students were sometimes a little bored, their eyes instantly lit up when they listened to this sweet, magnificent and sublime interpretation of Léo Ferré's song, inspired by Louis Aragon's “Stanzas to remember”.

For the primary time for the reason that begin of the ceremony, the 2 stands situated in entrance of the Pantheon stood as much as applaud the group's efficiency. There adopted a succession of projections on the facade of the Pantheon, additionally presupposed to retrace the lifetime of the Armenian poet. Then, some troopers from the Republican Guard arrived and took the 2 coffins to the guts of the Pantheon, on which we will learn “To the great men, the grateful homeland”.

“Is this how men live? »

In the wake of Missak and Mélinée Manouchian, “Jews, Poles, Hungarians, Italians, Spaniards, Romanians and French, young people of 20 who made an extremely courageous choice of resistance”, additionally shot on February 21, 1944. Thus, as recognition and serving as pantheonization, a plaque in tribute to the poet's 23 comrades in arms was positioned on his coffin.

Among these comrades in arms, France notably paid tribute at present to Joseph Epstein, chief of the Francs-Tireurs partisans within the Paris area, arrested by the Germans throughout a gathering with Missak Manouchian. We can even bear in mind Rino Della Negra, Italian footballer and legend of Red Star FC, and Olga Bancic, a volunteer of Romanian origin, each executed alongside Manouchian.

At the tip of the ceremony, Emmanuel Macron delivered the normal funeral oration. “Is this how men live? » repeated the president five times, returning a final Republican salute to the 24 faces of the FTP-MOI “that [le président a] decided to recognize everyone as dead for France. A Marseillaise then resonated in the nave of the Pantheon and the ceremony ended.

This tribute, certainly a little long for the schoolchildren – “But you were perfect,” says a trainer very proudly to his college students – will likely be remembered because the day when the Resistance, Gaullist in addition to communist, French in addition to international, was lastly gathered on the Pantheon. Emmanuel Macron concludes: “The order of the evening is now full. »