les miserables and Gavroche awards

I caught "Les Miserables" on Saturday in Indianapolis. The place was packed despite the entry price and Indy's reputation as a cultureless hick-town (one stereotype down, one) . It is of course old news anywhere else as I remember my sister catching it 15 years ago in Paris. Well, I loved it and more surprisingly, the "naptownians" ( people from Indy) loved it even more. Now, isn't Les Miserables about, among other things, "la revolution de Juillet" and the people of Paris challenging Charles X's reign ? You have to love the irony of a midwestern town as republican as can be giving a standing ovation to a group of artists waving the socialist red flag. Fugain's "chiffon rouge" song could have played in the background and it would have been the ultimate left-wing political meeting being cheered by people who would cringe at the mention of Karl Marx :). The numbers of unlawful acts of heroism in Hugo's Les Miserables is probably record breaking. From Valjean's stealing bread for his nieces to Gavroche facing bullets to steal ammuitions for the barricades, "Les mis" is a call to stand up against the law anywhere the law is unjust. So here is my list of most memorable moments of bravery against oppression and unjust laws,
Let's call it the "Gavroche' award":

-unknown rebel in front of tanks in Tiananmen square.
-Hector Peterson in soweto 1976
-Rosa Parks on the bus
-Galileo defending the earth motion against Church 's orders.
-Gandhi's Salt March.
-Cambronne in Waterloo: "The guard dies but does not surrender" or better yet: "Merde !"
-flight U93 passengers: "Let's roll".
-Aung San Suu Kyi using $1.3 million dollar from Nobel Prize for health and education in Myanmar.
-MDMR uprising in march, 1947, of course.
This list is certainly not exhaustive and so any help to my failing memory is appreciated. The Gavroche awards always welcome new additions :).
PS: a correction on this post as I modified Gavroche's crew to awards as I was looking for a defining moment of bravery not the bravest people which deserve a whole new post.


  1. Cool Lova you keep life interesting for all of us. In Montreal we are only allowed to see Don Juan, Le Roi Soleil, ..., Les Dix Commandements,...French only send us cheap culture ...
    It's ok for the Gavroche's crew, you can also add :
    - Sous-Commandant Marcos from Chiapas and his farmers;
    - Nelson Mandela;
    - Late Shaah Massoud from Afghanistan;
    - Ghandi;
    i'll be back

  2. Lova, what about Don Juan, Romeo & Juliet ...? Those are the musicals that French send Montrealers…sometimes I just want to kill myself and go watch a cheap Halloween movie…
    I would add :
    - Sous-Commandant Marcos from Chiapas;
    - Late Massoud from Afghanistan;
    - Las mamas de la plaza de Mayo;
    - Angie? Ok big joke...

  3. Jogany
    Great suggestions. Since I was looking for a defining time period, I would say 14 mothers sitting in front of casa rosada on april 30th, 1977; Defense of Panjshir in 1984 for Massoud. Mandela , what an omission but I cannot think of a particular moment right now......

  4. yes i really missed this point....lol
    For Mandela maybe on 1993 when in won the Nobel Prize with de Klerk....
    or the day he walked free after 25 years in prison? 1990? ... and then we can all sing some johnny clegg's song....
    For Marcos : it would be THE day he did his Great March to Mexico City in 2001.

    bizz lova

  5. salut Jogany,

    this is what I hoped while making the list: to learn about events that totally passed me by. Plaza de mayo, never hear of it before and so on...Marcos a little bit. I like the day of out prison for Mandela. I may want to change the moment for Gandhi: the Salt March was great but this line is hilariously awesome:
    Q: What do you think of western civilization ?
    Gandhi: I think that would be a great idea.
    Isn't that the funniest quote from arguably one of the most influential man ever ?
    Thanks for keeping the discussion going, Jogany.

  6. Don't worry I'm the official spammer on the web ... as long as I don't work then I simply disappear, snif... Why is summer so short? Why??? Tell me??
    We can also add Abbé Pierre saving people lives in the cold cold winter of 1954. Last year when it was starting to get below -10°C in Toulouse I wanted to keep this spirit by joining the Secours Populaire....unfortunately they made me cleaning the stock of toys for christmas gifts...so much for the spirit !!!


  7. Cool post. These, and other, acts of bravery are touching. I also think about the heroes we've never heard of.