As French President Francois Hollande, his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, and the family of the victims who died on November 13's terror attacks in Paris gathered to mourn the lost on Friday at Les Invalides in the center of the city, ordinary people took up the government's call to show that they are "Proud of France."
Yesterday, the French government's official twitter account called on citizens to tweet images of the French flag, the Tricolor, in whatever creative way they could think of:
The tweet reads "let's all join in the national commemoration on Friday at 8 a.m.. Here's how."
Under the hashtag #FiersdelaFrance, or "[we are] proud of France" the campaign has proven immensely popular, and prompted French citizens to display their national colors in whatever way the could think of:
Not everyone supported the sentiment, however, with Slate France accusing the government of recycling an "old hashtag" for an "inappropriate purpose" - using a violent event to stir up nationalist feelings. They also took issue with the way the government seemed to be encouraging French people to use something as lightweight as a selfie to honor a tragedy that cut so deep.
In a graph, the news website also wrote that the hashtag actually reached peak use between November 2nd and 3rd - more than a week before the attacks in the capital that claimed 130 lives.
Others were also worried about the militarist rhetoric and reactionary attidues that could accompany the government's stirring-up of nationalistic feeling, especially considering President Hollande's recent meetings in Washington and Moscow. Anthony Millet of Aix-en-Provence told DW that he saw the #FiersdelaFrance hashtag "less as a form of respect and tolerance" than as a "shameless display" of right-wing jingoism.
French news agency AFP reported that even some families of the attacks' victims were ready to show their ire with the government - snubbing the commemoration in Paris, as they blamed the administration for not doing enough to tighten security in the capital after the killings at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a kosher market in January.