he will be a changed man...let's just say that
April 22, 2006 11:57 PM   Subscribe

Legio Patria Nostra
posted by pwedza (39 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't get it. Is this serious?
posted by number9dream at 12:16 AM on April 23, 2006


Holy sh_t, copyright is dead.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:19 AM on April 23, 2006


A bit more recent.
posted by pwedza at 1:00 AM on April 23, 2006


And actual combat footage (8 minutes in).
posted by pwedza at 1:11 AM on April 23, 2006


What's not to get? It's the French Foreign Legion. Extremely serious combat force.
posted by dammitjim at 1:24 AM on April 23, 2006


Interesting fact(?) from Wikipedia:

Legionnaires can choose to enlist under a pseudonym ("declared identity") and a declared citizenship. This disposition exists in order to allow people who want to turn over a new leaf in their life to enlist. French citizens can enlist under a declared, fictitious, foreign citizenship (generally, a francophone one). After one year, legionnaires can regularize their situation under their true identity.
posted by pruner at 1:33 AM on April 23, 2006


I'm watched the video now and I see that the fake ID thing is true.

cool.
posted by pruner at 1:58 AM on April 23, 2006


Legionarie = mercenary with a sense of identity. Replace nationality with idolatry of the Legion (therefore Legio Patria Nostra) and get the people that are too much of a rebel for most armies or have troubles with anger and violence. In the video their instructors (mon colonel !) are their murderous fathers and proclaim openly, without much secrecy, that one can't leave a legionarie without a job or he'll make troubles.

Their highest commander declares that females can't enter the Legion because they live too much in close contact and god forbid they could end up fucking. Or much worse, they would split the force and put legionarie against legionarie just by simply being there. Or much much much worse they could pacify the less screwed up ones, thus leaving the Legion only with borderline assassins and the worst of the worst, which is not good enough.
posted by elpapacito at 3:42 AM on April 23, 2006


"They're trained to be expendable" (at 12 min.)

"They usually like to send the legionne first because if things do work out- fine. Then they can give the glory to the French army. And if not- so a few foreigners die. No big deal." (12:15)

"I think they are more disposable." (at 13 min)

"The Farm" (at 15)

"The troops are taught to ignore the political or moral implications of their mission" (at 23 min)

"The French army has no scruples whatsoever about sending us to places where we die. Cause we're foreigners" (at 45)

"A depository for the world's misfits"

This is terrifying. In my blissful little bubble I had no idea about things like this. I would have thought it archaic and a thing of the past. History.

I also found the attempted coup against Charles de Gaulle an interesting fact. (21 min)

Definitely interesting about the new identity opportunity as well.

Fantastic video. Thank you for that, pwedza.

...also... aside from France, does any other country have an equivalent?
posted by degnarra at 4:38 AM on April 23, 2006


What I wonder now is what the average French citizen thinks of the Legion. Do they approve of its existence and celebrate its effectiveness? Does anybody have any insight into that?

I did some cursory searching, but all I immediately found were numerous calls [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ] for establishment of an American Foreign Legion.

I don't think other countries do have an equivalent force (yet), degnarra, but I don't know for sure.
posted by dammitjim at 4:59 AM on April 23, 2006


If I hadn't been so lazy, I would have found the Spanish Foreign Legion.
posted by dammitjim at 5:09 AM on April 23, 2006


I watched that for three minutes before wondering what it had to do with legos.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:10 AM on April 23, 2006


Heh. Yeah, I initially thought "Legos... Cosa Nostra? The mob, in Legos?"
posted by dammitjim at 5:14 AM on April 23, 2006


Fucking meat heads.
posted by strawberryviagra at 5:18 AM on April 23, 2006


Well, the US has Blackwater et al. We just pay our mercs as private contractors and let them choose their own slogans and logos.
posted by moonbiter at 5:37 AM on April 23, 2006


For dammitjim
posted by doctor_negative at 5:45 AM on April 23, 2006


doctor_negative: I'm not surprised in the least that such a thing exists. This is why we have the internet. So that all things may be redone in Legos.
posted by dammitjim at 6:00 AM on April 23, 2006


Lagos, dude.
posted by Mocata at 7:01 AM on April 23, 2006


"Few know the legion still exists.. even fewer have been inside."

"It is a dark and secretive world"

Is this propaganda? War porn? Mystification?
posted by stbalbach at 7:41 AM on April 23, 2006


other fictional movies on the topic:
Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion
Beau Geste
posted by destro at 8:13 AM on April 23, 2006


aside from France, does any other country have an equivalent?

Spain, as noted above. Germany had foreign units in the last war, mostly eastern European nationals who had a problem with the Russians.

Currently, Britain has Ghurkas, and very useful they've proved. You might stretch a point to the Swiss Guards.

Not quite the same thing, of course, as only Nepalese and Swiss need apply, but they are essentially mercenary units.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:26 AM on April 23, 2006


"Few know the legion still exists.. even fewer have been inside."

"It is a dark and secretive world"

Is this propaganda? War porn? Mystification?
posted by stbalbach at 10:41 AM EST on April 23 [!]


Actually, I think it's about the "romance of the honor of the scorned and damned." There is, I think, a fascination by all civilized peoples with damnation and redemption, and the mechanisms by which an individual becomes outcast, and by which outcasts can be redeemed. The FFL traditions surrounding identity and the revocation of it, and how such traditions turn the anti-social into respectable members of a societally sanctioned military organization are fertile ground for imagination. No doubt the FFL has uniquely served French interests at times, and yet, a dispassionate observer is left to wonder whether the French experience in Algeria would have been so bitter but for the attitude of the Legion, and whether that history does not, still, overhang recent problems in French society.

I, too, found the reference to the story regarding the FFL assassination attempt on De Gaulle very interesting, and yet, given that De Gaulle was a larger than life figure with one vision of history for France, and the Legion another nearly mythic and certainly larger than life element of French culture, such a head on confrontation must have been inevitable in such an atmosphere as the Algerian conflict brought, especially after Dien Bien Phu.
posted by paulsc at 8:44 AM on April 23, 2006


Colonialism dies hard, eh?
posted by signal at 9:13 AM on April 23, 2006


Ooh, tough boys being tough. Grrr.

Poor, stunted little things. To need this kind of self-affirmation.

"They are ready for death". Good.
posted by Decani at 9:45 AM on April 23, 2006


The book, "Mouth Full of Rocks" is an interesting biography by a modern FFL. Doesn't make it sound like a whole lot of fun.
posted by Whistlepig at 10:13 AM on April 23, 2006


yes, the Gurhkas have proven very usefulto Britain. Especially at IKEA stores.
posted by ab3 at 10:42 AM on April 23, 2006


correct me if i'm wrong, but i don't think anyone has linked the FFL English language recruitment site yet.
posted by ab3 at 10:53 AM on April 23, 2006


Very sensible of IKEA. Certainly I'd rather have them than the former FFL.

For a walk down memory lane, there is always Memoirs of the French Foreign Legion by Maurice Magnus.

Who he? A character, to say the least. The introduction by D.H. Lawrence spells it out. For resultant pissing contest, check out this (sorry, you'll need to scroll down. Not too good at linking to middles of pages)
posted by IndigoJones at 12:30 PM on April 23, 2006


By the way, the assassination attempts were not by the Foreign Legion itself, but apparently by some former Legionnairres and others in a group called the OAS, sort of a French version of the infamous Operation Gladio. It does seem to have been an inspiration for the Forsyth novel.

It is also very similar in many respects to the putsch that brought Franco to power in Spain, which began as an insurrection in African territories mostly now part of Morocco.

And a commenter on Wikipedia warns that "FFL" is a false friend as an acronym -- in French this refers to the Forces Fran├žaises Libres, or Free French Forces, who fought under de Gaulle in WWII. The real French acronym is LEF.
posted by dhartung at 1:50 PM on April 23, 2006


The French Embassy in the U.S. has a Legion website, as well.
posted by slackbp at 2:11 PM on April 23, 2006


It is also very similar in many respects to the putsch that brought Franco to power in Spain, which began as an insurrection in African territories mostly now part of Morocco.

Concerning which, let us not forget the numerous International Brigades that fought for the republicans in that squabble (nor the German Condor Legion that fought for Franco).

(And thank you for the acronym correction. Not thinking, clearly.)
posted by IndigoJones at 2:41 PM on April 23, 2006


Decani, why are you so threatened by the Legionnaires?
posted by Hal Mumkin at 3:04 PM on April 23, 2006


ab3 writes "yes, the Gurhkas have proven very usefulto Britain. Especially at IKEA stores."

The Ghurkas have a very good reputation for serving in police and peacekeeping functions. They have a degree of professionalism that is rare in police forces, and a reputation for passionless restraint and neutrality that is unusual in soldiers. Singapore uses retired Ghurkas as an elite police force, too, I think.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:10 PM on April 23, 2006


Smedleyman's gonna love this.
posted by pax digita at 3:49 PM on April 23, 2006


I did some cursory searching, but all I immediately found were numerous calls [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ] for establishment of an American Foreign Legion.

What would be the point? Tens of thousands of foreign nationals are already now serving in the US armed forces...
posted by Skeptic at 3:54 PM on April 23, 2006


Colonialism dies hard, eh?
posted by signal at 10:13 AM MST on April 23 [!]


It's still dying...hard as all Hell; but, it may be in it's last throes...

Ooh, tough boys being tough. Grrr.

Poor, stunted little things. To need this kind of self-affirmation.

"They are ready for death". Good.
posted by Decani at 10:45 AM MST on April 23 [!]

That's mindless enough.
posted by taosbat at 3:58 PM on April 23, 2006



posted by brundlefly at 6:51 PM on April 23, 2006


declared identity: so that's where Bin Laden is hiding!
posted by jouke at 9:41 PM on April 23, 2006


mr_roboto: There are Gurkha regiments just about everywhere, of course. The Indian Army famously has one, thus making Nepalese and Bhutanese, the only two other nationalities who (*) can serve in the Indian National Army.

Ironically, or perhaps not, the Gurkha regiment is currently the only regiment in the Army which does not have a recruitment shortfall; the motivation there, apparently, is family tradition in addition to personal pride and it being one of the easiest ways out of the Terai hills.

* - Grammar's fu*ked, late night out here, bear with me.
posted by the cydonian at 7:38 AM on April 24, 2006


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