So in the Cimitière Montmartre I found one of my heroes.
That is to say, I found the memorial. He is interred at the Panthéon.
Why a hero? Amongst his many writings Emile Zola wrote this, which is as relevant today in our political discourse and climate as it was almost exactly 50 years to the day before my birth.
Ah, what a cesspool of folly and foolishness, what preposterous fantasies, what corrupt police tactics, what inquisitorial, tyrannical practices! What petty whims of a few higher-ups trampling the nation under their boots, ramming back down their throats the people’s cries for truth and justice, with the travesty of state security as a pretext.
It is a crime that those people who wish to see a generous France take her place as leader of all the free and just nations are being accused of fomenting turmoil in the country, denounced by the very plotters who are conniving so shamelessly to foist this miscarriage of justice on the entire world. It is a crime to lie to the public, to twist public opinion to insane lengths in the service of the vilest death-dealing machinations. It is a crime to poison the minds of the meek and the humble, to stoke the passions of reactionism and intolerance, by appealing to that odious anti-Semitism that, unchecked, will destroy the freedom-loving France of the Rights of Man. It is a crime to exploit patriotism in the service of hatred, and it is, finally, a crime to ensconce the sword as the modern god, whereas all science is toiling to achieve the coming era of truth and justice.
Truth and justice, so ardently longed for! How terrible it is to see them trampled, unrecognized and ignored!
[ ... ]
I said it before and I repeat it now: when truth is buried underground, it grows and it builds up so much force that the day it explodes it blasts everything with it. We shall see whether we have been setting ourselves up for the most resounding of disasters, yet to come.
Just insert, for example, Abbott, or Howard, or Liberal Party, or Hockey, or Jones, or Bolt; strike out anti-semitism and replace it with asylum seekers, or global warming, or in earlier days Iraq, wherever they seem appropriate to you.
The French, I am convinced, are serious about and cherish and are vigilant about their hard-won democracy, their Rights of Man, their “liberté, égalité, fraternité”. Do Australians, in contrast, tend to think “she’ll be right”?
Posted: 14 June, 2012 in Aussie Citizenship, Australian Politics, Australian Values, Culture, History, Iraq, legal, Literature, politics and government, Racism, values.
Tags: Abbott, Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, asylum seekers, Australian cultural values, Australian political values, Australian Values, boat people, climate change, crime, Culture, Dreyfus, Dreyfus Case, droits d l'homme, egalite, Emile Zola, France, fraternite, fraternity, global warming, government, History, Hockey, honesty, Howard, human rights, injustice, Iraq, j'accuse, justice, l;iberty equality, law, legal, legal values, Liberal, liberte, Literature, Media, military, miscarriage, montmartre, paris, political values, politics, press, public opinion, Rights of Man, truth, Zola