Yes, it's a blog about reading.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Now I'm reading about the Dreyfus affair, which is the fourth section of The Proud Tower. Of course, I've heard of Dreyfus and I know Zola was involved and wrote J'accuse in response and that there was anti-semitism involved, but that was pretty much all I knew about it. The way it polarized the country and the intensity of the debate is amazing. Also, the fact that many justified the injustice of the Dreyfus trial by saying that to reopen the trial would undermine the army and lead to war with Germany.

Many of the Dreyfusards felt that France was betraying the values of 1789 through the injustice of the original trial and the refusal to reopen it. As Clemenceau wrote, "There can be no patriotism without justice....As soon as the right of one individual is violated, the right of everyone is jeapordized." These words should be heeded today when people bandy about the word patriotism while sanctioning the oppression of others.

Thinking back to the previous section, I am reminded how the American anti-imperialists felt that those who wanted to take over the Phillipines were betraying the original values of liberty on which the country had been founded, thus the title, "The End of the Dream."


  • At 6:09 AM, Blogger JLE said…


    The whole 4th Republic era is fascinating! One facet of l'affaire is that there is speculation that the die-hard anti-Dreyfus faction murdered Zola.


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