We know this fight
too well, we are too involved through our flesh and our hearts to accept this
dreadful condition without bitterness. But we also know too well what is at
stake to refuse the difficult fate that we must endure alone.
Time will bear
witness to the fact that the men of France did not want to kill and that their
hands were clean when they entered a war they had not chosen. Their reasons
must then have been overwhelming for them suddenly to seize the guns and shoot
steadily, in the night, at those soldiers who for two years thought that war
Yes, their reasons
were overwhelming. They are as big as hope and as deep as revolt. They are the
reasons of the future for a country that others tried for so long to limit to
the gloomy rumination of her past. Paris is fighting today so that France may
speak up tomorrow. The people are under arms tonight because they hope for justice
for tomorrow. Some go about saying that it is not worth while and that with
a little patience Paris will be liberated without effort. But this is because
they vaguely sense that this insurrection threatens many things that would continue
to stand if all took place otherwise.
Indeed, this must
be increasingly obvious: no one can think that a freedom torn from such convulsions
will have the calm, tame aspect that some enjoy imagining. This dreadful travail
will give birth to a revolution.
No one can hope
that men who have fought in silence for four years and are now fighting all
day long in the din of bombs and the crackle of guns will agree to the return
of the forces of surrender and injustice under any circumstances. No one can
expect that these men--the nation's best--will again accept doing what the best
and purest did for twenty-five years--that is, loving their country in silence
and silently despising her leaders. The Paris that is fighting tonight intends
to command tomorrow. Not for power, but for justice; not for politics, but for
ethics; not for the domination of France, but for her grandeur.
is not that this will take place, but that this is taking place today in the
suffering and obstinacy of the fight. And this is why, despite men's suffering,
despite the blood and wrath, despite the dead who can never be replaced, the
unjust wounds, and the wild bullets, we must utter, not words of regret, but
words of hope, of the dreadful hope of men isolated with their fate.
This huge Paris,
all black and warm in the summer night, with a storm of bombers overhead and
a storm of snipers in the streets, seems to us more brightly lighted than the
City of Lights the whole world used to envy us. It is bursting with all the
fires of hope and suffering, it has the flame of lucid courage and all the glow,
not only of liberation, but of tomorrow's liberty.