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Existentialism
Albert Camus (1913 - 1960)
The Blood of Freedom
Art does not tolerate reason
Albert Camus

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The Blood of Freedom
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Paris is shooting all her bullets in the August night. In this vast setting of stones and waters, all around this river that has reflected so much history, the barricades of freedom have once more been thrown up. Once more justice must be bought with the blood of men.

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 was easy.

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.

Our conviction 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.

Combat, 24 August 1944.

 

Ce qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé. Nietzsche, Gay Science

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