Those who never
despaired of themselves or of their country find their reward under this sky.
This night is worth a world; it is the night of truth. Truth under arms and
in the fray, truth sustained by force after having so long been empty-handed
and unprotected. It is everywhere this night when people and cannons are booming
simultaneously. It is the very voice of the people and the cannons; it wears
the exhausted face of the street fighters, triumphal under their scars and sweat.
Yes, it is indeed the night of truth, of the only truth that matters, the truth
that is willing to fight and conquer.
Four years ago
men rose up amid ruins and despair and calmly declared that nothing was lost.
They said we had to carry on and that the forces of good could always overcome
the forces of evil if we were willing to pay the price. They paid the price.
And, to be sure, that price was heavy; it had all the weight of blood and the
dreadful heaviness of prisons. Many of these men are dead, whereas others have
been living for years surrounded by windowless walls. That was the price that
had to be paid. But those same men, if they could, would not blame us for this
terrible and marvelous joy that sweeps us off our feet like a high tide.
For our joy has
not broken faith with them. On the contrary, it justifies them and declares
that they were right. United in the same suffering for four years, we still
are united in the same intoxication; we have won our solidarity. And we are
suddenly astonished to see during this dazzling night that for four years we
have never been alone. We have lived the years of fraternity.
Harsh combats still
await us. But peace will return to this torn earth and to hearts tortured by
hopes and memories. One cannot always live on murders and violence. Happiness
and proper affection will have their time. But that peace will not find us forgetful.
And for some among us, the faces of our brothers disfigured by bullets, the
great virile brotherhood of recent years will never forsake us. May our dead
comrades enjoy by themselves the peace that is promised us during this panting
night, for they have already won it. Our fight will be theirs.
Nothing is given
to men, and the little they can conquer is paid for with unjust deaths. But
man's greatness lies elsewhere. It lies in his decision to be stronger than
his condition. And if his condition is unjust, he has only one way of overcoming
it, which is to be just himself. Our truth of this evening, which hovers overhead
in this August sky, is just what consoles man. And our hearts are at peace,
just as the hearts of our dead comrades are at peace, because we can say as
victory returns, without any spirit of revenge or of spite: "We did what was
Combat, 25 August