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Open letter to Mr President of the French Republic - justice for executed soldiers
Submitted by admin on 26 May, 2009 - 10:10
We demand JUSTICE for the soldiers executed as an example during WW1!
Mr President of the Republic
We heard your speech delivered on November 11, 2008 at the National Necropolis of Douaumont – Meuse, concerning the soldiers executed as an example during WW1 . You said:
“But today, on November 11, 2008, whereas nearly all those who witnessed that tragedy have disappeared, whereas in France the last surviving soldier in this terrible war has passed away, whereas the hatred has faded, whereas the spirit of revenge has vanished, whereas neither of those who fought so eagerly has any more wish to dominate the other, time is ripe to honour all the dead…
I would also mention those who gave way, those who could not resist the pressure too strong, too horrible, and who once, after so much courage, so much heroism, remained paralysed when it was time to go into the attack. I would mention those men of whom too much was demanded, who had to risk their lives too many times, whom mistakes of commanding officers had sent to massacre and who, one day, were too exhausted to fight.
This total war refused to recognise any indulgence, any weakness. But, 90 years after the end of the war, I would like to say on behalf of the Nation, that a great many of those who were executed then did not disgrace themselves, were not cowards, but they simply were at the limit of their strength
I would like to say that the suffering of their wives, their children was as moving as the suffering of all the widows, of all the orphans of this merciless war. Remember that they were men like us with their strength and their weakness. Remember that they could have been our children. Remember that they were also the victims of a destiny which devoured so many men who were not prepared to such an ordeal. Who could have been prepared?”
Mr President of the Republic,
This is the exact truth of what happened in the horror of the war and in the trenches, under the bombs and hails of bullets, in blood, mud and death. No serious historian contests that.
Therefore, if words have a meaning, and they do have a meaning, you have to pardon the 650 soldiers executed as an example. Pardon is not a word that disgraces the memory of our people, it is a word that would honour it if you decided to pronounce it.
You were at Douaumont on November 11, 2008. But at Gentioux, in a small village of Creuse, one thousand pacifists, internationalists, Free Thinkers, secularists were gathering at the same time at the initiative of the Fédération Nationale de la Libre Pensée, Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, Association Républicaine des Anciens Combattants, Union pacifiste de France and Mouvement de la Paix.
They heard the democratic demand expressed by Marc Blondel, President of Libre Pensée, on behalf of all the organisations:
“It is high time for all the dead of the Great War to be readmitted into national memory which they never left actually because of the struggle of our organisations. It is time now to clear their names, completely, publicly, collectively and open-heartedly.”
Mr President of the Republic,
Indeed it is time, it is high time. Pardon those executed as an example! You have the power, you have the duty to pardon.
Yours sincerely in deep respect for human liberty and peace.