Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A French Veteran of la Résistance During WW II: "Use the word Resistance only if, by misfortune, the duty to Resist were again to arise for real"

When Le Monde commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Summer of 1940, several French readers, many if not all of whom lived through the German invasion in World War II, wrote to share their memories. (Thanks for the InstLink.)

The most interesting letter is probably that of Normandy's Jacques Gindrey, who protests the abusive usage of the word "Resistance" (with a capital R) to denote all sorts of activities that didn't really call for a massive amount of courage by, say, picking up a rifle and putting one's life at risk:

" Résistance "

Résistance, avec un grand " r ", on en trouve partout, bien plus qu'en 1940-1944 ! Résistance d'un instituteur contre de nouvelles modalités d'enseignement, Résistance contre les atteintes aux droits des Roms, Résistance contre l'EPR... Nous ne sommes certainement pas plus de 20 000 survivants à avoir résisté effectivement, fusil en main (ou l'équivalent : renseignement, etc.) avant septembre 1944, et encore moins avant le débarquement du 6 juin 1944. Alors, ne mettez plus de grand " r " à votre opposition à ceci ou à cela, gardez-nous notre Résistance, et n'utilisez ce grand mot que, si par malheur, surgissait le devoir de Résister " pour de vrai " !
Jacques Gindrey Vire (Calvados)
These days, the word Resistance, with a capital R, is to be found everywhere, far more prominently than in 1940-1944! The Resistance of a teacher against new teaching methods, the Resistance against infringements on the rights of the gypsies, the Resistance against nuclear power… Today, there are certainly no more than 20 000 survivors to have effectively resisted, rifle in hand (or the equivalent: work in intelligence-gathering, etc…), prior to September 1944, and even fewer prior to the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. So do not put a capital R on your opposition to one thing and another, leave us with our Resistance, and use that great word only if, by misfortune, the duty to Resist were again to arise for real.

No comments: