Below is a second open letter from members of the French military, this time from active-duty servicemen and -women. It takes courage to sign one’s name to such a document and be willing to face the disciplinary consequences.
This letter serves as a sequel to one signed by retired generals that was published a couple of weeks ago. The text was once again posted at Valeurs Actuelles. It’s not clear how many signatories it had, but I’ve read that there were 2,000.
Once again we owe a debt of gratitude to Nathalie for the translation:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Ministries, members of Parliament, general officers, and to all whom it may concern
The seventh stanza of La Marseillaise, known as “the children’s stanza” is no longer sung, though it has much to teach us. Let it speak for itself:
“For when we enlist as soldiers, our elders will have departed
There, shall we find their dust and the traces of their virtues
We hanker less to survive them than share their resting place
We shall have the sublime pride of avenging them or joining them in death”
Our elders are combatants who have earned respect. They are, for example, those old warriors whose honour you have trampled in the past few weeks. It is those thousands upon thousands who served France, who signed a tribune full of common sense, those soldiers who gave the best years of their lives to defend our freedom, obeying your orders, to wage your wars or implement your budgetary restrictions, whose honour you have defiled even when the people of France offered them their full support. Those people who fought against all the enemies of France; you called them factious when their only crime was to love their country and weep over her all too obvious decline.
In those conditions, it behooves us who have recently entered into a military career to step into the limelight and tell the truth and nothing but the truth.
We are those whom the news outlets named the “Generation of Fire“. We are military men and women, on active duty, from all ranks and forces and with the widest range of opinions, and we love our country. This is our only pride. And even as the law forbids us to express ourselves openly, nonetheless we cannot remain silent.
Afghanistan, Mali, the Central African Republic, or elsewhere, a number of us has come under enemy fire. Some have lost comrades. They have risked their skins to destroy the Islamic foe you bend over backwards to accommodate on our soil.
Most of us have taken part in Operation Sentinel. We saw with our own eyes the abandoned “banlieues”; we have witnessed the permissive tolerance of the authorities for crime and delinquency. We have been targeted by several religious communities who sought to use us as their own instrument and for whom France means nothing, nothing but an object of derision, something to be loathed and even hated.
We marched on the 14th of July in the military parade. And for months the authorities demanded that we be wary of this well-meaning, diverse crowd, which was cheering us because we represent them; we were forbidden to wear our uniforms whilst on the streets, making us into potential victims, on a soil we are nonetheless perfectly able to defend.
Yes, our elders are right, and their whole letter is right, in its entirety. We witness the violence in our cities and in our villages. We can see communitarianism becoming entrenched in the public space and in public debates. We can see the hatred of France and her history becoming the norm.