There's a good reason why Moquet's letter should not be read to students. Moquet was a Communist agitator, not a member of the French resistance. And his letter, though brave, says nothing about sacrifice for one's country. Indeed, it doesn't even mention France. That's not surprising -- as a Communist Moquet presumably was an internationalist at best (and a Russia-first Stalinist at worst), not a French nationalist.And I'd say not a bad gesture at all. Moquet doesn't mention country but neither did he mention Stalin. He writes of his family. This letter not a bad example at all for kids.
It's not clear, however, that the resistance by France's teachers to Sarkozy's decree stems from Moquet's lack of credentials as a patriot. In the news report I saw tonight on French television, the resistance seemed to have more to do with (a) resentment at being told what to do by Sarkozy and (b) a lack of desire to promote patriotism and sacrifice for country. One teacher sniffed that there are better ways to teach about the French resistance. But Sarkozy isn't devising a course on the resistance movement; he's trying to inject a little bit of patriotism into one school day. The problem is that he picked a poor example.
But that's not to say that Sarkozy made a mistake. More likely, I imagine, he made a gesture to the French left.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Guy Moquet's Letter
Powerline notes French President Nicolas Sarkozy said this letter needs to be read in French Schools ...as a celebration of resistance and sacrifice for one's country. PL writes,