Pain, Anger, & Shame

“June 25. The bells for the ‘Ceasefire’ rang at midnight. I had not realized that I loved my country so much. I am full of pain, anger, and shame. I’ve reached the point where I can’t talk to anyone I suspect of judging this event in a way that differs from mine. At the first word that reveals his spinelessness, his acceptance, I hate him. I feel a kind of physical horror, I move away. That coward, that craven, cannot belong to the same people as I do. At last I can understand all too well how civil wars can be born. I am going to bury myself in silence. I can’t say anything I think out loud. Already we’re settling into servitude. I heard a few of these noble citizens of Auvergne say: ‘Oh, well—they won’t take our mountains.’ Never have eggs, cherries, and strawberries sold so well. Few men really need freedom. I will take refuge in my real country. My country, my France, is a France that cannot be invaded.” (Jean Guehenno, Diary of the Dark Years, 1940–1944)