July 5, 2018
I came across a quote by French philosopher Albert Camus, written during the German occupation of France.
"And I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice."
This sentence is part of a letter that Camus wrote to a German friend in July of 1943:
You said to me: ‘The greatness of my country is beyond price. Anything is good that contributes to its greatness. And in a world where everything has lost its meaning, those who, like us young Germans, are lucky enough to find meaning in the destiny of our nation must sacrifice everything else.’ I loved you then, but at that point we diverged. ‘No’, I told you, ‘I cannot believe that everything must be subordinated to a single end. There are means that cannot be excused. And I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don’t want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood. I want to keep it alive by keeping justice alive.’ You retorted: ‘Well, you just don’t love your country’ ...
These letters were written and published clandestinely during the Occupation. As Camus writes, “They had a purpose, which was to throw some light on the blind battle we were then waging and thereby to make our battle more effective.” Camus claimed that he loved his country too much to be a nationalist.
I love our country and I believe in the values for which we stand of liberty and justice for all. These words from a time past seem very relevant for these days. What do you think?