But especially living where we are now, here in Bordeaux where perhaps one of every twenty streets (perhaps more?) commemorates a Resistance fighter or an important military date or a citizen who was deported to the death camps of the Second World War, Remembrance seems a valiant and important effort. Yesterday, after five annual visits to Bordeaux, we finally got ourselves to the Centre Jean Moulin, a museum dedicated to the resistance movement against the occupying German forces.
As I mentioned last post, we've been watching Un Village Français, an excellent TV series that recreates/imagines (with guidance from a respected historian on this period) life in a French village under occupation, the forces that draw some to collaborate, others to begin resisting in various large or small ways. Walking through the Centre Jean Moulin yesterday, it was all too easy to recognise the historic (i.e. "real life") models for the fictionalised characters in the yellowed newspaper clippings pinned to the wall. I stopped to make a frustratingly poor sketch of the printing press we'd just seen in an episode (hidden in a basement, absolutely contraband, it's used to reproduce clandestine tracts protesting the occupation). . . And the Englishman who parachuted into the woods in an early episode might have worn boots like the ones above, designed so that the shaft that kept the lower leg warm in the air could be ripped away to leave a normal-looking shoe more conducive to escape.
I still have reservations about any glorification of military sacrifice, although I'm grateful for those who have made those sacrifices to my benefit. Right now, though, I'm particularly grateful for reminders that resistance to wrongheadedness or to downright evil is possible, even when that resistance puts one at odds with one's neighbours and, more significantly and intimidatingly, with the State.
And yesterday, as I told the woman staffing the rather quiet, apparently under-budgeted Centre Jean Moulin, I was very grateful for the important work many caring volunteers have obviously done in the decades since the end of the Second World War. . . .
Lest We Forget. . .
Thanks for all your comments on Wednesday's post written after I heard the results of the US election. Much as they warmed and encouraged me -- solidarity! -- I have to be honest and say that I was overwhelmed at the thought of answering them all carefully. And then -- and I hope this is okay -- I realised that the comments don't require a response. They are entirely sufficient, each one and every one, without my response. I'm so pleased to have elicited them and to have provided space for them, but I don't think this is really about me, and not just because it's too much physical and emotional work, I'm going to leave them stand just as they are. But do feel free to answer each other, as some of you are already. I think I've said as much as I can in the post. Thanks for understanding.