Amercia today: Waiting for Zola
Starting in 2009, Obama/Biden, as promised, "fundamentally changed" America by "taking America down a peg or two." Eight years later, the electorate rebelled, electing a Populist who promised to restore America to its previous world preeminence. But the Deep State perceived the Populist tide as an existential threat, ignoring the Constitutions Bill of Rights and destroying the democratic institutions on which America was founded, including a free and independent media. Has a society ever turned on its founding ideals so self-destructively before?
Yes, Exhibit A is how the French Deep State destroyed its ideals of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity during the Dreyfus Affair. Recall: the traitor who gave French military secrets to the German General Staff was the French Army Major Ferdinand Esterhazy The innocent officer who was imprisoned on Devils Island for Major Esterhazys treachery was a loyal artillery captain by the name of Alfred Dreyfus.
But, before the actual facts were known, the Deep State decided the traitor "could not be one of us." The only Jew on fhe French General Staff and "not one of us," was Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Based on faulty handwriting analysis, Dreyfus was convicted and imprisoned on Devils Island.
Captain Alfred Dreyfus would have died on Devils Island except for the honesty of Lt. Colonel Georges Picquart whose independent investigation pointed to Major Esterhazy, an indebted gambler whose wife was a countess. "Count" Esterhazy was definitely "one of us."
So great was the Deep States desire to prove that the traitor was "not one of us," that some officers within the French General Staff (in particular, Major Hubert-Joseph Henry) forged false evidence against the innocent Captain Dreyfus.
In fact, the Deep States cover-up would have remained hidden except for the audacity of Emile Zola, Frances most distinguished and admired journalist who risked his literary reputation and even his fortune to save Dreyfus, whom he did not know and did not particularly like because Dreyfus was a Jew. Zola wrote: "...I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the inquiry take place in broad daylight! I am waiting. Emile Zola, 13th January, 1898."
Despite Zolas impassioned letter to the President of France, accusing various high officials of the crimes against Captain Dreyfus, the Deep State put Emile Zola on trial for libel. Moreover, Lt. Colonel Picquart was court-martialed and cast out of the Army he served so nobly. The real traitor remained at large.
Although it took many years (1894-1906) for the entire truth of the Dreyfus Affair to come to light, Emile Zola eventually resumed his place in the Pantheon of French literature. Picquart was promoted to general and, later, served President Clemenceau as his Minister for War. Dreyfus was promoted to Lt. Colonel and served with valor during World War I. Inside the Tuileries Gardens stands a bronze statue of Alfred Dreyfus.
Will Americas current turmoil have such a just resolution? Maybe. Meanwhile, we are waiting for a Zola.
Suggested reading: An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris, 2014. The Dreyfus Affair, by Charles River Editors and Gregory T. Luzitano, 2019. Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett, 1953.
©2023. William Hamilton.