NEITHER VICTIMS NOR EXECUTIONERS – Albert Camus

Yes, we must raise our voices. Up to this point, I have refrained from 
appealing to emotion. We are being torn apart by a logic of history which 
we have elaborated in every detail–a net which threatens to strangle us.
 It is not emotion which can cut through the web of a logic which has 
gone to irrational lengths, but only reason which can meet logic on its 
own ground. But I should not want to leave the impression… that any
program for the future can get along without our powers of love and
 indignation. I am well aware that it takes a powerful prime mover to get 
men into motion and that it is hard to throw one’s self into a struggle 
whose objectives are so modest and where hope has only a rational basis–
 and hardly even that. But the problem is not how to carry men away; it is
essential, on the contrary, that they not be carried away but rather that
 they be made to understand clearly what they are doing.

To save what can be saved so as to open up some kind of future–that is 
the prime mover, the passion and the sacrifice that is required. It
 demands only that we reflect and then decide, clearly, whether humanity’s
lot must be made still more miserable in order to achieve far-off and
 shadowy ends, whether we should accept a world bristling with arms where
brother kills brother; or whether, on the contrary, we should avoid 
bloodshed and misery as much as possible so that we give a chance for
 survival to later generations better equipped than we are.

For my part, I am fairly sure that I have made the choice. And, having 
chosen, I think that I must speak out, that I must state that I will 
never again be one of those, whoever they be, who compromise with murder,
and that I must take the consequences of such a decision. The thing is
done, and that is as far as I can go at present…. However, I want to
 make clear the spirit in which this article is written.

We are asked to love or to hate such and such a country and such and
 such a people. But some of us feel too strongly our common humanity to
make such a choice. Those who really love the Russian people, in 
gratitude for what they have never ceased to be– that world leaven which
Tolstoy and Gorky speak of–do not wish for them success in power politics,
 but rather want to spare them, after the ordeals of the past, a new and
 even more terrible bloodletting. So, too, with the American people, and
 with the peoples of unhappy Europe. This is the kind of elementary truth 
we are likely to forget amidst the furious passions of our time.



Yes, it is fear and silence and the spiritual isolation they cause that
 must be fought today. And it is sociability and the universal inter-
communication of men that must be defended. Slavery, injustice, and lies
 destroy this intercourse and forbid this sociability; and so we must
 reject them. But these evils are today the very stuff of history, so 
that many consider them necessary evils. It is true that we cannot 
”escape history,” since we are in it up to our necks. But one may propose 
to fight within history to preserve from history that part of man which
is not its proper province. That is all I have to say here. The “point”
of this article may be summed up as follows:

Modern nations are driven by powerful forces along the roads of power
 and domination. I will not say that these forces should be furthered 
or that they should be obstructed. They hardly need our help and, for
 the moment, they laugh at attempts to hinder them. They will, then,
 continue. But I will ask only this simple question: What if these 
forces wind up in a dead end, what if that logic of history on which 
so many now rely turns out to be a will o’ the wisp? What if, despite 
two or three world wars, despite the sacrifice of several generations 
and a whole system of values, our grandchildren–supposing they survive–
find themselves no closer to a world society? It may well be that the 
survivors of such an experience will be too weak to understand their 
own sufferings. Since these forces are working themselves out and since
 it is inevitable that they continue to do so,there is no reason why
 some of us should not take on the job of keeping alive, through the 
apocalyptic historical vista that stretches before us, a modest 
thoughtfulness which, without pretending to solve everything, will 
constantly be prepared to give some human meaning to everyday life. 
The essential thing is that people should carefully weight the price 
they must pay….



All I ask is that, in the midst of a murderous world, we agree to reflect
on murder and to make a choice. After that, we can distinguish those
 who accept the consequences of being murderers themselves or the 
accomplices of murderers, and those who refuse to do so with all their 
force and being. Since this terrible dividing line does actually exist, 
it will be a gain if it be clearly marked. Over the expanse of five continents throughout the coming years an endless strugle is going to
 be pursued between violence and friendly persuasion, a struggle in 
which, granted, the former has a thousand times the chances of success 
than that of the latter. But I have always held that, if he who bases his
hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circumstances is a coward. And henceforth, the only honorable course will be
to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful 
than munitions

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التصنيفات : English topics, الأخبـــــار

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