French Soldier's Open Letter to President Hollande of France

Here is a translation of a letter sent to the French President by a young military officer, detained for 24 hours for having attended the protest against same sex “marriage.”

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Mr. President of the Republic,

I am a young officer in the Operational Reserve of the Ground Army, arrested arbitrarily  on the occasion of the Round-up at the Champs Elysees on May 25, 2013 and detained for 24 hours. I beg you kindly to take back my military decorations. The dishonor that you subjected me to does not allow me to bear worthily the symbol of respect that was granted to me by the Nation. A jurist in civil life, with a diploma from the Saint Cyr Special Military School, and two Mastersin International Relations and Defense Security, I thought that I was worthy of the Republic having been able to assimilate the values and virtues learnt throughout the course of my education.

Not living in our Capital, but being a simple provincial, I was going to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier for a moment of recollection near our ancestors who died for our Liberty. I came out on the Champs Elysees avenue when movements of crowds caught my attention. I naturally went to what seemed to me to be the center of a protest action. I recognized the banners of “Manif pour Tous.” I saw nothing other than determined but peaceful young people.

Having trained for missions of protection of the territory such as Vigipirate, I had just learned that one of my comrades was wounded on the Defense Square while carrying out his mission a few hours earlier. Disturbed by so much Parisian agitation, I remained a spectator astonished by the violence with which our forces of order were acting against these young people. The images speak for themselves. I am aware of the difficulty of managing a crowd and I don’t dispute the individual actions of our police who execute hierarchical orders.

However, I am indignant about the completely arbitrary arrests organized on the eve of a manifestation authorized by the Prefecture.

I was arrested, though I was only a curious passer-by and silent spectator! A commander pointed his finger at me and ordered his subordinates to “load me” after an exchange of looks. Is it too clear to seem innocent? My officer’s hairstyle seemed too short for them to embody the simple passer-by, however, I was head of the Picket of Honor of a commemoration a few days earlier for the 68th anniversary of the May 8, 1945 Victory … The words spoken by the Prefect re-echoed in me during the reading of the message of Mr. Kader Arif, Minister Delegate at the Ministry of Defense, in charge of veterans, who denounced the political actions of the Nazis on individuals judged unworthy. Does the French educated and instructed youth seem unworthy, Mr. President?

Yes, we can speak of a ROUND-UP, organized by your services that evening. None of my (our) liberties were respected. Arrested for no reason, I did not even have a sign showing preference for a side, or aggressive behavior. I was arrested vehemently as a vulgar criminal, without any prior notice, without any explanation, without any consideration.

Twenty-four hours in custody, Mr. President, allow me to remind you that “force without law renders theabject truth.” I will not permit myself to criticize your round-up operation if mass and improvised arrests were not verified. These 24 hours of detention had at least the merit of allowing me to have an exchange with my fellow detainees … the numerous leaders and university students that surrounded me made me think of those elites that are put in jail out of fear of their becoming vectors of conscience.

Dishonored by these methods, I am profoundly offended and I beg of you, kindly, to take back my decorations that made me proud to embody the profound Love of our Homeland and the duties that they imply. “One dies for a Cathedral not for stones, for a people not for a crowd. One dies for love of man if he is the key to turn a community, one dies only for that for which one can live” (Antoine de Saint Exupery).

In order to facilitate the administrative practices, given that I have endured repeated delays in regard to my salary, I naturally take precautions of use in transmitting to you my defense identification, commonly called, matricola [registration number]: 0739020120.

I thank you in advance for your attention, and I pray that you will accept, Mr. President of the Republic, the expression of my profound respect.

The translation of the letter is by Father Pierre Laurent Cabantous and appeared on the Website Click here for the original French text.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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