Thursday, 12 December 2013

My country, right or wrong

Supposedly a phrase coined by Carl Schultz, that title is but a part of the sentence.  It goes on along the lines of, "if right, to be kept right; if wrong, to be put right".  As I say, something along those lines.  Perhaps.

What put that phrase into my poor, addled brain was the second piece of news I had missed during our all-too-brief sojourn in France.  It was, it sems, reported that the editor of one of our national daily newspapers was called to present himself in front of a select committee of MPs.

(That should probably be Select Committee with capital intials as the MPs were - and still are - Members of Parliament and not Military Police.  There is a difference.  I think any committee comprised of MPs is described as "Select" although why that should be is something I don't know.)

Said editor was taken to task because he had published in his newspaper some of the facts leaked by Mr Snowden (is he still living in an airport?  I've heard nothing for weeks - or maybe even months.) which, some claim, has jeopardised the security of the nation.  The editor was asked, "Do you love your country?"  I know not what his answer was, but the weekend paper asked the same question of several members of what might be described as the intelligentsia or prominente, broadcasters and writers in the main.  Unsurprisingly, each and every one of them professed to love their country and each and every one of them proceeded to explain just why or what it was about their country that made them feel that way.  I should explain here that all the interviewees were British - and most of them, or maybe even all of them, English at that.  Here is a selection of the comments:

"I grew to love the landscapes first; I learnt what beauty is."

"I take pride in the evolution of our freedoms and rights, from our tolerance and sense of justice."

"I love my country because it still retains a liberal and literate press, which represents a variety of views and can hold Parliament and politicians to account."

"I will endure rainy summers and sporting failure, because I am British and that is what we do.  We take everything in our stride, with a stiff upper lip and a warm cup of tea."

"I have never taken England for granted.  How could I?  I was born in June 1940, the crucial summer of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain, so from my earliest years, I knew that I owe everything to the fact that I live in this country... my own amazing country that nurtured and protected me."

"This country has taught me important lessons, such as how to walk in the rain.  And to say sorry when someone else bumps into you.  And to admire eternal mysteries, such as how so many can find cricket exciting."

For my part, I can do no better than say me too!  And I love our English sense of humour!


Not far from our village, in fact almost in the direct route to Châteaubriant, is the Forêt de Juigné.  I showed a picture taken in it last Thursday.  Just inside the forest is this memorial to six Frenchment shot by the Germans in 1944, three at this spot, the other three not far away.  They were aged 42, 28, 25, 22, 21 and 19.

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