I’ve mentioned both men in a previous blog and I may even be the
only person who has yet mentioned both men in a single feature or a single
Captain Dreyfus: Hundreds of acres , perhaps thousands of square miles of newsprint were devoted to him during his lifetime. Most of it scurrilous, false and vile.
He was framed, court-martialled, stripped of his epaulettes and had his
sword broken, literally “de-graded” and sent to the hell-hole of
Devil’s Island, where his bigoted anti-Semite persecutors expected him to
Posthumously, much has been written about him including the fine novel “A Soldier and a Spy” by Robert Harris.
Another novelist, Emile Zola, was instrumental in the Captain’s vindication, the quashing of his conviction, restoration of his Commission and his Army career.
Zola died soon after the publication of “J’Accuse” (I Accuse) which nailed the lies which had led to the injustice suffered by Dreyfus.
It is suspected that Zola was murdered for his courage.
Probably not one person in ten million has heard of Lieutenant- Colonel Andre Serot, who, like Dreyfus, served France in the First World War. Serot also served in the Second World War. In 1948 he was serving the United Nations in Palestine, when, unarmed, he was deliberately shot dead by Zionists, acting on the orders of Yitzhak Shamir who served two terms as Prime Minister of Israel.
Though the crime was roundly condemned by the United Nations Security Council and the British Foreign Secretary and the American Secretary of State, the Canadian Prime Minister, the Secretary General of the UN and a galaxy of statesmen attended the arrival of Serot’s remains in Paris, his name, together with that of Count Folke Bernadotte, has been blotted out of history. They are “un-persons,” to use Orwell’s definition. It’s as if novelists, poets, film-producers, journalists and politicians on the make fear they might suffer the rumoured fate of Zola if they dared mention the names, much less the lives and deaths of Count Folke Bernadotte and Lieutenant Colonel Andre Serot.