Anniversary of the Attack on Mers-el-Kébir
Announced by Archdruid Eileen, Tuesday, 3 July 2012
And what lessons we have to learn from this most ironic of sea battles, in which the British sank a large part of the French fleet during World War II, as part of the struggle for the liberation of France. Looked at spiritually, we could note that sometimes we have to give up lesser things – even if they are intrinsically good – to pursue a greater goal. Looked at in terms of a moral lesson we can see how the disaster could have maybe been averted. The French commander would not negotiate properly because the British sent a lower-ranked officer. The British sent that officer because he spoke French, which seems reasonable enough. As a result, the French missed the option of sailing to America, where they could have spent the war making up for all the GIs that were over here, in their Gallicly romantic way. No, because of that man’s pride more than a thousand men died. Dulce et Decorum, some might say. But it’s not sweet or right to die for your country, at the hands of your friends, because it would wound your commander’s pride less to hand your boats over to the enemy. War’s a nasty thing.
Photograph: 1940 adieux camarades. http://alaingarcia.unblog.fr/2009/06/17/algerie-a-mers-el-kebir-qui-viendra-sur-les-tombes-des-marins/ or http://bit.ly/NxUECe