10 April 2007

Ranger - Le Blaireau

Dear Corporal,

The missives from Sarge trouble me. Though I cannot remain troubled for long in my current surroundings. Brittany is beautiful this time of year. Operation Vercingetorix indeed. I am on a fool’s errand. I am assigned to monitor French separatist groups and their activities.

I understand the Commandos have operatives in Provence, Alsace-Lorraine and with the Euskadi. They have sent Thomas to Savoy. I have stayed in touch with her and she feels her mission is as hopeless as mine. I sit in Gitanes-smoke filled bars and my ears ache from the unrestrained political polemics of angry youth emerging strangely from the mouths of men who otherwise look beaten by this world. And the young here likewise play at wisdom, but it is just a ruse. They jockey to listen to their elders, and talk extravagantly of revolution, trying to extol their bona fides. They direct too much of their focus to organization. The whole thing has the feeling of a town planners meeting, where everyone is passionate about the direction the future must take, but nothing real is accomplished.

I sit here adding a comment from time to time, pointing out some historical fact, praising the Celtic language speakers, eating galettes and drinking cider (my one indulgence). At least the food has been excellent. This is the first time I have been to the safe house in Brittany. I will say I appreciate the Citroen 2CV you left for me here, it is wonderful fun. I have resorted to taking long drives through the French countryside on weekends when no meeting is called, trying to trace the route of the last Tour de France. Hinault is like a god here. Occasionally, I get out and bike through the rolling countryside, allowing myself for a moment to forget the events of the past year.

It has been quite some time since I have been so immersed in the French language. I am starting to remember even the songs about Le Lapin and the Champs Elysees which I learned in grade school in Quebec.

I gentlemen named Maurice from Gwened has made a passable companion. He was a high school classics teacher and is more than happy to speak at length about Aristotle and criticize his existential compatriots. “Jump off a bridge,” he tells them taking a long draw from his cigarette, “if nothing has innate meaning for you.” He criticizes St. Thomas’ interpretation of Aristotle noting that it was the clerics who controlled the texts through the years and that Aquinas’ position is selective at best. Aristotle’s position, he notes, was that each man has his own reference point for moderation. It does not comport with the moral objectivist position taken by Aquinas. Though he cautions, no greater good can come from small evils. Whereas he is opposed to violent revolution he notes that murder at the hands of the Free French was normative and may have been a moral imperative in the face of great evil. I need to believe that is what we do.

His other points, like criticizing Plato’s world of forms may be to esoteric for me to follow.

Jakarta? Indeed. I am in purgatory here. I have stopped believing that my reports to Ottawa serve any significance or are even reviewed by anyone other than some bureaucratic hire. I will meet you there.

Au revoir,


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