Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Sixty five years ago today Paris was liberated from a racist supremacist regime. But something was missing in the column of Free French troops that marched triumphantly into the city, the black colonial troops who formed about 65% of the French army. As the allies pushed deeper into Nazi held territory French General Charles de Gaulle asked his British and American allies to allow French forces to lead the columns of allied troops entering the French capital. They agreed, but only if the black troops were removed from the French columns.

"It is more desirable," wrote General Eisenhower's Chief of Staff "that the division. . . consist of white personnel. " That view was seconded by British commanders. The sacrifice of black colonial troops deserves to be remembered, by the time Paris fell in 1940 over 17,000 of them had given their lives, but so to do this incident. Allied commandeers were willing to let black soldiers share in the death of war, but they refused to afford them a share of the credit in the victory over the racist ideology of a fascist dictator. The liberation of Paris serves as a reminder that having an evil enemy is not a mark of morality. States will cloak their actions in lofty rhetoric, even the Nazis did this, but ultimately their motivation is geopolitical, not humanitarian. The more people realize this the harder it will become for governments to abdicate their own responsibilities by focusing on the abuses of their foes.

1 comment:

Don Emmerich said...

"The liberation of Paris serves as a reminder that having an evil enemy is not a mark of morality."

Well put.

I've never heard this story, but of course I'm not surprised.