Quotes Tagged "france"
With heart at rest I climbed the citadel's Steep height, and saw the city as from a tower, Hospital, brothel, prison, and such hells, Where evil comes up softly like a flower. Thou knowest, O Satan, patron of my pain, Not for vain tears I went up at that hour; But like an old sad faithful lecher, fain To drink delight of that enormous trull Whose hellish beauty makes me young again. Whether thou sleep, with heavy vapors full, Sodden with day, or, new appareled, stand In gold-laced veils of evening beautiful, I love thee, infamous city! Harlots and Hunted have pleasures of their own to give, The vulgar herd can never understand.
When Hitler marched across the Rhine To take the land of France, La dame de fer decided, ‘Let’s make the tyrant dance.’ Let him take the land and city, The hills and every flower, One thing he will never have, The elegant Eiffel Tower. The French cut the cables, The elevators stood still, ‘If he wants to reach the top, Let him walk it, if he will.’ The invaders hung a swastika The largest ever seen. But a fresh breeze blew And away it flew, Never more to be seen. They hung up a second mark, Smaller than the first, But a patriot climbed With a thought in mind: ‘Never your duty shirk.’ Up the iron lady He stealthily made his way, Hanging the bright tricolour, He heroically saved the day. Then, for some strange reason, A mystery to this day, Hitler never climbed the tower, On the ground he had to stay. At last he ordered she be razed Down to a twisted pile. A futile attack, for still she stands Beaming her metallic smile.
The guillotine is the ultimate expression of Law, and its name is vengeance; it is not neutral, nor does it allow us to remain neutral. All social questions achieve their finality around that blade. The scaffold is an image. It is not merely a framework, a machine, a lifeless mechanism of wood, iron, and rope. It is as though it were a being having its own dark purpose, as though the framework saw, the machine listened, and the mechanism understood; as though that arrangement of wood and iron and rope expressed a will. In the hideous picture which its presence evokes it seems to be most terribly a part of what it does. It is the executioner's accomplice; it consumes, devouring flesh and drinking blood. It is a kind of monster created by the judge and the craftsman; a spectre seeming to live an awful life born of the death it deals.
I regard anti-Semitism as ineradicable and as one element of the toxin with which religion has infected us. Perhaps partly for this reason, I have never been able to see Zionism as a cure for it. American and British and French Jews have told me with perfect sincerity that they are always prepared for the day when 'it happens again' and the Jew-baiters take over. (And I don't pretend not to know what they are talking about: I have actually seen the rabid phenomenon at work in modern and sunny Argentina and am unable to forget it.) So then, they seem to think, they will take refuge in the Law of Return, and in Haifa, or for all I know in Hebron. Never mind for now that if all of world Jewry did settle in Palestine, this would actually necessitate further Israeli expansion, expulsion, and colonization, and that their departure under these apocalyptic conditions would leave the new brownshirts and blackshirts in possession of the French and British and American nuclear arsenals. This is ghetto thinking, hardly even fractionally updated to take into account what has changed. The important but delayed realization will have to come: Israeli Jews are a part of the diaspora, not a group that has escaped from it. Why else does Israel daily beseech the often-flourishing Jews of other lands, urging them to help the most endangered Jews of all: the ones who rule Palestine by force of arms? Why else, having supposedly escaped from the need to rely on Gentile goodwill, has Israel come to depend more and more upon it? On this reckoning, Zionism must constitute one of the greatest potential non sequiturs in human history.