Det var tittelen på en debattkveld i franske Saint-Lô, som fikk store ødeleggelser D-dagen. Dominique Moïsi var til stede, en av Frankrikes mest kjente utenrikspolitiske analytikere. Han ble betenkt. De unge trekker paralleller mellom Irak og Normandie: Frigjøring eller invasjon?
On the eve of D-Day ceremonies, an association dedicated to the memory of Saint-Lô as it was before the destruction of the city organized a debate in the local theater involving two veterans, survivors of the bombing of the city and high school students aged 15 to 17.
The title of the debate, suggested by questions from the students, was «The Battle of Normandy, Invasion or Liberation?» It was the first troubling sign of the deterioration of the knowledge and understanding of the past.
The questions from the students were even worse. It was clear they were reading D-Day through the filter of Iraq. Their conversation with the survivors of the bombing of the city was most revealing. How could you welcome Americans as liberators, asked the young boys and girls, after they had reduced your city to ashes? Because «it was a sacrifice for France,» replied their elders, shocked by the question.
For a generation that does not understand what the absence of freedom and peace may mean, such questions may come naturally. But one takes the present for granted all the more easily if one ignores the past.
D-Day: Veterans, teenagers and history
Dominique Moïsi IHT