Courtesy Reuters

France Divided

THE Ethiopian War has divided France into two camps, just as did the Dreyfus Affair in the nineties and just as a more recent crisis did in February 1934. Now, as then, the two positions have been taken up less with regard for material facts than predetermined principles. This is quite natural. In matters of principle the same men have opposed the same men since the world began.

I. THE ATTACK ON THE IDEA OF HUMAN EQUALITY

The separation of Frenchmen into two camps, now once again evidenced, is essentially the opposition of the old hierarchical concept of society against the idea of justice, or, more precisely, against the idea of human equality (which incidentally is misinterpreted in order to facilitate the task of destroying it).

The issue has been stated clearly enough by Baron Aloisi. "All discussion," the Italian representative said at a recent session of the League, "will be futile so long as it is based on the abstract principle which puts Ethiopia on the same footing as those civilized nations which make up the League. No member of this League would wish to see itself placed on the same level as a nation of slave owners." Here is the start of the misunderstanding between Geneva's partisans and adversaries. The latter pretend to believe that we who favor the League wish to place Italy and Ethiopia on the same plane in all respects and from all points of view. They accuse us of "a crude universalism" ("un grossier universalisme" is the term used in the so-called "Manifesto of the Sixty-Four Intellectuals"), of confusing the "superior" with the "inferior," the "civilized" with the "barbarian."

These who say this shut their eyes to the fact that only in one respect, only from one perfectly well-defined point of view, do we place nations on the same plane. We assert that every nation has the right not to be despoiled by a stronger nation. This right we believe belongs equally to all peoples; we

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