Zola had previously received The Legion of Honor, which was taken from him and then charged and tried for criminal libel because he had embarrassed the government. After the conviction, Zola left france with out even having time to pack his clothes and lived in exile in London until June 1899. He came back as the Faure Government collapsed and shortly after wards, Dreyfuss was freed, but it wasn't until 1906 that Dreyfuss was totally exonerated. In 1902, sadly, Zola died of carbon monoxide poisoning. It was considered an accident, but his detractors celebrated his death and claimed he had committed suicide because he knew that Dreyfuss was really guilty. Zola was mourned as a national hero and his supporters claimed that he was murdered. He was buried in Montmarte, but in 1908, he was re interred in The Pantheon, sharing a crypt with Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas. Interestingly enough, in the 1920's a man who was a roofer working on Zola's house claimed on his death bed that he had been paid to seal Zola's chimney, causing his death.
The letter, J'Accuse is marked as the rise of the power of intellectual ideas in shaping the power of the state. At the time of Dreyfuss' release, Zola said, "The truth is on the march, and nothing shall stop it."
I have been reminded of the power of Zola's quest for truth and intellectual justice over the last few months here in France seeing the unholy alliance of the extreme right, the neo fascist racists and the conservative catholic church in their attempt to use Francois Hollande's Socialist Governments Commitment to The Freedom Of Marriage as a political tool to seize power. France has become a very tolerant country for Gay Rights in the decades following WW2. France legalized homosexuality, abolished the death penalty and legalized abortion. Each of these social advancements were made over the kicking and screaming protests of the same conservative religious and political blocs. Paris has the biggest and the most flamboyant Gay Pride Parades on the planet. The Mayor of Paris is openly gay. France has had a legal Union for persons of all sexes for years called the Pacte Civile. In fact, the actual statistics for marriages was declining as more couples opted for the flexibility of a Pacte Civile. I have a very good friend who is now openly gay and has been the very popular Mayor of a small South Western French Village for 3 terms now. The disorganized factions of the UMP Party, which had been in power under Sarkozy is trying to co opt the Neo Nationalist Front National, which has been gaining strength again as they try to become more "mainstream". The FN doesn't really have a platform, they,
|The Poster which appeared all over France|
attacking The Present Socialist Minister or Justice,
|This is the present poster being used to promote the anti Marriage Equality Law protest|
this weekend. In it, Taubira has been photo shopped into a monstrous. racist version
of King Kong.