The Spirit of De Gaulle

Charles de GaulleLife brings along many theories and prophecies, but none is more accepted with unanimous concept than the one indicating that like a coin, it has two faces. One positive the other negative, one noble while the other a living devil and this s how it goes on. Same is the case with history and those who explore it, see is as a romance, sometimes bitter and on the other instant pure sweet. While one page gives inspiration, the other leaves regrets for ever. Sometime it brings inspiration while on the other instance it’s a long queue of unanswered, torturing questions but one thing is guaranteed, the imprints left by actions, policies and initiatives by certain souls remain true for centuries to come.

Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle or General Charles De Gaulle was born in France in 1890. He belonged to a decorated family of French patriots and intellect. His father was a veteran from Franco-Prussian war (which the French lost in humiliation) and this loss was imprinted on his soul. From a child his father and mother induced French nationalism in his vein and like his father, the vision of France gaining the lost glory ran in his veins. As early as in 15th century one of his ancestors had successfully defended France against an advancing English empire. His uncle, after whom he was named, wrote a book on the past glory of French. A text from the book is said to have lead the young De Gaulle through out his life. The remarkable text, a piece of art goes like this

“In a camp, surprised by enemy attack under cover of night, where each man is fighting alone, in dark confusion, no one asks for the grade or rank of the man who lifts up the standard and makes the first call to rally for resistance.”

As predicted, De Gaulle’s made his way to the French Army in 1909. In just 5 years time France was in the middle of World War 1, and for the young officer it was time to make his mark on history, once and forever. His bravery was exceptional as a captain against the Germans, and was awarded three times for his outstanding courage. During one of the battle, he was wounded so bad that he was left on the battle field to die, but survived and was made a “prisoner of war”. His repeated escapes even made his enemy recognize his characteristic of “never say die”. He returned back after the war, and resumed his duties in the armed forces. Vocal as he was from the start, soon he found himself at odds with his superiors for expressing his ideas openly. His views differed from the French command in terms of countering Hitler’s Nazi threat, growing day by day. His emphasis on “swift attack” instead of outdated “trench warfare” was ignored by the French, but adopted by their foe, Hitler. As a Brigadier, De Gaulle was commanding French tank brigade when German attacked his homeland in World War II. His resistance was the only hurdle they faced, as the once mighty French empire surrendered to the German’s, in the most disgraceful manner. With the word defeat never in his vocabulary, De Gaulle’s rallied officers and his troops behind him and flex to exile to liberate his homeland from foreign boots.

Now he had a strange scenario in front of him. The cream of France, its notable class has gone by the book of wisdom in accepting defeat to the invincible Nazi’s without a fight, with logic prevailing over reality. On the other hand, the “dirt” or the masses, considered illiterate and conservative have gone the other way. For them the logic of imperialist, ideological or territorial expansion and subjugation meant nothing. For them, it was simple that in their land, its their birth right to live with freedom and respect. For this, De Gaulle’s had the dirt to count on, rather than the cream and he did. Through his famous speech to the ordinary French citizens, he said that “we have lost a war, not the battle”. His words struck them like a ray of light in the tunnel to “no where”, and in a short time the resistance in the street of Paris and suburbs brought the Nazi’s and their defenders in France to their knees. With his unmatched efforts he freed France from the days of “darkness, disgrace and slavery” and kept the legacy intact.  

From a military genius in the field, he turned himself into a political visionary 13 years later when France was being dominated by the allies in the shape of American transatlantic alliance. He refused to compromise his nation’s pride against a super power and inclined France back to the slot of old glory. His separation from NATO, expulsion of foreign troops and missiles from his homeland making his country the 4th nuclear power redefined France once and for all on the map of the world. He passed away peacefully in 1970, one year after resigning from the French Presidency and till today, he is seen as a symbol of French defiance and grandeur across the globe. His life and achievement, no matter summarized in shortest manner speak for itself of a man who lived for his nation, served his mother land and became a legend of the modern times.                             

Can we have a De Gaulle for us as well? Don’t we have what it takes to rise above the ordinary? All we hear is that Pakistan is in crisis never seen in history, so why not some one comes forward to make his/ her name in history as a person who gave back to the 200 million what they have forgotten for a long time.

De Gaulle’s France of 1939 was no different from the Pakistan we see today. It had Nazi’s mounting on it from all direction while we have enemies in a league working against our very existence. It had an internal tumor accepting subjugation without an effort while we have “an ideology” working against our foundation, the extremism. It had a nation sleeping unaware of its potential so do we. We have a situation where we have to clean our house from the “bacteria” as well as reinforce our boundary walls which have become vulnerable to wind as well. The bacteria within us have some ideological roots domestically, while mostly it has been carefully planted by one party or the other. But today, due to the dis balance in anti bodies, this bacteria has made it roots inside our society and now it needs eradication right from it’s root.

We have our ancestors like Tipu of Mysore who preferred a “day with honor over 100 years of disgrace” and Mir Jaffer’s who sold their mother land for few shinning coins. Time will go by as it does but you can easily see the impact actions, words and ignorance leaves on the course of history. Our savior must be above the distinction of ethnicity, race, institute or party. We need a Pakistani from the core of heart to take us forward, and lead us while individually we all are responsible for what ever happens in the coming future.

Long Live Pakistan.

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