A previously unknown article by Albert Camus, written for the press in November 1939, almost three months after the beginning of WWII, and censored at the time by the colonial authorities in Algiers, has just been published in Le Monde.
Both the voice and the view expressed in this short text will be very familiar to any Camus reader, while the larger issue it grapples with is still relevant today:
Un des bons préceptes d’une philosophie digne de ce nom est de ne jamais se répandre en lamentations inutiles en face d’un état de fait qui ne peut plus être évité. La question en France n’est plus aujourd’hui de savoir comment préserver les libertés de la presse. Elle est de chercher comment, en face de la suppression de ces libertés, un journaliste peut rester libre. Le problème n’intéresse plus la collectivité. Il concerne l’individu.
One of the good precepts of a philosophy worthy of that name is to never indulge in useless lamentations when faced with a state of affairs that cannot be helped. The question in France today is no longer to know how to preserve the freedoms of the press. It is to find out how, facing the suppression of these freedoms, a journalist can still be free. The problem does not interest the community any longer. It concerns the individual.
He then goes on to describe the four weapons honest journalists can use to preserve their personal freedom: lucidity, irony, refusal to tell lies, and obstinacy.
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