Had you lived in Paris on this date in 1898, and read L'Aurore, a daily newspaper in the French Capital, you would have encountered perhaps the most important and influential newspaper piece of all time. Emile Zola had been incensed at the conviction of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus of treason in 1894, a conviction based largely on documents not introduced into evidence at the trial, secretly delivered to the trial judges after they had retired to determine their verdict. Dreyfus had had no opportunity to confront the evidence against him, in fact had no prior knowledge of the documents.
It did not matter that originally the French military commanders had believed Dreyfus guilty of the charges. By 1896 they knew them to be false. Yet to "protect" the army they engaged in a massive coverup, including the acquittal at court martial of the real culprit, Commandant Ferdinand Esterhazy, acquitted him of the crime which the military knew he had committed, and for which Dreyfus had been at Devil's Island since 1895
This posting is about Zola and Dreyfus, to be sure.
It is also about our time and place, our government. For on this anniversary should we not consider the implications of this famous newspaper piece for our nation and ourselves?