Countdown to war


Sir, – Thank you to Lara Marlowe for curating, so brilliantly, Countdown to war (July 31st) – a reprint from L’Humanité newspaper’s front page of August 1st, 1914. Jean Jaurès (the founder of the French socialist party and director of L’Humanité) had been assassinated the day before, in front of his colleagues, at a restaurant called Le Croissant. The front page article, recounting the horrific event the journalists had witnessed, includes the ellipsis a number of times ( … ) as if they had literally run out of words such was their shock and sadness. A reading of this piece brings me back 100 years, and I find myself swapping past tense verbs for the present tense, as if I am there, now, feeling their grief at the loss of a good man. “Jaurès spoke in his beautiful, deep voice […] Jaurès’s instructions! One had to have heard them to know in what a gentle voice he gave his instructions.” It reminds me that deep in every journalist there lies a beating heart. Yours, etc,


Crosthwaite Park East,

Dún Laoghaire