TO LIVE OUT LOUD: PAULETTE MAHURIN
Speaking out for what you believe should not get you silenced. Knowing what is right and fighting for your beliefs sometimes alienates you from the rest. Alfred Dreyfus was wrongly accused of being a traitor to his country. Although the courts, the legal teams and the justice system knew that he was innocent, documents were changed, hidden, sealed and not allowed within the courtroom he was to be tried in order to hide the truth and protect the guilty. To Live Out Loud is the story of how Emile Zola and a fictional character named Charles Mandonette feverishly worked to help free Dreyfus from the confines of a prison cell that was dark, dank, cold and not fit for anyone to live in. To Live Out Loud: To voice you thoughts, to not let anyone suppress your ability to fight what is right. Emile Zola claimed he lived his life in order to speak out and have his voice heard in speech and in his writing. Driven by his own determination to set the record straight he used the power of the press, his own thoughts, put his reputation on line and risked his life in order to prove the corruption, deceit, betrayals and lies that were spoken within the courtroom when Dreyfus’s court martial hearing took place. Beneath the lies and those that hoped to bury the truth the ugly head of anti-Semitism rose. The army, the justices, the juries and the different political groups each with their own agenda protecting one man who was the real traitor. Not concerned for his own welfare, his reputation or his life, Zola went on a crusade with the help of some powerful lawyers and the wife of Alfred Dreyfus to free this innocent man. Many voices are heard within this novel as Emile Zola relates his story, Charles Mandonette our narrator as he follows the trials, the life and the desperation within on man to save a friend. The author’s research is extensive and the way it is presented makes the reader feel that they are there with Charles, Emile and the court itself as the judge suppresses evidence, documents are not allowed and the lawyers for both sides plead their cases but often in some respects to deaf ears.
Colonel Du Paty de Clam and Colonel Henry found evidence of the real traitor a man named Esteryhazy whose court martial was anything but a sham. His lawyers were able to convince the court that he was innocent and each time Dreyfus was unfairly sentenced and accused. With the help of politicians and George Clemenceau who hoped that Zola would be successful in his quest to free Dreyfus and supported J’Accuse, did not realize that there were so many against them and that documents and information would be sealed and concealed. The corruption and deceit ran high within the police department, government and court. Dreyfus was rotting away on Devil’s Island, the wheels of justice took a standstill and when evidence was finally paramount it was discovered that someone from our side offered to sell military secrets. But, it was not Dreyfus. Prejudice reared its ugly head and because he was Jewish and his family lived in the German section of France he was more than just singled out.
Then as Zola was trialed and pronounced guilty he had to escape to England in order to escape imprisonment. He came back to France but he didn’t live enough to see justice being given and Dreyfus exonerated. The public was taken in and the punishment not too harsh. All the information and documents that the Dreyfus family gave to Zola and “what had been learned from liberal political friends involved secret conversations.” Zola even wrote an article in the newspaper and was on trial for libel. By doing that, the facts that were needed to free Dreyfus could now be introduced in court. Zola took a great chance and the end result will astound readers. Nothing was hidden and the cover-up revealed hoping that when Scheurer Kestner handed over a request for the revision of the Dreyfus court martial to the Minister of Justice, things would change and the truth about Esterhazy would come out. But, nothing was left out and the police, the higher ups and the court trampled on the evidence and the author eloquently and brilliantly through Zola and Charles relates the events. On page 57 the author shares Zola’s thoughts and reasoning for making the accusations come to light. Making himself liable to articles 30 and 31 of the July 29th 1881 law on the press making libel a punishable offense. Learn more as you read Lettre Au President De La Republique Par Emile Zola. The corruption ran deep and as you hear Zola’s testify, the wife of Dreyfus disrespected on the stand and the refusal of the court for questions in the Dreyfus matter to be asked, the lawyers fight for control and the power to win. Unfortunately the end result was not what Zola’s lawyer hoped for and as a result when the verdict is read he is forced to leave and go to England until the storm settles down. The French were against him and the words that come out are toxic. When the government changes and those that were in charge are no longer there Zola hopes that Dreyfus will be retried. But, his innocence does not come into play instead he is given a presidential pardon.
Did Dreyfus provide military secrets to Germany? Was he really guilty or was he just a victim of who he was and the fact that he was Jewish? Public opinion turned against him and a man was wrongly accused. Hear the voices of Zola and Mandonette, the judges, the lawyers and finally that of Dreyfus himself as he fights with his every being for JUSTICE.
The trial is well documented as if it came from the original transcript taking readers through the jury selection, witness questioning and the arguments laid out before the judge. The end result is not that much different than today when you realize that someone is being used as a scapegoat. Read Chapter 16 and you too will bring tears to your eyes. Then things changed and although he was in England and the outcry of Anti-Semitism dying down hope was in the air when he received a telegram stating to prepare for great success. With Colonel Henry found dead and his name still hot like a poker he decided to remain where he was. Emile with the guidance of Charles wrote a declaration to be published. Expressing his feelings as he finally did the impossible: Freeing his friend. Imagine the emotions. But, the author provides an unusual twist to the ending that you won’t expect, as some did not want what Zola was able to do. Within chapter 23 learn the fate of Dreyfus and the offer that we had no choice but to accept. The ending is quite emotional and the fate of Dreyfus and whether he finally is exonerated you will have to read for yourself. Just how many lives were sacrificed and just how far will a friend go when deceit, lies and betrayals run the all the way to the top of a country’s government and court. TO LIVE OUT LOUD IS truly better than staying silent. Once again the voice and thoughts of Paulette Muhurin are hear loud and clear in this five star novel so well written and vividly depicting the time period and the times.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/mj Magazine
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