The story takes place in the Algerian town of Oran, where life is very predictable and routine. As the tale progresses, one rat dies, then more rats, then one human, and before long a pestilence has almost imperceptibly ravaged the city. The pain the plague causes elicits real feeling from the normally sedate townspeople. The actions of the characters illustrate that the complacent can be moved to take heroic action when faced with an emergency situation. Therefore, there is hope for the human condition, as long as the transition is not forgotten when life returns to normal. The events in The Plague are related in the third person by Dr.
Rieux, who is not revealed as the narrator until the end of the book. Throughout the story Rieux fervently strives to aid the plague victims as a way of resolving his own fears about the purpose of his life. Rieux's friend, the artist Tarrou, also combats the disease, and chronicles in his diary the events taking place in Oran. In one entry he states, "I know with a certain knowledge that each man carries a plague within"; rather than fighting his fears about death, Tarrou attempts through his work to transcend them.
In Reck's opinion, Camus "suggests that faith is questionable, that man's torments are unjustifiable, that religion offers no answers to the travail of quotidian existence. The occupation was far from nonhuman [unlike Camus's fictional plague] and it involved agonizing choices. Although the personification of evil in the symbolic play The State of Siege is named "King Plague," and though there are surface similarities to the novel, the play is not an adaptation of The Plague , but is more similar to Caligula , due to its focus on death. Diego, the rebel in the play, energizes the population of Cadiz and prompting them to revolt against their oppressors.
The State of Siege was one of Camus's favorite works, although it did not fare well on the Paris stage. Camus remarked in the introduction to the English translation of the play that The State of Siege "had without effort achieved critical unanimity" and "a complete cutting up. The play deals with Russian terrorism in the early s, specifically a plot involving a Socialist group that plans to assassinate the grand duke.
A young poet, Kaliayev, who is totally committed to the cause of the organization, is chosen to throw the bomb that will kill the duke. Seeing himself as an avenger against the oppressed, Kaliayev dies for his actions without regret.
But his death raises the question, Is the sacrifice of one person worth the promise of a better future for mankind? To put it briefly, I did not understand that men could torture others without ever ceasing to look at them. The Marquis de Sade 's actions were too calculated, too intellectual; Rimbaud's too individualized.
But Camus criticized Hegel's method of rebellion above all because its absence of limitations would inevitably lead to anarchy and dictatorship. A highly political novel, The Rebel 's "structural and rational flaws are glaring," Reck contended, but even so, it sparked more controversy than any other writing by Camus. It is "the only thing written by Camus resembling a political philosophy," said Reck.
Probably one of the major conflicts was fostered by Camus's condemnation of Marxism: "End satisfies the means? Is this possible? But what will justify the ends? Camus never completed the third cycle of his writing, which was to be called Nemesis, concerning measure. He had just emerged from a period of writer's block when he died in an automobile accident on January 4, , at age forty-six. Camus was one of the brightest lights," wrote a New York Times contributor. At the time of his death, Camus had completed approximately one hundred pages of the rough draft of his epic novel, The First Man , based on the first French settlers in Algeria.
A draft of the work—and Camus's notes for further chapters—was found in the crashed car in which Camus perished. While Camus's widow decided not to circulate the work due to its incomplete form, following her death his children saw to the book's publication. Critics recognized Camus himself in novel's protagonist, Jacques Cormier, a prominent French literary figure who is on a quest to learn more about his late father while also attempting to come to terms with the disconnection between his elite status as a writer and a childhood Richard Eder described in the Los Angeles Times Book Review as "constrained by poverty but wonderfully free in exploration and sensuous discovery.
The publication of any work by Camus was closely critiqued by reviewers, both in its original French and in translation. But as literature, Reck remarked, Camus's fiction is "conceptionally thin," his novels mere essays in fictional form. Reck added that "Camus's originality as a novelist lay in his ability to state his insights ambiguously, that is, with the density and complexity of human existence. The posthumous translation of Camus's American Journals has contributed greatly to reexaminations of the writer's life and thought. Originally published in as Journaux de voyage, American Journals describes Camus's impressions of the United States and South America during the s.
Reviewers have noted that the value of the journals is not in their descriptive power as travel documents, but in the insight they provide into Camus's character and works. They highlight aspects of the writer's personal life, such as his obsession with and fear of death and his guilt-ridden, but repeated, episodes of infidelity. Throughout, he documents feelings of despondency and unhappiness, along with notes he eventually uses in published works, such as The Plague. American Journals "show us how Camus passed from anguish to creativity, willing his pain into art," commented Gail Pool in the Christian Science Monitor.
Patrick McCarthy, in the Times Literary Supplement , also emphasized the illumination of Camus's political views provided in American Journals , noting that the author "reveals a strong sense of belonging to the working class and a frustration at not knowing how to transform that sense into a political vision. Lang New York, NY , Most veterans testified, however, that they never received such gear, and served their term wearing standard army boots, shorts and shirts. The Fijians ignored British regulations that banned fishing and caught fish and crabs that may have been contaminated.
Beyond the clean up after each test, Ah Poy helped to dump drums of radiation-contaminated waste into the ocean from a small boat. As well as the loss of hair and damage to his fingernails soon after the tests, Paul developed a rare skin disease. After his wife miscarried three times, his second daughter was born physically retarded and died at the age of three and a half. When we returned we were never medically checked.
This sentiment was echoed by Scottish veteran, Ken McGinley, who said the young Fijian soldiers were popular with the British troops:. The Fijians were the most friendly bunch that you could ever meet and they were really easy to get along with. Sometimes they would come over to our tents and sing a few songs for us while one of them strummed a guitar.
Nuclear veterans across the region complained that they were used as guinea pigs — a claim ridiculed by authorities. Well before the nuclear tests, senior members of the British military bureaucracy clearly saw that personnel could be exposed to radiation as part of the nuclear test program. Documentary evidence from the UK archives shows that one of the purposes of the tests was to study the effects of nuclear detonations on personnel and equipment — similar evidence can be found in the French and US archives.
The Navy requires information on the effects of various types of atomic explosions on ships and their contents and equipment…The Army must discover the detailed effects of various types of explosion on equipment, stores and men, with and without various types of protection. From the s to today, the British, New Zealand and Fijian veterans have faced penny-pinching by the British authorities.
You will recall that we took up with the Commander FMF, among other matters, the question of supplies of yaqona [kava], dalo [taro] and Fijian newspapers to the above troops. We have received a reply which we regard as generally satisfactory on these points with the exception of the proposed man day rate for supplies of yaqona…I should be grateful for a quick reply as I am holding up a further Fijian claim for payment.
At the time Fijian soldiers were recruited for service on Christmas Island in , the Secretary of State for the Colonies guaranteed the Governor of Fiji that the UK government would undertake the costs. This included any indemnity claims for disability pensions arising from injury. Over the next six months, there was extensive correspondence between the Ministry of Supply, Treasury, the Government Actuary and other officials to clarify this indemnity. The Ministry of Supply has undertaken to indemnify the Government of Fiji against claims for pensions to which men of the Fijian Military Forces or their dependants may become entitled to as a result of death or injury sustained by them during their service on the Nuclear Weapons Testing Base at Christmas Island in the Pacific.
This gap was only rectified by Fiji government legislation in , after the publication of the oral history Kirisimasi highlighted their plight. I have journeyed far from the other side of the world to bring to you the testimony of what is left of the men and family of the Fijian soldiers and sailors and i-Kiribati…I get sick regularly, with pain from my feet to my back, which I believe is related to the nuclear tests.
This sickness has troubled me a lot. I have very little time for my gardens. Ah Poy also travelled to Tahiti, to meet survivors of French nuclear testing. In , he participated in activities commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first French nuclear test on Moruroa atoll, organised by Moruroa e Tatou , the association of former Maohi workers who staffed the French nuclear test sites.
Scottish veteran Ken McGinley would go on to be BNTVA Chair and to launch one of the first court cases against the British government, seeking compensation for health issues attributed to exposure to radiation. In , McGinley and another veteran lodged a case before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which recognised the merits of their claims but sent them back to the United Kingdom to use all relevant avenues of appeal.
Former sailor Pita Rokuratu represented the Fijian veterans in the ongoing test case, having been diagnosed with aplastic anaemia and leucopenia as well as skin growths. Rokuratu had little sentiment left for God, King and Country after witnessing three tests on Christmas Island:. I can say that Britain murdered us. All the illnesses are affecting my children and grandchildren. Britain should do something to thank us.
It has achieved its aims. It now has a great deal of power. It has an obligation to those who risked or gave their lives. Colonial days are over now.
We have a time of enlightenment. Something should certainly be done. In November , the veterans won a crucial ruling in the Upper Tribunal, which establishes guidance that could see ex-servicemen involved on Christmas Island and Maralinga in the s receive war pensions after suffering chronic ill health. Most of the veterans, however, have died or are too elderly to benefit from any compensation.
Because of this delay, the Fiji government decided to compensate surviving Fijian soldiers and sailors — and their dependants. In a ceremony in January , Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama highlighted the refusal of successive British governments to address the health and environmental consequences of its nuclear testing program in Australia and Kiribati:. Fiji is not prepared to wait for Britain to do the right thing. We owe it to these men to help them now, not wait for the British politicians and bureaucrats.
You may ask: why is Fiji taking responsibility for something that is the fault of Britain? My answer is this. Too much time has passed. The ranks of these survivors are rapidly thinning. Too many men — our fellow Fijians — have gone to their graves without justice. In his speech on 30 January, Bainimarama — the son of a Christmas Island nuclear veteran — stated:. We salute you for following your orders at the time, the orders of a colonial power pursuing its own agenda in the world. You are a living testament to our determination to never again allow our pristine Pacific environment to be violated by outside powers in such a destructive and terrible manner.
Namoce and Nic Maclellan, eds. Aston, British Embassy, Tokyo, to H. The full interview is published in Tubanavau-Salabula, Namoce and Maclellan, eds. See Tubanavau-Salabula, Namoce and Maclellan, eds. Derx, Colonial Office, London, 29 January Donaldson, Ministry of Supply, to D.
Myers, Ministry of Supply, to C. The Fiji government also agreed the nuclear veterans could access free medical care at the Fiji Military Forces hospital. ISBN: We respectfully acknowledge the First Nations of Victoria, and their Elders past, present, and emerging. We also acknowledge the Traditional Owners of lands across Australia, their Elders, Ancestors, cultures and heritage.
In February , the Indo-Fijian newspaper Jagriti editorialised: People living in the vicinity of the islands where the atom and hydrogen bombs have been tested are afflicted with hazardous diseases.
An April editorial in the Fiji Times noted: Nobody knows how many people will die or how many children will be born mentally or physically deformed because of atomic or hydrogen bomb tests, past or future. Rather than send a naval task force and thousands of men back to Malden Island — hundreds of kilometres from the base of operations — it was decided to conduct further tests at Christmas Island: Because time is so short, it is been decided to carry out the November tests of the south-east tip of Christmas Island; it would have taken too long to set up Malden again.
Harold Steele One way to track the history of peace protests is through the archives of disarmament groups and socialist organisations. In March , Steele told the Sunday Pictorial newspaper: The time has come when someone must make a real move to stop the H-bomb tests. Aston reported to London: According to the Times of India , Graham has already spent a term in jail for refusing to be conscripted.
A confidential letter from the Foreign Office in London to the British Embassy in Tokyo notes: In view of the conditions which the Japanese government has imposed for any visit by Steele to Japan, it seemed remotely possible that, if he can raise the necessary funds, this man will try to approach the danger area from some other jumping off point. The memo noted that although the planes had been cleaned on the outside, their engines were still coated with radioactive material on the inside: Aircraft of the No.
In a September letter from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, officials reported: The proposal is to remove the Gilbertese from Christmas Island before the bombing aircraft takes off and place them in a ship in the Christmas anchorage, which has immediate notice to steam.
The Colonial Office leaned towards creating jobs for Gilbertese islanders, while the military liked the discipline of Fijian reservists recruited into the British Army: The employment of Fijian reservists does not give rise to any difficulties because they live, eat and play with the UK troops and there are no complications about accommodation or messing. This sentiment was echoed by Scottish veteran, Ken McGinley, who said the young Fijian soldiers were popular with the British troops: The Fijians were the most friendly bunch that you could ever meet and they were really easy to get along with.
On 20 October , he stood in the British House of Commons at a meeting with MPs, to state: I have journeyed far from the other side of the world to bring to you the testimony of what is left of the men and family of the Fijian soldiers and sailors and i-Kiribati…I get sick regularly, with pain from my feet to my back, which I believe is related to the nuclear tests.
Rokuratu had little sentiment left for God, King and Country after witnessing three tests on Christmas Island: I can say that Britain murdered us.
In a ceremony in January , Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama highlighted the refusal of successive British governments to address the health and environmental consequences of its nuclear testing program in Australia and Kiribati: Fiji is not prepared to wait for Britain to do the right thing. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Rapp and Carroll, London: Studio Vista, , Iliffe Books Ltd. Lewis and R. Department of Employment, final scientific report, October System Research Ltd.
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