“The Plague” by Albert Camus

A thoughtful essay from our friend Honey from The Universal Spectator in which she points out an obvious question that somehow continues to escape people today when it comes to political philosophies. ~~Ed.

By Honey November 22, 2021

The Plague’s Neil Barlett on adaptation, community, and what Camus can tell us about today

I just wrote this to a local theater about their production of Albert Camus’ The Plague:

I love The Lantern Theater. I paid for The Plague and watched it and read all that you sent about it. This was a wonderful production, well-acted, and directed, and it had a marvelous arc.

I told the girl in the box office I wanted to know how much of the script used here was original Camus words and how much was rewritten using his ideas.

I also have two other thoughts:

  1. It has never ceased to astonish me how easy it is for everyone to hate Nazis – even Vanessa Redgrave hated Nazis – while at the same time the same people do not fear Communism.

Everything Hitler knew about his prison camps, concentration camps, how to handle mass murders and torture and fear, he learned from China and The Soviet Union. How does one explain this dichotomy? This selective indignation?

From the time I was a young person I obsessed about reading Holocaust literature because I felt if I was lucky enough not to have had to suffer under that tyranny because I was born here and lived in freedom, I had to read it all. It was my obligation to do that to be a witness.

But I gave equal time, and you might say even more attention to Solzhenitzen and literature about Communism. And for the same reason. I was lucky enough not to have to suffer under it, and had to be a witness about it. In fact the book, Witness I consider the seminal book of the 20th century and there is no understanding that century without having read it.

Why are so many ready to hate Nazis, yet they have no fear of Communism or Socialism? This is the biggest mystery of my life.

  1. Because there is this inconsistency as I describe it above, there is an inability to observe current events properly, as I see it. Now this is not a small thing. I lose friends all the time because I am outspoken about this and so many of my liberal friends do not want to consider what I am saying on this subject.

For example, when it comes to comparing Hitler to Stalin or Mao, Hitler is a piker as a murderer, etc. Communism has killed and destroyed in a factor of at least ten times over Naziism – (which is not right wing as so many assert – it is called National SOCIALISM).

If you look at per capita evil in a small country like Cuba, the percentage of deaths and tortures rivals and exceeds what Hitler did. Why did people run from Cuba – The Peter Pan project and whole middle-class families for example – early on when there were no ovens or concentration camps in Cuba? People knew right away what was in store if they stayed. They had to get out if they could. Comparing numbers of Pedro Pan, if there had been no Cuban missile crisis to stop them, for example, the number exceeds Germany’s Kindertransport by a factor of 100 in Cuba. In a country with 11 million there could have been potentially 100,000 involved in the Pedro Pan project.

Yet in Germany with 110, million, ten times the population of Cuba, there were only 10,000 in the Kindertransport program. Where are the plays and movies about Peter Pan children?

This is such a mystery to me.

When Camus wrote his play your article describes his fighting the Nazis in the French underground. But I bet he had Communist sympathies. What good is that?

Ah, me. I will never understand.

An outgrowth of this mystery is that people easily find tyranny in Donald Trump who was never about tyranny in his entire presidency. But they did not find it in Obama’s presidency or in Biden’s now.

Call me perplexed.


~~Many thanks to Honey for this insightful post. 


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