Interview with french ‘anti-vax’ soldiers : « I’m a soldier but my country no longer wants me because I refuse the vaccine » (PART 1&2 English version)
Source : telegra.ph – 28 novembre 2021
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These stories may shock, anger or sadden you, but they will not leave you indifferent. These stories are those of eight honourable and patriotic Frenchmen, soldiers, who found themselves faced with a Cornelian choice that called into question their commitment: COVID 19 vaccination. These men and women, created in the mould of duty and obedience, but whose careers have also taught them honour and discernment, now find themselves in an extremely complicated situation. Some are under pressure, some have been dismissed, some are threatened by their leaders, some have to engage in illegal activities in order to continue serving their country.
Indeed, since the summer of 2021, a series of measures by the French government has imposed mandatory vaccination against COVID 19 on a number of professions, including the military. While the COVID vaccination has raised deep debates in civil society, very few people have gone to interview the military to find out how this topic is perceived in the military. Why the silence? That the army does not communicate on this subject is quite normal. But what are the journalists doing? Is the French press afraid of the effect that these testimonies could have on the public? Indeed, the French population could start to ask questions if it appeared that many soldiers, from the private to the general, are very suspicious of COVID vaccination.
Gallia Daily is fortunate to have privileged links with the french military institution, with the soldiers themselves. We are happy today to be able to give the floor to some of them, so that they can testify to what they see, what they experience, what they observe and what they think about all this.«You are endangering the stability of the army and the country with this article!»
To such remarks, we will answer that, if our army is trembling because a small corporal gives his opinion on a such a basic topic – vaccination – , it is probably that there is a very deep evil which threatens our country, and that there are thus a certain number of problems more urgent than to attack a small independent media like ours.
The French Army has always been great, and lies will not preserve this greatness, they will tarnish it. The tragedy is that today our army is forced into a spiral of concealment to support the government’s policy and rhetoric, a government that claims at the top of its voice that vaccination is popular with the masses, and first and foremost with respectable citizens such as the military.
The situation is much more complex and nuanced. The situation is far less peaceful than this orderly and coordinated silence would suggest. Our article is intended to give voice to some of these people. When we began to pull the thread, we received hundreds of returns from military personnel eager to talk about and testify to this subject. More surprisingly, we received hundreds and hundreds of messages from military wives testifying for their husbands. And even messages from children (the youngest is 13 years old!) who want to talk about what is happening to their dads…
We have decided to select eight testimonies, from the simple private to the general, from the commando to the navy man, including the doctor and the military wife. We apologize in advance for having to make this difficult selection, but we hope that our choice will allow us to do justice, on the whole, to all the elements that these testimonies could evoke. Moreover, most of the testimonies we received or the interviews we conducted were very dense. We therefore apologize for having to modify certain passages in the final text, to simplify reading, add context or protect sources. The eight witnesses have obviously reviewed and validated their testimony before final publication.
Chief Warrant Officer Fred, Infantry Regiment
→ Gallia Daily : Chief Warrant Officer, can you introduce yourself?
I am a Chief Warrant Officer in an infantry regiment, in combat company. I joined the Army at the age of 17 and a half and have participated in 11 overseas operations. I was wounded twice. I am married and have three children.
→ Are you politically engaged? Do you identify with the term « Anti-vax »?
I have never been in politics, I don’t even vote. I’ve never understood this eagerness to play a rigged game… By the way, no, I’m not anti-vaccine, throughout my career I must have received a good thirty vaccines to be able to go to the worst corners of the globe. It made sense, and I don’t regret it: I’ve seen a young person in Africa die of malaria in a few hours, or babies have lifelong consequences from dengue fever. Some diseases are worth fighting. And others much less so, like COVID.
→How did this position of doubt, which some would call « conspiracy », begin?
At the beginning of COVID, like most normal people, I activated my reptilian brain and was defensive in the face of a threat – a virus – that was not yet well understood. I think at that moment I would have taken the vaccine without much hesitation. But that moment passed quickly, and I quickly regained my my critical thinking skills.
From the first lockdown I began to understand that there was « something else » behind all this. That it was not only medical, but that there was a political agenda, which was set in motion with the pretext of the health fight ; in the same way that for several years we have seen a very clear political agenda being applied with the fallacious pretext of saving trees or pandas… The French government’s response to the crisis therefore aroused my suspicion. This was confirmed when we started to see the first figures coming out on the COVID mortality, which was ridiculously low, or at least not high enough to justify the huge circus into which the world has sunk.
→ So you’re not vaccinated?
I am not vaccinated against COVID 19. And there is absolutely no way I would take that vaccine. The government has gone way too far into insanity for me to give them any credit or seriousness when they claim to be looking out for my health. You’ll notice that it’s funny, the President, the one who sent me abroad to risk my life eleven times, now claims to care about my health. What buffoonery. I would also like to add that I have never needed politicians to take care of me, I am capable of taking care of myself and my family… That used to be called being a man.
→ In practical terms, what consequences does this have in relation to your military service?
In practical terms, I’m no longer in the military. They pushed me out the door. I had the right to endless appointments in front of my commanding officer, in front of generals and the ministry’s torchbearers, who came from Paris to explain to me that I am a « bad soldier and a bad example for my men », I quote…
I even had the right to an appointment with a psychologist and a psychiatrist, who were supposed to evaluate my « capacity to serve » or « to detect signs of paranoia or radicalization ». I replied, that if I had psychological problems, they should have noticed during my 30 years of service…
The psychiatrist explained to me that I had « the right to be suspicious of doctors » as I had been injured, that I might be suffering from PTSD. I simply told him that the problem was not the doctors, but the fact of injecting a gene therapy into my blood, by force. This idiot dared to answer me « With your age, your physical shape, you are part of the populations at risk », I challenged him to a pull-up contest and a Cooper cardio test, by reminding him that if 11 OPEX had not put me on the ground, it is not a flu that would do it.
In other words, I was not very conciliatory with my bosses’ demands. But it must be said that their requests, even if they were formulated with a faked politeness, were in fact tantamount to telling me to « shut your mouth, vaccinate yourself, or else you’ll be fired ».
A chief warrant officer doesn’t shut up, so I was fired, supposedly because my « psychological profile shows inconsistencies ». The last stab came from my commanding officer, who took care to spread a rumour that I had basically gone off the rails. To make it look like they had fired me for this psychological reason, when they obviously fired me because of the vaccine, without admitting it, to avoid it looking bad I guess. In any case, they managed to fire me because of the vaccine, even before vaccination was officially mandatory.
→ Within your regiment and your acquaintances, you were the only one in this position?
Not only was I not alone, but there were quite a few of us. Before vaccination was mandatory, I think we were about half skeptical in the regiment, the other half being purely indifferent.
In my company, my CDU (the captain) had the same position as me. He said to me one day:
« Fred, if I ever die and these bastards vaccinate my kids at school, you promise me that you’ll pick up an HK at the armoury and you’ll fuck the teacher, the doctor, the school principal, the regional governor, the minister of health and the president.»
I promised. He made the same promise to me. It still stands, and I mean that seriously. Parental authority is sacred, if these fools want to play with our children, they will soon realize that not everyone is quick to hand over their offspring to Chronos. I think that’s the position of most of the NCOs I can talk to, at least all the ones who have kids. Having children must help you project yourself, and it creates a long-term vision which helps to reflect on the issue of the vaccine.
The fact that I got fired served as an example, I think. Some colleagues then agreed to take the vaccine. Many went on leave and came back to the regiment « vaccinated », with false certificates. But at least four comrades from my company, two privates, a sergeant and a young lieutenant are still on the hot seat for refusing to compromise themselves at all. I don’t know yet where they are in their journey. But I have only one piece of advice to give them if they read me: don’t submit, you are already dead to them anyway, even if you give in, you won’t have a career, you are marked as black sheep for good.
I’m not very good with numbers, but from the contacts I still have within my company, I think there are roughly at least 50% vaccinated, mostly by coercion, not conviction. Then, about 35% of false vaccinated, who found a complacent doctor or who had their military file falsified thanks to relatives. And 15% of dissidents, either really resisting like the four men I just mentioned, or who were at the end of their contract and preferred to leave rather than be vaccinated. From what I hear from my friends, it’s pretty much the same everywhere, in all the regiments.
→ And now, for you what is the plan?
I’m leaving in May to settle in Croatia with my family and the family of another colleague, who was also pushed out. For us, France is over. It’s heartbreaking. But if this country doesn’t want us, even as bulletproof vests, we’re not going to impose our presence. Above all, my two youngest children are in junior high school and primary school, and there is no way I’m going to force them to live in a country surrounded by crazies. Croatia is good and if it’s not good anymore, we’ll go somewhere else. And I tell you: I hope that as many of my colleagues as possible will do the same. Your value as a man and as a Frenchman is not to submit yourself to make a career. Your value is your human and professional qualities, your ability to protect your blood, your family. There are still countries in Europe where you will be respected and welcomed for that.
Major Thierry, CPA 10 / CPA 20
→ Major, can you introduce yourself?
I am Major Thierry, I have been serving in the Air Force since I was 19 years old. I spent most of my career as an air rifleman, then in the CPA 10 and CPA 20 (Air Force Special Forces). I went on about 15 missions. I am married, a father, I have two children and three grandchildren. Incidentally, I also have 3 horses and 3 dogs, who rely on me.
→ Major, can you tell us if you are vaccinated, why, and what effect it has on your military career?
I am vaccinated, I decided to do it after a long reflection. My mother was hospitalized, and the clinic where she was refused me the possibility of visiting her… At first, I managed as best I could thanks to my brother, who is vaccinated, who allowed me to see my mother on video calls. But then I saw my mother’s health decline, and the isolation must not have helped. I vaccinated myself to be able to see her because I couldn’t bear to see her go without being able to tell her that I loved her. I did the right thing, she died the day after my first visit, I sincerely believe she was waiting to see me. So I vaccinated myself out of sheer compulsion in a way, otherwise I would never have done it. Neither my wife nor my children or grandchildren are vaccinated.
As a non-commissioned officer in the Army, my officers asked me to take into account the vaccination status of my guys. It was supposed to be a formality, circulating a form internally. But after talking to my guys, I was well aware that some of them weren’t vaccinated and didn’t want to do it. So I went to see all my men face to face, and I discussed the situation with them. Some of them were already vaccinated, most of them by compulsion, to keep their jobs. There was nothing I could do for them.
But there were also some people refusing the vaccine. Roughly 20 out of 80, who were not vaccinated and who did not want to do it at all. I proposed to all of them to get false certificates. Which they all did. Two of them couldn’t pay for the fake document, I paid out of my own pocket. There was only one guy, a sergeant, who absolutely refused to get a shot or even use a fake certificate. I warned him of the risks he was taking, he decided to go for it anyway.
I defended him as much as I could. He got the full treatment, Colonels, Generals, long medical check-ups, cannabis tests every two days, visits from the DRSD (the army’s counter-intelligence service, which gives Secret-Defense accreditations or checks the radicalisation of soldiers). He took a torrent in his face. They also put unbelievable pressure on his girlfriend, who holds a civilian administrative position for the MoD, explaining that she would lose her job if her boyfriend didn’t give in. This obviously broke up their relationship. Surprisingly enough, while on the road, he was stopped by the police 7 times in two months, whereas he had never been stopped in his life. I suspect that they were trying to stick him with a civil procedure to justify his dismissal from the Army. In the end, they integrated his combat group into another section, which went to the other side of France, without him of course. So as to leave him totally isolated, without his comrades…
He did not give in, and I salute his courage. Today, he was transferred to a logistic service, to « fold socks » as they say, a degrading task for a soldier who was trained to be a commando. This is temporary, I think he will be quietly fired in a few weeks or months now that vaccination is officially mandatory…
I made it clear to my officers what I thought of their treatment of this young sergeant. I’m disgusted with the way it’s being done. I would have preferred that he be fired directly, rather than have to watch these deals being made to break him. It made me ashamed to have served those colonels and generals. As a leader, I learned to be the shield of my men, not the hammer used to bring them down. Apparently, in France and in the Army, not everyone shares this vision of service…
Almost all military personnel do not want to be vaccinated, that is a fact. Some have done so out of spite, many have made fakes and a few hold the front line symbolically by still refusing. I could not accept to become the watchtower of the government’s health policy when all the men who trust me are opposed to this policy, for various reasons. My role as a leader is to represent my men to the officers, not to represent the officers to my men. I defy any leader to go on the frontline and tell me otherwise. For all these reasons, I decided to leave the army and retire, and I made it very clear to my officers that I was doing so in opposition to their management of health policy, which got me into a lot of trouble as well.
It’s « easy » for me as an old NCO to have this freedom. But I can assure you that it is still a kind of heartbreak to leave with your head down an institution that you have served fully for 30 years. As a man I can’t help but feel that the Institution is betraying what it is; but as a soldier I can’t help but feel that I am the one who is betraying… I think this will haunt me for a long time, because in reality there is no right or wrong answer. I’m glad I made that choice, even though it was a difficult one.
And I invite the young NCOs of the three services to listen to what I have to say: you are the shield of your guys, their shepherd, keep that in mind, always. You are responsible for their lives on the front line, but also in peacetime. Always support their choices, even if it is difficult, wearing or destructive for you at times.
→ And now, for you what is the plan?
I am moving to be closer to my two children, who live on the Swiss border. I have offered to help homeschool my two grand-children. It will keep me busy, but I’m looking forward to it. My wife is going to leave her current job and help me with that too. There is a page turning, that is the way it is.
Second Lieutenant Clément: ESM Officer School
→ Lieutenant, can you introduce yourself?
I am Second Lieutenant Clément, of the First Battalion of France of Saint Cyr (French West Point). I joined Saint Cyr after a preparatory course at the Vieux Bahut. I aspired to become an officer since I was a child, my father being a non-commissioned officer and my grandfather having been an officer himself.
→ Can you tell us if you are vaccinated, why, and what effect it has on your young military career?
I’m not vaccinated, like a number of my comrades. We have made fake documents to slip through the cracks before September. Not everyone is so lucky though. Some comrades in ESM2 and ESM3 were caught off guard: theirs chiefs scheduled a collective vaccination session on their return from a demanding commando training, at times when the cadets were too tired to resist.
But I do have a few examples of comrades who bravely resist. They take a lot of pressure from the school’s management. The officers have also asked us to put pressure on them from our side… It’s ironic that for twenty years the state has been bugging us about traditions and heckling, which is supposedly harassment… But now they’re asking us, the alumni, to legally harass our unvaccinated comrades or to put pressure on our classmates.
I think these classmates are obviously going to get expelled or pushed out, their careers are screwed anyway. The management itself makes sure to put the recalcitrant ones against the wall. During an briefing, one of our comrade had the right to a long sermon, about the fact that, refusing the vaccine, he was « worse than a terrorist » or «worse than ISIS fighters of the Sahel ». Our comrade, was clever enough to simply answer that… ISIS could not be in the Sahel desert, since ISIS stands for « Islamic State in Iraq and Sham », so the Middle-East. The remark probably didn’t help his case.
But one will notice the perfidy of such a statement: it takes a lot of nerve to dare to tell a young person who has just spent three years in prep school and three years in military school, in the hope of serving his country, that he is no better than the latest rat in the Islamic State. Somehow, the French State makes absolutely no difference between its officers marching on the Champs Élysées on July-14 Parade, and Muslims running over children on July-14. That is good to know…
I also know that vaccination was a problem with several crocos (african officers from african countries coming in France for a few months of training). Some of them also refused to be vaccinated in the first place… They were threatened with being sent home to Africa. Again, note the irony of the situation, politically… A government that refuses to expel foreign criminals and terrorists, threatens to expel highly qualified African officers who refuse to be vaccinated…
Last point: I can’t testify to this directly because we don’t belong to the same school. But apparently the EMAC officers were the most threatened regarding vaccination. They only do one year at Saint Cyr instead of three. So most of them were not vaccinated, and may have slipped through the cracks a little. But as the government’s policy became more pronounced, they were finally forced to vaccinate, which some refused of course… So they are on the hook, and the whole shebang. Many of them used fake certificates, but others were vaccinated en masse directly by the Army Medical Service at school… Except that they had bad timing: there was the inauguration of the EMAC by Army Minister Parly just a few days later. And some cadets had high fevers after the vaccine, several of them fell ill. The EMAC officials told the cadets that if even one of them fell during the ceremony with the Minister, his career would be destroyed. In my opinion they were afraid of bad publicity : having vaccinated officers fall in front of a member of the government. If it’s common for soldiers to sometimes fall during ceremonies, I think the idea of having 10 people on the ground at once was a bit scary. Fun fact: it was the same for the July 14th parade, not only did they threaten the non-vaccinated with not being able to participate, but they also kicked out of the parade the vaccinated cadets who had serious side effects and were in danger of fainting in front of everyone
There are probably inaccuracies in my testimony, exaggerated details or others that I have forgotten, it would be worthwhile for you to question other comrades from other classes directly. I don’t pretend to speak for others. But this clearly gives you a good overview of the situation at Saint Cyr. It is not a happy place. Between the outcasts, those who are taken by surprise, those who are threatened, those who are harassed or pushed out, those who are reluctantly vaccinated, and those who are using fake certificates, that’s a lot of malcontents. I hope our leaders realize this and take this variable seriously.
→ And now then, what do you plan?
After my stint in the DA (last year of school), I’m going to serve a few years to pay back what I owe this country. But then I’m out, permanently. The COVID episode has totally destroyed my last « patriotic » accents. To be patriotic, you need a homeland. I refuse to patronize a state apparatus whose main objective is to sell doses of an American-Israeli vaccine to healthy French people. Fuck them. I say this as the son and grandson of a soldier. I say this as a former Autun cadet, as a Brution and as a Cyrard. I say this as an officer and as a soldier. And I say it as a citizen. Fuck them.
We talk about it a lot between us, I think the predominant feeling is exactly that. I’m fed up. The last 12 months have been like an electroshock for many of us. Those who didn’t care about these issues still don’t. But those who were on the edge, who had doubts, have now totally crossed the line. The turnover of officers is already high, and I think we’re going to see it explode.
I may be projecting a bit, but I don’t know how the state can solve this problem. In the hospital sector, I know that they will call upon foreign workers to compensate for the number of non-vaccinated nurses. For the army it’s going to be more complicated, but in my opinion we’re going to go more and more towards contract workers, including foreigners, without military status, who will serve as mercenaries and/or praetorian guards for the Republic. Nice ! I’m sure that Napoleon, may he rest in peace, would be proud to see the fate that is reserved for his protégés by his descendants…
In any case I have only one thing to say to those who can read us: if you are military, private for example, know that there is a generation of officers who arrives and who is as fed up as you. That’s it. If you’re civilians, I don’t know what to tell you, except that we need you to yell. There’s nothing we can do in the army. Right now. So it’s up to you to make a move. But do it knowing that you are not alone, there are many policemen, gendarmes, firemen and soldiers, who agree with you, on the essential. Finally, this is the message I want everyone to remember: you are not alone. We are the majority. By a long shot. People who have taken the vaccine out of conviction are a very small minority. Whether we are non-vaccinated, using fake documents or vaccinated by force, we are the mass, we are the majority. Even if we are led to believe otherwise. So I have something to say to the leaders: the word of Cambronne [Shit! / Merde !].
Lieutenant Marc, Commando-Marine
→ Lieutenant, can you introduce yourself for our readers?
My name is Lieutenant Marc and I have spent my entire career in the FUSCO. For the past five years I have been serving with a Marine Commando group (french Navy Seals/SBS/SAS). I am engaged and I have a son. I am also a high level sportsman in civilian life.
→ Can you tell us if you are vaccinated, why, and what effect it has on your military career?
I am not vaccinated, like many of my colleagues. To get under the radar I was able to get help from the wife of a fellow Naval Academy student, who works at the SSA in a military hospital. In other words, I have a fake pass and a fake vaccination certificate.
As an officer, I encouraged all my men to do the same. I even had the unofficial approval of two of my officers to do so. This is of course totally illegal. But on paper, my entire commando is vaccinated. In reality, we have only about 30% of people really vaccinated, at least among the commando-marines. I talk to my comrades in other commando units and the pattern is more or less the same. There are a certain number of people who really get vaccinated, but a large proportion who refuse or who make fake certificates.
I think that overall the fact that we belong to the COS (special forces), allows us to have a little less pressure than other military or other professions. The priority of the command is not to make us run away. To train a young person in a CTLO unit, it takes three years of training and at least two years of deployment to reach a sufficient level of professionalism. This is in addition to his initial training. In a way, the balance of power is in our favour, so they can’t afford to fire us, they leave us alone. I even have the example, a few weeks ago, of an officer who was able to be deployed in the Sahel without being vaccinated, which is of course totally forbidden. The chiefs turned a blind eye on his vaccination status, because he had a crucial rôle in the mission and that it would have been complicated to replace him at the last minute.
Unfortunately, I think we’re privileged, in a way. Our friends in the Army face a much more aggressive form of repression, that’s the feedback we get from our exchanges with them. I have a prep school friend who is serving in a transmission regiment and who was preparing for the École de Guerre. He’s on the hot seat now because he clearly refused the vaccination. In this case, they sent him to the DRSD (intelligence service) on spurious grounds of course. I also have a nephew of a neighbour who joined the army a few months ago and is now stuck at the end of his technical training because the HR service of the army refused to validate his technical certificate only because he refused the vaccine.
I think most people in the Navy, if they had a choice, would not have taken the vaccine. It’s kind of ironic as a sailor’s life is spent in cramped quarters, on ships cut off from everything. One would think that seafarers would be eager to get vaccinated to protect themselves. But the opposite is true.
It must be said that right from the start, we sailors had rather striking proof that COVID was not dangerous. Our comrades on the Charles de Gaulle aicraft carrier were all contaminated from the start of the epidemic. 1500 sailors in a small space with COVID. I think they all caught the COVID. So that gives us a good indicator of how dangerous the virus is: it is not. Out of 1500 sailors, there were 10 cases of people who needed medical attention, which means a medical visit, not even ICU. And I believe there were only two serious cases, both of which involved old officers with comorbidities. Empiricism is therefore formal: for young people who are healthy, athletic, without comorbidity, the risk is almost non-existent. If anything, it is non-existent. Statistical margins will not invalidate this fact.
That’s why I refused to get the vaccine: I don’t mind taking an old tetanus shot or something like that. But I have a big problem with the idea of forcibly injecting a dose of virus into my body, especially when I have literally no chance of suffering from severe forms. It’s totally incoherent. That is what I think and what most of my colleagues, leaders and subordinates think. We’re pretty much unanimous on this.
→ And now, what do you plan?
My position is very comfortable. I’m doing what I like, I’m flying under the radar with my fake certificate. I’ll try to keep it that way. I’m more useful in this position than unemployed. I’m going to try as much as I can to keep my guys out of trouble. I feel it’s my duty. We’ve got enough to deal with without having to worry about this pseudo-sanitary crap.
It’s not a question of fear of the vaccine, or anything. I’m not a doctor, at best I know how to put a three-sided bandage on a guy to keep him alive until the evasan arrives. But I don’t know much about epidemiology. It’s not about the risks of the vaccine. It’s purely a matter of honor. I have sworn obedience to France, for very specific missions. As a matter of principle, I take the right to refuse anything that goes beyond this framework.
This pandemic is above all a media phenomenon. It is a matter of honour for me to refuse. I am a Breton, a sailor and a commando. They teach us to be sharks, they will wait a long time before turning me into a goldfish. I made a man’s choice, I assume it completely.
Maybe I’m wrong and I’ll regret not taking the vaccine. I take full responsibility for it. I am using my right to live free and therefore to realize that I made the wrong choice. I don’t need the state to protect me from myself and my bad decisions. So yes, I refused, as a matter of honour. There is no way I will submit to this ridiculous compulsory vaccination. This whole COVID thing is a test of faith. It is a test to see who submits and who has the strength to resist. Only dogs submit. But it is only the fools who step out of line and raise their arms when volunteers are asked for the firing squad. You have to be smart enough to refuse the collar without alienating your master, not right away anyway. So I refuse while sparing my possibilities, making fake documents, going under the radar.
If the situation doesn’t get worse, I think we can keep it that way. But if the navy is tightening the screws or the government is tightening the screws, we’ll have to see what happens. I’m not sure how far they’re prepared to go, so I don’t know how far we’re prepared to go either. We will see. But there are certain red lines that we can’t cross, and I think they know exactly what they are, I hope. Otherwise the outcome of this is going to be sadly complicated for everyone. Believe me, they don’t want to have even 40 former commandos out of work and angry. In fact, even one would be a lot, it would already be dangerous. They know that.
The government must realize that even if the military is dumb, it is not blind. We have eyes to see the news, including that of the independent media, not always very serious but often very useful. We have families, brothers and sisters who work in the civilian sector. Among the nurses that you put out of work or that you drown in tear gas on Saturdays, there are military wives, gendarmes’ wives, policemen’s wives… We have children and even grandchildren, so when you allow yourselves to use our children as guinea pigs, remember that there are children of military personnel in the batch. That is to say, the children of men whose job is essentially to symbolically and physically put their lives on the line to protect the future of France’s children.
We keep quiet, because that’s our job. But we make up our minds in silence, remember that. With your policy, you are alienating part of the army, part of the military, of all ranks. But above all, and this is the most important, you are alienating the French population, vaccinated or not. Remember that the non-vaccinated are non-vaccinated by conviction, but that very few of the vaccinated have done so by conviction. They will not take to the streets to defend the Vaccine Republic. The vast majority of vaccinated people, including those in the army, did it to have peace. If you don’t give them the peace they finally deserve, you will soon find yourself with a huge block of 20% of citizens, across all classes and professions, who have no desire to back down. A cornered group that will not stop growing. I am very apprehensive about what can come out of such a fracture. I think our leaders are too, at least I hope so. Because if they choose to go down this road, the outcome will be explosive, I can assure you.
Colonel Antoine: commander of a cavalery regiment
→ Colonel, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Colonel Antoine, I am the commander of a cavalry regiment. On a daily basis, I lead nearly 800 men and women who have chosen the path of arms. In my private life, I am married and have five children.
→ Colonel, are you vaccinated? Why? What effect does that have on your career?
It was a very difficult decision for me. I have a natural distrust of vaccines for a long time. My younger brother has multiple sclerosis. According to the doctors, this is most likely due to the fact that our mother was vaccinated against hepatitis during her pregnancy. I saw my brothers’s health deteriorating at a terrifying rate. As the military made me a stronger, more robust man, I watched my brother be destroyed by disease. All because of a vaccine. I might as well tell you that I never liked vaccines, and throughout my military career I tried to « dodge » vaccination sessions. My general practitioner helped me a lot each time.
So in theory I shouldn’t have had the COVID vaccine. Not this one or any other. But I found myself faced with a terrible case of conscience. I understood quite quickly that the vaccine was going to be mandatory for the military, the information was circulating before the official announcement. We discussed this subject at length with several members of my regiment’s BOI [high command of a regiment]. It became quite clear to me that we were going to be faced with several types of profiles: voluntarily vaccinated soldiers, soldiers vaccinated out of spite, falsely vaccinated soldiers and unvaccinated soldiers ready to resist. Four categories of soldiers, which is already an aberration when our whole mission is to create efficiency by creating symbiosis, i.e. cohesion.
As a leader, I was very reluctant to resign, to write to the press, to write to my leaders, or to enter into a power struggle. So I didn’t do it. I decided to stay at my post and use all the power I had to give my men as much choice as possible, dragging out the Army Health Service and the Army HR Service requests as much as possible, letting the right tricks circulate to get fake vaccination certificates…
But I quickly realized one thing. Despite this, there would be soldiers who could not fly under the radar, or simply refused to comply with the imperative and refused even the idea of having a fake vaccination certificate. There were a few cases. I can think of one corporal who desperately refused to be vaccinated, but he also refused to get a fake certificate, because he refused to get a pass, because he wanted to show solidarity with those who could not get a forgery. I met with him five times in my office to try to convince him. He explained to me that he was afraid of losing his job and being fired because he had a four-year-old daughter, a loan, and aging parents. I explained to him that this was all the more reason for him to keep a low profile and accept the idea of having a fake certificate to stay in the military.
This corporal said he couldn’t bring himself to do it. You know what he said to me? He said, « I can’t stand the idea that I have to submit and lose my soul to be able to raise my daughter normally. I would rather my daughter grow up without a father, than grow up proud of a father she can only look up to because he’s laid down and crawled as a slave ».
I realized that day that it would be easier for me to send that corporal to Verdun or Uzbin ten times than to get him to renounce his principles. I realized that I would have to fire him. Or rather, that through me, the Army high command was going to fire him.
This situation made me think a lot about my role as a leader and my values as a man. I spent many sleepless nights preoccupied with these questions: What kind of man am I if, comfortably hidden behind the concessions I make, I allow myself to judge the future of those who refuse these same concessions?
I decided to get the vaccine. I really did. I didn’t have to, because I already had a valid certificate, a fake one, but I decided to get vaccinated anyway. Out of respect for the men in my care. Those who feel compelled to get vaccinated to keep the job that feeds their families. Those who use fake certificate while being aware that they have already half submitted. And for all those who, like the corporal, will lose their jobs because they refuse to compromise at all.
It may be the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life. But paradoxically I feel at peace with my conscience. I had the power to refuse to compromise and to « go between the drops ». But not everyone has that power. Morally as a leader, I could not bear the idea of leading men without being in the same regime as them. Now I am in their position. We share the same thing. They won’t know and they don’t care. And I don’t care. But I did what I thought was right and what my ethics and honour demanded of me. My second-in-command made the exact same choice and went with me down that road, deciding to actually get vaccinated, so that he could be in the same boat as our men who can’t refuse.
These are heartbreaking choices. I’m not saying there’s a right and wrong choice. We all have different situations. Some can get into the power struggle, others have less room to manoeuvre and prefer to fly under the radar. Some could go under the radar, but their moral sense is such that they would rather lose everything than give up a millimeter to their enemy… In this story, there are not several sides in reality, there is only one: the population that is forced to endure against the government. I have a deep contempt for the political apparatus that has created this whole situation, for all the anger and despair it causes
Lieutenant-Colonel Gabrielle: SSA doctor
→ Colonel, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Lieutenant-Colonel Gabrielle, and I’m a medical officer with the Army Health Service (SSA). I have served in the field and in a military hospital. I’m married and the mother of three children.
→ Colonel, are you vaccinated? Why? What effect does this have on your career?
I am not vaccinated, I would never get the COVID 19 vaccine. I made sure to get a false certificate, as did a few of my colleagues. I believe deeply in my role as a doctor, which is to treat and save lives. The vaccination policy around COVID is certainly not part of that. I refuse to inject soldiers with a substance that is supposed to protect them from a disease that cannot kill them anyway. I refuse to inject them with a vaccine that will not prevent them from carrying or transmitting the disease anyway.
I am also quite sceptical about this vaccine, which is so effective and so consensual that it is necessary to use coercion to get people to accept it. A vaccine against a virus which, let’s remember, is so aggressive that people are obliged to undergo several tests to find out if they are ill… The government’s health policy really makes no sense, at least not from a health perspective. Not from a medical point of view. I’m one of those doctors who believe that, empirically, you have to find a cure for a disease, not a vaccine. There is no point in treating people who cannot develop serious forms anyway. On the other hand, it is very useful to develop drugs that can mitigate these severe forms IF they occur. That’s the question I’m asking today: we’ve been dealing with this health crisis for almost two years now, so what’s the status of potential cures for the virus and its symptoms? Have we even tried to find any? Or have we not?
I am also one of those doctors who consider that massively and indiscriminately vaccinating DURING the epidemic growth phase is a very bad idea, because it is the best way to let what are called escape variants appear. This is well documented in the specialized press, but to put it very simply: the vaccine makes it possible to standardize the « market », which greatly simplifies the task of the virus, which no longer has to adapt to each individual but instead finds a common point of attachment in everyone, via the vaccine. After that, the virus only has to mutate once, allowing it to outperform the vaccine. And from a harmless virus, we end up with an extremely aggressive virus.
In short, even without being a doctor, there are many points that raise serious questions in the management of this health crisis. And I think they deserve to be discussed in a democratic way. The fact that the government is using coercion proves to me that COVID is no longer a medical issue, it has become a political issue, and only a political one. And the military should not pay the price for this crazy policy. It would never occur to anyone to make the flu shot mandatory. That’s exactly what we’re doing.
These are the reasons why I refused vaccination. And these are the reasons why I decided, since last June, with the help of a captain and several nurses, not to vaccinate in the army. Or rather, to vaccinate those who really want it, but to allow those who don’t want it to get a fake certificate.
What I’m doing is totally illegal, I know there’s a risk, and I know that we’ll probably end up being discovered or reported. That will happen. But I will leave the army with at least a clear conscience. I believe that I am protecting the health of the troops more by not vaccinating them than by vaccinating them.
I am certainly a doctor and a soldier. But I am and remain above all a woman and a mother. I know the price of life, what it costs, what it is worth, what it involves. I know the beauty of life, the beauty you can see in the eyes of a laughing child. But I also know the fragility of life, the fragility that can be seen in the eyes of a patient who is about to go on his last ride. My role is to defend life.
My colleagues in the regiment are defending life by risking their own. I cannot bring myself to disregard those sacrifices they make by putting their lives on the line just because I am following government orders. So the only thing I do is give everyone back the choice that the government has taken away from them. I give them back control of their destiny and let them choose. I let my nursess do the same and I protect them as much as I can in their task.
And you know what? When people have a choice, they usually all decide not to get vaccinated. And believe me, that’s exactly why the vaccine is mandatory for the military and about to be mandatory for civilians: because otherwise, nobody would want to get vaccinated. Because basically, with a few exceptions, everyone knows very well that this situation around COVID is not medical, but political. People have common sense, that’s why the government needs coercion. And it is to honour people’s common sense and the value of their lives that I refuse to be an agent of that coercion. And I will do so until the police come for me by force.
General Guillaume: 3 stars General
→ General, can you introduce yourself?
I am General Guillaume. I joined Saint-Cyr in the 1980s and then spent my entire career in the infantry (Mountain Troops, Marine Troops) and then in the general staff. I am now a General.
→ General, are you vaccinated? Why? What effect does it have on your career?
I am vaccinated, I made a personal decision to be vaccinated in good conscience because I am part of the population considered « at risk ». I suffer from a respiratory disease that I have had chronically since Operation Daguet, a disease that damaged my lungs. Nothing serious in everyday life, but in case of complications due to COVID, my chances of survival are not guaranteed. So for me it made sense to vaccinate myself, I would have done it anyway.
However, I have encouraged my wife and my children and grandchildren not to do so. The vaccine is mostly for people like me. In fact, it is only for people like me. My 13-year-old grandson has absolutely no reason to get the shot. That is nonsense. I support a responsible approach to vaccination, based on individual responsibility: people who want to vaccinate because they are at risk (really at risk) should be able to do so.
But that is all. I think it is absolutely scandalous that French citizens are being forced, directly or indirectly, to be vaccinated against a disease that is, after all, benign, and in any case does not threaten them. My grandson, whom I have just mentioned, plays rugby in a club. He has a very good level of rugby, but now he cannot go to training because he has not been vaccinated. This is absolutely stupid. And it is even criminal.
The same thing is happening in the army and the gendarmerie: valuable soldiers are being pushed out because of their vaccination status. The army lacks resources, yet some young people are denied the opportunity to enlist, simply because they are not vaccinated… Similarly, the army lacks non-commissioned officers, yet the institution starts to hunt down these non-commissioned officers who refuse to be vaccinated. Or worse, those NCOs who refuse to act as health police in their combat group or platoon.
On a visit to a regiment, I had a lieutenant who challenged me in a rather direct and unusual way. We were talking about a number of subjects and we had come to the subject of vaccination and I suggested in a subtle way that I had a lot of misgivings about the policy of the government and the Chief of the Defence Staff, which was totally disconnected from the reality on the ground. The young lieutenant did not fail to ask me, full of candor: « But General, you are a general, why don’t you do something, why don’t you oppose these decisions? »
It’s a legitimate question. But so naive. As a major general, I get paid more than this lieutenant. I also have more advantages. More seniority. More responsibility and authority too. But that doesn’t mean I have more power than him. The way the military is structured, the higher you go, the more authority you have. But you never really have more power. You soon find that with each new level, the real decision-making power always eludes you. As military people, we know that power is pyramidal, hierarchical, vertical. We know that we will always have less power than the person above us. But we still naively believe that we will have a little more power at each new level than at the previous level. We believe that « power » is a kind of commercial company, where some people are majority shareholders with 51% of the shares, where others have only 30% and others 5%, 2%, 1%. The hope is that with each new rung you climb, you gain a few more shares of power.
This is totally false in reality. It is a totally false view. I have as little power today, after four decades in business, as I did yesterday when I was a 16-year-old cadet. Power is not pyramidal. Power is a single point of concentration. And it is not in the hands of the military. Our leaders have power without responsibility. We in the military have responsibility without power.
I don’t know if you understand exactly what I am trying to explain. In fact, I am explaining to you that I am as helpless as a baker or a corporal in the present situation. I am telling you about my own helplessness. I am helpless, and so are all of my colleagues, no matter their rank. I think even the Chief of the Army Staff know very well that they have very little room to manoeuvre.
We have no power over the treatment of our subordinates. I personally tried to raise a voice of dissent, as did some colleagues, but it was useless. I have tried to raise the complaints I received from certain regiment commanders, but it was useless. I wrote several letters, passing on disconcerting testimonies that I received from several officers. I never received anything but silence.
And yet, the evidence I brought to the attention of my superiors was very worrying. Hundreds and hundreds of cases of soldiers who find themselves totally unfit after being vaccinated. In a letter I mentioned in particular the case of a young private in a mountain troop regiment: he enlisted at 19 years of age, he did his initial training and his speciality training, and was among the first three in his cohort. He had a very athletic profile and was clever, the kind with a full head and well made arms, typically the kind of young man that a good sergeant could have directed towards an elite unit. His platoon was vaccinated by the SSA and he was immobilized for several weeks after the vaccination. He developed symptoms of pulmonary embolisms, with quite severe breathing difficulties, which prevented him from even speaking without being out of breath. Do you know what happened to him? The kid got fired, the Army artificially extended his probationary period so they could break his contract, on the grounds that he « presented medical contradictions to the military profession. » And that was it. That’s it. This poor kid who would have made a great soldier ends up a civilian with irreparably damaged lungs.
I wrote to a colleague at the DRHAT about this particular case, which I was well informed about. Do you know what happened? It wasn’t my friend who wrote me back. I received a letter from a superior, who explained to me that « I was totally out of my role » by taking an interest in this « secondary subject ». I replied that my role as an officer is also to be able to think outside the box and alert my leaders when I see that political decisions are destroying the army I serve.
Because that is what is happening. There are thousands of cases like the one I just mentioned. I am not exaggerating. Thousands of young and not so young people with more or less serious symptoms. This vaccination campaign is causing more attrition and loss to the army than our last 20 years of operations in Africa… do you realise how stupid it is?
But the worst thing is not that. The worst thing is that the men realize it. Everyone in the army knows at least one colleague, an officer or a private, who is in bad shape after the vaccine. Rumours are circulating, people are talking and debating about it. The climate is all the more serious because we are reaching a form of paranoia, legitimate paranoia, where any sick leave or death in the army is linked to the vaccine. I am not saying that this is the case, the army has nearly 200,000 personnel, statistically there are bound to be sicknesses and deaths. But our men are so used to seeing their comrades suffer from side effects, they start targeting the vaccine for every little problem.
The problem with all this is that the consequences are extremely deleterious. Distrust and mistrust is growing in some units. The army does not communicate. The SSA doesn’t communicate. The only thing the men see is that they have to get vaccinated, or they will be dragged through the mud and fired. And if they do get vaccinated, they see that some of their friends are suffering from complications. I’m sorry to say this, but even the most mercenary of men would never accept being treated with such disrespect.
It should come as no surprise that tens of thousands of soldiers decide to get out of this hellish loop by getting forgeries or not renewing their contracts. You can ask a lot of a soldier as long as you do it with authority, gravity and respect. But there are limits. This treatment of our military as an adjustment variable and a guinea pig is absolutely outrageous.
I believe that men would accept all this, if it were indeed the only way to protect themselves from an immense peril. And if they were asked straight out. Risk is part of being a soldier. But no, the risks they are taking today are for purely political reasons. I dare to say that at the end of the day, a 25-year-old corporal is not going to die or kill anybody if he refuses to get the vaccine. I dare to say that, and I challenge Mr Véran (Health Minister) to go and argue the opposite and explain to a platoon of corporals that if they are not vaccinated they are irresponsible people who are risking death and risking killing their loved ones.
I know that some of my colleagues will not agree with what I am going to say, but I will say it: this epidemic of COVID is above all a media epidemic. In the sense that it is purely manufactured by a kind of media hysteria. Usually, media-political networks agitate to influence the vote that one chooses to put in the ballot box: people will not vote for the candidate who has convinced them, they vote for the candidate that the media has convinced them to vote for. This is even the foundation of democracy. Today, these same political and media networks are being recycled to encourage people to vaccinate. People don’t vaccinate because the vaccine has convinced them, but because the political-media networks have convinced them to vaccinate. That is all. The nuclear heart of the COVID pandemic is not the virus, or the vaccine. The nuclear heart of the COVID pandemic is the media and those who run it, who run it in a certain sense.
Do you doubt what I am saying? Ask yourself a simple question: if you didn’t have access to the media and if there were no health measures, would you be able to say that the country was facing an epidemic? I mean, if you were walking around, if you were talking to your relatives, would you be able to say that there is an epidemic? I would not. I wouldn’t. Because there is no such thing as an epidemic, or it’s extremely marginal. During the Black Death, my village in Franche-Comté went from about 1700 inhabitants to less than 25. There were 6 families left. I can assure you that these 6 families did not need the public radio to realize that they were facing an epidemic. You did. Without the media and without government measures, our life would be exactly the same as it was 2 years ago. At most, some people would complain that the flu this year has been particularly aggressive. And that’s about it.
This is for me the proof that this pandemic is, above all, a creation or a media-political exaggeration. In the French army’s guidebooks or in NATO’s documentation, all this is grouped in a very precise field of study, that of CIMIC, civil-military actions. In more understandable language, it is called PSYOPS, psychological warfare. The idea is simple: how, by non-military means, an army will win the hearts and minds of the population and get them to support it. In the Sahel, we have several programs of this type: distribution of equipment and gifts to the civilian population, campaign on social networks to change the perception of Malian civilians towards the French Army, etc. Not only are these techniques used, but they work very well, very very well.
This is why we have had full guidebooks on the subject in France since the 1970s, and why the Americans and the British have specialized units in this field. With enough resources, over the long term, PSYOPS can achieve exceptional results without having to deploy a single regiment on the ground. For me, the COVID pandemic falls exactly within the scope of PSYOPS. For me, we are in fact in a form of psychological warfare that is being waged against the French civilian population in order to make them believe :
- that it is facing a serious and existential threat (the virus)
- that the only way to deal with it is to sacrifice some freedoms to the government
I’m not saying there’s some grand coordinated plan to wage psychological warfare on the French civilian population. I find that very hard to imagine. But I am saying that this is de facto what is happening, the French are being attacked by means of psychological warfare, the first of which is the media and its pornography of fear. Is this a conscious media treatment? Or is it totally unconscious and only guided by the will to make buzz, sell articles and get rich? I don’t know, I’m not a journalist.
But what is certain is that the French population is under attack. Very clearly. In fact, it doesn’t matter who is responsible and who is targeting what, I simply observe that our population is under attack, its mental representations are parasitized and attacked. And the effects of these attacks have been seen for two years: a total resignation of all moral and critical sense, an abandonment to the policies of the government.
That is what makes me say that our government is complicit and guilty. A government must have the foresight to see when its people are threatened and attacked, even when that attack is purely informational. And having noticed this threat, the government must act on behalf of the people. If it does not react, it is either incompetent or complicit. Our government does not react, but moreover it takes by itself to the attack. And it goes even further, not only does it contribute to bombing its own population. But it even sabotages its own army, by mentally bombarding its own army with the same messages. In naval parlance, this is called scuttling. In common parlance it is called a backstabbing. In universal language it is called treason.
I therefore accuse the political institutions of conducting a totally iniquitous health policy. A health policy that is deeply fracturing our army, destroying the confidence of men in their leaders, destroying our command culture, destroying regiments, destroying vocations. And above all, it is destroying men.
And this is as true in the military as it is in the civilian population. This way of doing things, these psychological attacks and this empire of lies is not only destroying the cohesion of regiments. It destroys the cohesion of families, the cohesion of couples, the cohesion of companies, the cohesion of groups of friends… The government is sowing the seeds of mistrust, sedition and war in its own country.
A soldier is a man who commits himself to fighting to return to a larger and more peaceful country. I can assure you that a soldier who returns today, in 2021, from a mission in the Sahel, cannot say that the country he returns to is more peaceful than it was a year ago. The military are men of peace, they want war today to have peace tomorrow. You are in the process of taking away this hope of peace and dividing the country for good. You are destroying the peace for which the military is fighting. This way of doing things is in any case very alarming. If it is unintentional, it is a sign of great irresponsibility. If it is voluntary, it is proof of a great darkness of soul. People who act in this way are hideous and vile, I dare to say it, knowing full well that I am talking about my superiors: you are hideous, vile, and if there is somewhere similar to Hell, believe me that your place there is already guaranteed.
I have only one final word to say, and I say it to military and civilian alike: this is a complicated situation. I am as lost as you are, as are many of my friends, colleagues, superiors and subordinates. I think we all feel the « winds of change », as the famous song of my youth says. But I cannot tell you where we are headed. Whether we are heading for a happy outcome or for even more difficult times. The only thing I can guarantee is that there are invariable facts: family, the values of work, friendship, love for your spouse and your children, all these little things will help you to cross the big waves and avoid being submerged. Do not succumb to divisions and diversions. Don’t be overwhelmed by helplessness or indecision. You are still capable of making choices, and making the right choices at that. You just need to ask yourself the right questions. The right decisions are often hard to make. But they are worth it. So take care of yourself. And as they say in the paras: be and last (être et durer). Be what you are and have as your sole objective to get through all this, to leave something behind, to be stronger than the dark clouds that threaten us. Long live France.
Alice, military wife
→ Madam, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Alice, I am married with four children. My husband is a non-commissioned officer in the army in a RPIMa. Today, I would like to testify on my behalf, but also on behalf of other military wives. I think that some of them will recognize themselves in my words and I hope that I will convey their feelings as I should.
→ Madam, are you vaccinated? Why? What about your husband? What effects does the vaccination policy have on your family and your marriage?
I am pregnant with our fourth child. During my pregnancy, my husband and I did a lot of research, looking for testimonials from other pregnant women, to see how they handled it. What I saw really horrified me. I saw hundreds of women, testifying about miscarriages, for example. At first, I was not particularly opposed to vaccination, I was rather indifferent. But these testimonies made me and my husband have a lot of doubts. If a vaccine destroys the life of a little baby in the womb, it’s probably not for our own good.
But at the same time I was also sensitive to the governmental campaigns and to what I heard in the media:
« If you are pregnant, you MUST be vaccinated otherwise you are an irresponsible mother who puts the health of her child in danger! »
During the ultrasounds at the hospital, I was entitled to guilt-tripping speeches like:
« What do you mean you’re not vaccinated? You are aware that there is an epidemic and that your choices could kill your baby »…
I’m hardly exaggerating. This was a difficult time for my husband and me. All these contradictory injunctions were hard to handle.
In the end I was so pressured that I decided to give in. I made an appointment to be vaccinated, at that time the vaccination campaign was overloaded and my appointment was in two weeks. Except that during that time, two things happened that made me change my mind.
One day at noon, my husband called me from the regiment and said in a panic: «Cancel that appointment for the vaccination! Warrant Officer X’s wife was vaccinated and she just had a miscarriage». She is the wife of a colleague of my husband, who was almost 6 months pregnant. I’ll let you imagine what she went through and what her husband went through too…
Of course, this made me have a lot of doubts, but I refused to cancel my appointment, I told myself that I would wait and see, that I could always cancel at the last moment… I waited and I saw. Four days later, my cousin, who is a midwife, called me. We hadn’t spoken in months, she just knew I was pregnant. She calls me and just leaves me this message: « Alice, I know you are pregnant, I hope the pregnancy is going well. I don’t know if you’ve been vaccinated yet, but if you haven’t, I think it’s best that you don’t. I just saw another miscarriage in a patient who just got vaccinated, maybe it’s nothing to do with that, but it’s the third one in ten days… Do as you please, but think about it. »
Maybe it was just confirmation bias, but I took it as confirmation: I cancelled my appointment and my husband supported me. I decided that I would not get the vaccine, not during my pregnancy, not after. Neither would my children. And my husband didn’t want to get the vaccine either. A vaccine that causes so much damage to destroy a virus that is almost harmless, it is not worth it.
My husband told his platoon commander, with whom he has a good relationship, that he did not want to be vaccinated. His platoon commander supported him by telling him that he was not the only one in this situation, but that vaccination was certainly going to become mandatory and that he would have to make a choice. Stay and get vaccinated or leave.
The lieutenant was right, because a few weeks later the news of mandatory vaccination for the military came out. My husband and his colleagues who were not vaccinated were pressured by their officers. The lieutenant tried to protect my husband, he tried to contact his friends at the SSA to see if he could find a dispensation for my husband, a medical exemption, even a fake one. In the end, my husband was summoned to the colonel of the regiment, who made him understand that if he did not give in, he would be discharged, without any benefits (i.e. without the retraining aid which is notably put in place for veterans who have done a long service). The goal was clearly to put a rope around his neck and make him give in. When my husband told his officers that he had a wife and four children to support, his CDU dared to say « all the more reason not to lose your job now ». I found that horribly cynical, really.
But my husband followed a similar thought process. He doesn’t want me to be vaccinated, he doesn’t want our children to be vaccinated. But at the same time, we are both aware that a family of four children is no small thing… I suggested to my husband that he should get a part-time job outside of the army. I offered to do the same. But he refused. He said he would prefer our children to grow up with their parents, than between two nannies, in public school, surrounded by masked adults and raised by parents stressed out about not being able to make ends meet. We were at an impasse.
One morning, while I was taking care of the kids, I got a message from my husband who was at work. « I did it. I had to do it. Now it’s settled. We’ll talk about it tonight. I love you. » I understood right away: he had taken the vaccine. At that moment I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know if I should cry or thank him, or admire him, or curse him, or bless him. I didn’t know, so I did all that at once. In a way, I am very angry with him. But at the same time, I love him so much, I’m so grateful and so admiring of what he did. I really am. I’m more in awe of that tiny gesture he made for our family than I am of the fact that he jumped out of an airplane door several times… I knew I had an amazing husband, but this is another level.
My husband sacrificed himself in some ways. He put his health on the line and his morals on the line to protect me and the kids, to make sure we had everything we needed, to make sure we could get through this together. I think it cost him infinitely less to go to the Sahel than it did to reach out and get vaccinated. It may seem silly from the outside. But it’s not just the medical issue, the risk of the vaccine. It’s also the fact that he feels, by getting vaccinated, that he’s selling his freedom, that he’s letting himself be shackled, that he’s participating in something infamous. He feels that he is surrendering and that he is a collaborator in some way. He feels that he is violating his word and his values. The risks he takes during a jump or an operation, he does it by choice, by pure will, he chooses to exercise his freedom towards a risky objective. In this case, it was the opposite, he felt as if he was abdicating his freedom.
He is a strong character, a Basque. He doesn’t give up his values easily, he doesn’t give in easily. But here he did it for us. I see more heroism and more love in this small gesture than in all our eleven years together.
So he sacrificed himself. So our life is back to normal, more or less. « The life before » as they say on TV when they taunt us by promising to give us back what they themselves took… But I am not stupid, I know very well that it is not exactly like before. My husband will never forget this. For him, it is a betrayal of the army and the state. He told me once: « You know, I did it, but one day I will clear my honor and take my revenge. I will find a way to make them pay for what they forced me to do and what they force people to do.» I don’t know what that means. I don’t want to know. I trust him, he’s a strong family man and a good husband. He proved to me that he is responsible and will take care of us, I know he won’t do anything stupid now.
But I know that for him, it will remain like a mark, like a wound. Like the tattoo of a slave. I know him well enough to know that he can live with it, but that he will keep his word and one day he will get his revenge, whatever form it takes. I’ve seen videos of my husband with his platoon at the shooting range, and I thought to myself, « Boy, I’d hate to be the wife of the Malian terrorist who’s about to face my husband.» Now I’m thinking, « Boy, I wouldn’t want to be the wife of the men who made those political decisions and made my husband angry»
What is certain is that our government has made a very bad decision in deciding to force people to be vaccinated. I am not a great philosopher, but it seems obvious to me that the issue has nothing to do with vaccines as a medical product. I think it’s more a question of honour, values and freedoms. Of course, there is also the problem of the vaccine itself. But in the end, the real dilemma is that people refuse to submit to an imperative that they consider illegitimate and therefore illegal. It’s as old as time, it’s Antigone and it’s Sainte Blandine.
By acting like this, the government has stepped on the tail of a sleeping lion. France has many faults, the French have many faults. But I believe that the French, and particularly French men, also have many qualities. And first of all, the first of them: a Frenchman loves his wife and children. To corner a father and a husband by threatening the center of his world is never a good solution. It’s not a very clever idea. There are hundreds of thousands of families like mine who are pushed to the limit. In the army, of course. But in the whole of France too, in the civil service, among the little workers. Everywhere.
I do not know where this will lead. I think we’re still a long way from seeing everything. Mandatory vaccination of military and caregivers may affect the entire population in my opinion. Or maybe not. I don’t know. But I think the government has gone too far to back down. We’re in a kind of death struggle now. Them against us. And as I said, when I see the strength of character of my husband, I would not like to be on the other side… I don’t know what else to say, except that you have to stand firm. To the men, don’t be afraid to be who you are and stand up for what you love. To women, remember that your first duty is to protect your children. If you have existential questions and moral dilemmas, maybe this will help you.
We have chosen to let these men and women speak without taking away a word. We do not claim that these words represent a majority feeling in the population or in our armies. But these words represent a feeling and a state of mind that exists and that is far from anecdotal. It is a fact.
By giving a voice to these people, we wanted to give a platform « out of the box » to people who are not often heard to express themselves and yet whose voice is particularly important for the French. The French love their army. Or at least, they respect it and give it credit. The fact that our government and our media make a complete blackout on the movement of mistrust which agitates the army is problematic. The French have the right and the need to know how their army feels. Today, we allow them to have access to it.
Whatever one thinks of the views expressed in these little interviews, what emerges from all of this is easy enough to summarize: the vaccination policy desired by the French government is causing deep divisions and important moral dilemmas among people, pushing some to perform illegal acts, others to question their patriotism, and others to « submit » to the vaccination imperative while harboring bitter revenge ever since.
It is also clear that the issue of vaccines is now anything but a medical issue. In fact, it has become a purely political issue for a large part of the population. Opponents of compulsory vaccination have many reasons for holding this position. But for many, the main basis of their position is the realization that COVID is not a danger but a political pretext for social change, a political pretext that uses the vaccine as a symbolic means of dividing society into those who submit voluntarily, those who submit out of spite and those who refuse to submit.
This view can certainly be challenged for its oversimplification. But this view exists and is destined to become more and more widespread as the French government (and other governments) make a purely political response to a health problem. In doing so, they are feeding the vision outlined in the previous paragraph.
What is certain is that French society, like its neighbours, has never been so divided, with fractures that agitate families, professions and circles of friends. Is the government aware that this policy of polarization will have consequences that may be irreversible? Nothing is less certain. The French leaders seem to assume the logic of confrontation, and we see that civilians and soldiers seem ready to enter into this logic as well, to confront it. The time for national cohesion seems as far behind as the time for appeasement seems far ahead.
You can read the first part here.
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