petit

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LOST LIVES ::  VOICES FROM THE PAST

My secret patriot :: Gabrielle Petit

Gabrielle Petit, resistance fighter executed in Brussels on 1 April 1916

My country!

 

My country! I did not think enough of it. I almost ignored it. I did not see that I loved it. But since they torment her, the monsters, I see her everywhere. I breathe her in the streets of the city, in the shadow of our palace. She lives in me. I live in her. I will die for her singing."

 

Gabrielle Petit, 1915

 

 

Gabrielle Petit did die for her little country. She was shot as a spy at the National Firing Range in Schaerbeek commune, like the British nurse Edith Cavell, on 1 April 1916. She is commemorated by a statue on Place St Jean in the centre of Brussels, not far from Grand'Place.

 

I like this quotation, because I think it sums up the mood in the Brussels streets at this moment, on 22 March 2016. We don't think about our country, or our city, until the monsters take over. But then we realise how important it is to us, not as a matter of national pride, not really, but as something much more basic. It is where we live and breathe. It is our home.