Emile Zola’s ‘J’ac­cuse…!’ let­ter is printed

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - NEWS - – Ian Mor­fitt

Jan. 13, 1898 J’ac­cuse…! The head­line ap­peared in large bold type on the front page of France’s L’Aurore on this day. In an open let­ter ad­dressed to the French Pres­i­dent, cel­e­brated writer Emile Zola railed against the trumped-up trea­son charges and con­vic­tion of army of­fi­cer Al­fred Drey­fus. Zola hoped his let­ter would bait au­thor­i­ties into su­ing him for li­bel so that he could ex­pose the anti-Semitism and cor­rup­tion of the court-mar­tial. They did. He lost the case, and fled to Eng­land, while Drey­fus was trans­ported to the no­to­ri­ous Devil’s Is­land and placed in soli­tary con­fine­ment. In 1906, the ver­dict was an­nulled and Drey­fus pro­claimed in­no­cent. The army took al­most a cen­tury from his con­vic­tion to do the same. In 1995, it pub­licly ad­mit­ted the Drey­fus af­fair was a “mil­i­tary con­spir­acy” based on false ev­i­dence against an “in­no­cent man.”

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