‘Our Europe is a shared adventure which we will continue to pursue, despite you, in the wind of intelligence.’
– Albert Camus, Letters to a German Friend, 1944
‘The wind of intelligence.’ I like expressions like this. You never hear them in politicians’ speeches. They only find their place in literature. And yet these are the words we need, the ones that can fill us with élan and enthusiasm.
Fervent social awareness and civic passion have deserted today’s Europe. It bores its own citizens. We need wind, great gusts of ideas, to dust off old habits and uplift hearts. Wind, yes, so that we will not forget that in the early days of European construction, there was a utopian idea: to ensure that countries which, in the past, were so often rivals, so often enemies, would bind their fates to one another.
When Camus wrote these words, the Second World War was not yet over. He had gone underground, and was fighting. He wrote these words in order to propose a counterplan against dictatorship and the Nazi domination of Europe. He wrote them to give himself a compass. The wind of intelligence is what defines us: an open, humanist culture in motion, the heir to a victorious struggle against criminal dogma.