Saturday, February 14, 2009

Political Testament: Part V

In the fifth section of his "Political Testament," entitled Reforme de l'éducation, Leopold III dealt with the need to develop patriotism and idealism in the Belgian youth. The section is short enough to quote in full: 

Je recommande qu'une sollicitude toute particulière soit accordée à la jeunesse qui tient en mains le sort de la Belgique de demain. 

Si, en 1940, le Pays a momentanément perdu foi dans sa destinée, la faute en est à l'insuffisance coupable de l'éducation civique donnée à nos enfants. 

L'avenir de la Nation exige que notre jeunesse soit physiquement robuste, nourrie d'aspirations nobles et d'idéal généreux, ardemment éprise de fierté personnelle, de solidarité sociale, foncièrement et résolument patriote. À cet égard, presque tout est à créer.

I recommend that very special care be accorded to our youth, who hold in their hands the fate of tomorrow's Belgium.

If, in 1940, the country momentarily lost faith in its destinies, the cause is the blameworthy inadequacy of the civic education given to our children. 

The future of the Nation demands that our youth be physically strong, nourished by noble aspirations and generous ideals, ardently possessed by personal pride and social solidarity; deeply and resolutely patriotic. In this respect, we must start almost from the beginning. 

I emphasized the last stipulation, as it recalls Leopold's own devotion, from an early age, to his country; a devotion which inspired him, at 13, to volunteer for the Belgian army during World War I. He was certainly a patriotic youth! 

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