‘The quality of a civilisation is measured by the respect it gives to its weakest members.’ This quotation, attributed to doctor and geneticist Jerome Lejeune, echoes similar statements by Fiodor Dostoyevsky, Mahatma Ghandi and Winston Churchill among others.
The poster, spotted on Boulevard Port Royal today, is part of a mysterious series which have been appearing around Paris recently, posted by someone who identifies themselves by the hashtag Eleuthère.
These words from Vaclav Havel aren’t so easy to translate from French to English. ‘True politics is simply the service of the next’. The next what? An elderly lady who was passing as I took this photo paused to smile approvingly and declared ‘Ça c’est important’, so it seemed she understood the quotation.
A web search on #eleuthère reveals Twitter and Instagram photos of another six or so posters in the series with inspiring quotes from Confucius, Simone Weil, Günther Anders and Hannah Arendt among others. A subtle contribution to campaigning in the presidential election, or simply a call to reflection?
“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” – Mahatma Ghandi