332. Wise bureaucrats

This was actually written in Chile nearly 3 years ago, but only published today

I have often heard the expression soulless bureaucracy. I often myself want to also add brainless. However, although this can be nearly always true of bureaucracies, bureaucrats sometimes have souls, and even their own, independent brains. If you don’t know it yet, you should read the story of Aristide de Sousa, the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, in 1940. De Sousa contravened the direct orders of his government, and issued visas to close on 30,000 Jews escaping the Nazi advance. Bureaucracies being what they are, the visas were respected. With the help of his assistants, he was responsible for the biggest single evacuation of Jews during the II World War. An unsung hero, an unassuming act of bravery which will survive, eternally, in the lives of all those descendants who only exist thanks to the disobedience of one man, hired and trained to obey. I pour myself a Bordeaux Grand Cru, and raise my glass, in silence, to Aristide and his team (951)


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