“What dominates in this dismal case is that the accused, like the witnesses, tell, without the slightest emotion, the most appalling things.”- President of the Court of Assizes
I’ve just read a book called ” Eat Him If You Like ” which is based on historical fact.
Alain, whose story this is, was a victim of ‘ Fake News ‘ and a mindless mob.
In 1870 France a group of villagers brutally assaulted Alain de Monéys and then they nailed a horse shoe to one of his feet and then cut the toes off of his other foot. They gouged his eye out.
Those injuries didn’t kill him, the murderous mob burned him alive.
The oldest person tried for Alain’s murder was in his 60’s , the youngest who was encouraged to set the fire that killed him was around nine years old.
Why did they do this? Why did they go as far as to encourage a young child to participate in this demonic act?
In the book, not even the murderers really knew… but this is the ‘how’.
The Villagers deemed Alain’ to be the enemy’ the ‘other’ even though they knew none of it was true.
Make no mistake Alain’s murderers, the members of the mob who tortured him, beat him, nailed a horse shoe to his foot and then dragged him- still alive to a dry lake bed where they would burn him alive, were his friends, people who liked and respected him, who knew him for his generosity.
They also probably liked his Mother, who he called for before he died.
But in the end what mattered to them was the fantasy that they had spun about Alain being a Traitor. They invested emotional time and energy into recreating Alain into that someone else and they invested even more energy into holding that image together.
There was no turning back for them.
The truly evil act was the decision they made to beat and torture a man they knew to be a good person. They knew this fantasy was just that, but it became more real then what they KNEW to be true and they acted on it.
Four people were executed for killing Alain, others were sentenced to hard labor. The child was acquitted. But in the book the scope of how far gone these people were was when the Police treating this like a real murder investigation were faced with the realization that everyone who had been there and either attacked Alain or stood by and cheered needed to be arrested.
In other words- almost the entire town.
After reading this book my feeling was, they should have.
Fandango’s Provocative Question #115- Necessary Evil