The trial and conviction which became the byword for injustice was that of Alfred Dreyfus in France in the 1890s. Robert Harris has written a compelling novel about the military and state corruption and anti-semitism which brought about Dreyfus’s inhumane imprisonment on Devil’s Island for a treason he did not commit. What became known as The Affair, nearly tore France apart with novelist Emile Zola at one point exasperatedly writing his J’Accuse polemic, naming army chiefs and politicians who had lied and then lied further to cover up. Were it not for the efforts of an army intelligence chief Marie-Georges Picquart, who was sidelined for his whistleblowing and sent on a suicide mission to shut him up, Dreyfus would have died. It took 12 years to unravel the fiasco, which would not have happened but for newspaper and public pressure.
Dreyfus, 9 Oct 1859 3pm Mulhouse, France had an 8th house Sun Mercury Venus in Libra square Jupiter in Cancer; and an 8th house Mars in Virgo opposition Moon Neptune in Pisces – so very intense, quite fated, and designed to generate publicity with Mars Neptune. He also had Saturn in Leo opposition a North Node in Aquarius – so at odds with the conventional zeitgeist or at least the authoritarian custodians thereof.
The tr Neptune Pluto conjunction in Gemini, associated with scandal, deception and a tendency to megalomania amongst rulers, covered this period. It was going through Dreyfus’s 4th house during his five year on the unhealthy South American penal colony.
Picquart,6 Sept 1854 7pm Strasbourg, France, had a meticulous, hard-working Sun Mercury in Virgo opposition Moon Neptune in Pisces squaring onto Saturn in Gemini in the 3rd. So a worrier, fair-minded, keen on detail. Backing that up he had a relentlessly determined and courageous Mars in Scorpio opposition Pluto. The tr Neptune Pluto conjunction was moving through his 3rd house conjunct his Saturn as he embarked on his risky whistleblowing exercise.
Picquart didn’t especially like Dreyfus, but felt dragging the truth into the open was the only honourable course, no matter what it cost him.
Novelist and playwright, Emile Zola, 2 April 1840 11pm Paris, was a New Moon in Aries; with Moon Pluto Mars Mercury in Aries in his 5th – so intemperate, loved the spotlight and would be very go-ahead and impulsive. His J’Accuse earned him a libel suit.
Once the dust finally settled, after retrials, semi-apologies and obfuscations Dreyfus was pardoned, and fought in World War 1; Picquart became Minister for War.