TiR out of curiosity took a shot a englishing this new piece of writing by Kamel Daoud:
Le Point Afrique - Published 1/11/2015
Charlie Hebdo and Africa: The name of Allah, the first name of Ahmed, the pseudonyms of 'Charlie'
The Algerian journalist and writer, targeted by a recent fatwa, is not afraid of death. The same does not go for the prospect of a world without liberty in which he would have no 'place.'
This is the mechanism of the '11': an 'Allahou akbar,' a few assailants, several deaths, some analysts in TV studios, some rallies, a slogan, a plan for Global War part II, some conspiracy theories, some people weeping and then a president who calls for a gathering of the people and promises retribution. Next, three or four religions on the corner, who issue condemnations, some extremists who remind us that they saw all of this coming a mile away, some relatives of the dead who bear witness, and some Muslims who affirm that to pray is not the same thing as to murder. This mechanism is without shades of grey. One of the officers struck down is named Ahmed, so they say, but it's no use. The mechanism of '9/11' has the name 'Allah,' not the first name 'Ahmed.' Wearying. A remake of a remake, for the Algerian that I am, a child of the 90s war. Exhausting beyond words. Nothing to say. At night, I watch Global Television, I hear condemnation and desolation, but it's no use. Or nearly so. It's not enough. 'I am Charlie' versus 'I am Allah,' with, in the middle, 'I am nothing.' Or nearly so. Suffocation.
The fable of the three hostages
This is the story of three hostages held by ISIS in the unified global Sahara: God; the lukewarm and soundproof Muslim; and the White person -- an illustrator, Christian, Jewish or otherwise, or a bystander, or a freedom fighter in the world called 'Arab.' In the first video clip, we do not see the hostage. He's said nothing for centuries. We make him say whatever we want by inserting little verses. This is the hostage as imagined, or the hostage who imagines the universe that contains us. It is a mental clip in the head of the jihadist: 'I am Allah' because 'Allah told me so.' The Jihadist proclaims himself God so as to give the middle finger to Christianity, which proclaimed God in man. The second hostage is only half visible. He is the Muslim who says nothing, and whose lines we 'dub in.' He's not the one firing off but it's his lips which move. This is hostage number two. We can set him free but only if he himself wants to be; to accept the Stockholm model without the Stockholm Syndrome (with the Jihadist); to begin, as if taking the first step on the Moon, to reject but also to reread his books, to sort his garbage from his imams; to accept that the religion is about thinking, taking a second look, making corrections; and to hasten to rejoin humanity instead of slowing down or shooting it in the back. The third hostage is the Other: a drawing, a word, a book, a White man, a sheet of paper, or a tourist, or an Ahmed who was caught in the middle.
Whose child is this killer?
Weariness. To condemn is not enough. It leads to sadness, to the gathering of dead leaves. It's worth recalling that the name Ahmed is not the same name as Allah. But that's hardly enough. It's all well and good to say that the killer does not represent Islam or Muslims, but it's like a flower opening its mouth in a thunderstorm. We'll just have to go there, then. To dissect. To push forth. To tally up. To pose to oneself the true question: This killer is the child of whom? Whence comes the jihadist? One is not born jihadist, one becomes it. Because of the war, of Saudi books, of their satellites, sheikhs, fatwas, promulgations, imams, theologians who flood the world and stuff souls to the gills. One must name and show the matrix. And destroy it.
On the horizon, a multitude of questions
To me, tomorrow is a world as hard and mute as a closed door. Condemned twice over: by a fatwa and by geography. Where can people like me go? Back to oneself, slowly. To accept one's path. I don't know what else to do, except to defend my freedom and my presence in the world, against those who would kill me, and against those who would take me for a killer. I have no place to go, but I know the direction in which I'm going. I'm not afraid to die. However, I fear that the killer will win and fashion a world in which I have no place. It's that. I too am Charlie, and where he goes, there I am.
This isTiR's very favorite passage from Aurélia, written around 1853-4:
My books, an odd assortment [amas bizarre] of the knowledge of all ages, history, travels, religion, the cabala, astrology . . . the Tower of Babel in two hundred volumes . . . They were enough to drive a wise man mad [rendre fou un sage]; let us try to ensure that there is enough to make a madman sane [rendre sage un fou].
Mind you, Nerval is describing the decor of his room in a lunatic asylum. He claims his possessions in this chamber -- "an odd interior composed of palace and hovel" -- to include also a canopy bed, ornate 17th and 18th century furnishings with porcelain inlays, a crystal vase, a hookah pipe, wood paneling from his former home, oil paintings, a huge map of Cairo, and twenty years worth of various other personal momentos.
The reader at first may assume with some justification that the writer is madly hallucinating it all, as he has so much already throughout his book-journal.
The madness of Gerard de Nerval . . . I take to have been essentially due to the weakness and not the excess of his visionary quality, to the insufficiency of his imaginative energy, and to his lack of spiritual discipline. He was an unsystematic mystic . . . precisely because it was this amas bizarre, this jumble of the perilous secrets in which wisdom is so often folly, and folly so often wisdom. . . Wavering among intuitions, ignorances, half-truths, shadows of falsehood, now audacious, now hesitating, he was blown hither and thither by conflicting winds, a prey to the indefinite.
moi, global village idiot Like the village idiot [l'innocent du village], I see the vision, I hear the mode And the instrument, but the words like a herd of stumbling buffaloes [un troupeau de buffles confus] Bump against my teeth and my voice opens on the void. The last chord hushed, and I must begin again at zero, Learn once again this language so strange and ambiguous [si étrangère et double] . . .
from Léopold Sédar Senghor's "Elegy for Martin Luther King (for jazz orchestra)"