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« People will say: it’s past
history, Bambara
and I open my eyes wide
so as not to lose
the pain of the unknown »

Mohammed Kacimi
In La Chaîne et le lien (Ed. Unesco)

Slavery and the slave trade again… We cannot help but reiterate the frustration left by the commemoration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of abolition, however. Indeed, the mediatized mea culpa to the tune of the celebration of Caribbean hybridity was not very far-reaching. West Indians even had to descend into the streets so that their discordant voice be heard. On the research front, only Unesco undertook a veritable work of recollection under the auspices of its larger « Slave route » project. A series of one-off, local initiatives had the merit of existing, but this commemorative year will not have fundamentally modified the Western imagination. The confusion between slavery and the slave trade still reigns, effectively denying it of its specificity; the lack of awareness of History will continue to be perpetuated as long as it is not officially inscribed in school programmes; the questions posed by its occultation, sequels, and compensation continue to be met with only vague answers.
The date was undoubtedly badly chosen, and the risk of yet again celebrating the advances of the Western conscience, rather than valorizing the resistance of the captives, too great. Amistad was the worst example…
We have chosen to give a tribune to the African writers who have been too rarely heard this year, in partnership with the Fest’Africa festival which invited them. Their voices, which are diverse, but always intimate and intense, are at one with memory. As Mohammed Kacimi writes, « I am a storyteller, my gaze hazy, my veins open, a white light flows in my body« …

///Article N° : 5313


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