Journal, 1955-1962: Reflections on the French-Algerian War

By Mouloud Feraoun; James D. Le Sueur et al. | Go to book overview

1955

1 November 1, 1955, 6:30 P.M.

“It is raining on the city.” The streetlights have been on for two hours, lighting up the closed shutters and doors of silent facades. The city is still and secluded, cunning, hostile, and frightened …

This was a calm day, a sad autumn day. Until 4:00, it had not rained; let us say that it was nice. A sun pale with autumn, a sky smutty with melancholic days. The stubborn peal of the All Saints’ Day bells cannot wake the village. Although the bells ring for the dead, neither they nor the living can hear them. Hushed and hurried like conspirators, the faithful slip into the church through a half-opened door. Other conspirators who pass by and hastily exchange a weary and meaningless greeting do not see them. The Muslims, like the Christians, have nothing to say to one another. The “Kabyles,” like the “French,” are not thinking about anything. This morning, it seems that everyone has lost the desire to speak, joke, laugh, drink, come or go. It is as if each person feels trapped and sealed in an airtight bell jar. Vision is still possible, but any attempt at communication, even on the most ordinary and superficial level, is futile. No, really, they have nothing to say to each other today, the 1st of November. This is a sad day—the dead are indifferent, the living anxious, the French are not willing to understand, and the Kabyles refuse to explain.

It is a day off for the civil servant who will spend the morning in bed. At 8:00 he sleeps peacefully. Today there are no humming motors, prattling children, shouting dealers, passersby discussing just beneath his window. Silence! The street above is just as deserted as the street below. The main street, the village’s one and only street, is also empty. Yet, there are shadows moving about, slow or rapid, shadows that move aside at each turn so

-11-

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Journal, 1955-1962: Reflections on the French-Algerian War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Editor’s Acknowledgments vi
  • Translators’ Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Preface to the Original French Edition xlix
  • 1955 11
  • 1956 51
  • 1957 165
  • 1958 235
  • 1959 261
  • 1960 271
  • 1961 287
  • 1962 309
  • Notes 317
  • Glossary 335
  • Index 337
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