Le Marcheur de Fès by Éric Fottorino

By Éric Fottorino

"Nous aurions filé vers les Pyrénées. On aurait coupé l'Espagne de haut en bas. Une manière de césarienne pour exhumer ton histoire. Nous serions remontés au début, jusqu'à Fès, ta ville natale. Serions-nous jamais arrivés ?"

À l'automne 2012, j'ai voulu emmener mon père marocain dans les rues de sa jeunesse, le quartier juif de Fès, l. a. médina, l'entrelacs de ses souvenirs campés entre l'université de l. a. Karaouine et los angeles façade de l'Empire qui fut jadis le plus grand cinéma d'Afrique du Nord.

J'ai fait le voyage sans lui. los angeles maladie en a décidé ainsi, je suis devenu à sa position le marcheur de Fès. J'ai compris à quoi tient une existence.

Un kilomètre à peine sépare le mellah de los angeles ville moderne, le monde juif de l'ancien secteur européen. Dans ce mouchoir de poche, Moshé Maman est devenu Maurice Maman. Comme tous les siens, le Juif marocain a rêvé de s'intégrer à los angeles France, de parler sa langue, d'y construire sa maison, sa famille, son avenir.

J(ai traversé les ruelles et les cimetières, poussé l. a. pore des rares synagogues, parlé aux derniers Juifs fassis dont los angeles flamme s'éteindra bientôt. À chaque pas, je suis tombé sur ce père longtemps inconnu. Jusqu'à tomber sur moi, à l'improviste.

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I try not to think too hard about a similar tent I had when I was nine and how it was washed away by a brief thunderstorm. Charlie opens the flap for me and proudly points to the one ‘luxury’ supplied to me: a mattress. I’m touched. He tells me it’s only because I’m the cook and they have to keep on my good side. The next task is to get the mountain of food stored. Charlie turns to me and asks innocently what I’d like to do. I look at the pile of boxes on the sledge and think about the amount that is still waiting on the plane.

It’s true, there are only tents on the ice. in53 53 27/09/2005 16:35:34 A NTARCTICA ON A P LATE I had clung to a fantasy that when they said ‘camp’ they may have meant something like a luxury safari camp, only in a colder climate. This vain hope is duly crushed by the sight of the structures before me. Our personal tents are flimsy nylon shelters. They have had some polar modifications. Extra long nylon skirts have been sewn onto them and are weighed down with snow – to keep them from blowing away, Charlie informs me – but they are tents nonetheless.

It’s like waiting for the curtain to go up in the theatre. The others are standing up and crowding around the portholes. Strangely I feel reluctant to join the queue. I can feel the plane turning to cruise back up our runway. I sit on the bench and look blankly in front of me. in49 49 27/09/2005 16:35:33 A NTARCTICA ON A P LATE The plane comes to a stop with a final shudder. There is a moment of suspended animation as we adjust to the silence when the engines slide from a shriek to a low whine.

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