House of Foreign Writers and Translators, Saturday, November 17, 2018.
The odds of the literary calendar are that we are gathered today at the MEET, the typical house if any, international, open to the other, and it is Saint-Nazaire, large seaport, the city of arrivals and departures, place no less symbolic by its tragic history, that we are launching this appeal.
Our world, that of 2018, worries. Its populist excesses, in many countries of Europe and other continents, making it more and more like the 1930s which we know to which absolute disaster they ended.
This populism, which differs less and less from fascism, has come to power in a few countries. More generally, he wins the spirits, flatters the low instincts, seduces the electors, intimidates by his simplifications, his excesses, his ukases. He imposes his themes and problems, with deceptive solutions that history tells us are false and harmful.
The language changes. The limits of decency explode in flight. Intolerance triumphs. The reign of the same is essential.
The European Community, since its construction after the Second World War, has gone through several economic, financial and social crises, without having to solve them by wars between its member countries. This is a new phenomenon, which has probably not been appreciated at its fair and enormous value. Today this European community is responsible for all the evils that would overwhelm us.
Errors were made. They are repairable, questionable. The mistakes of populism are irreparable. They are based on the same illusions, on the same simplifications, the same hasty and reductive denunciations as nearly a century ago, and they will lead to the same disasters.
As we know, this intuitive knowledge uttered and claimed by Pier Paolo Pasolini in his “Io so” (I know): the populisms of today will lead to the same devastation as those of yesterday.
In order not to remain silent, so as not to resign ourselves to a fatal repetition of the worst, so as not to stay speechless in the face of this ecological and political catastrophe, we are calling, we, writers from Europe and the world, to a start. We are economically and socially modest, but we devote our lives to the language and the perception that it allows becoming of the world. Behind the differences between two periods of history, one must be able to identify the terrifying force of the same movement towards chaos and collective delirium.
Many citizens of the 1930s dreaded the way the world was going, their world of the time, they did not know, however, to what destruction they were led. We know it. And we have a language that cares about the truth.
In many countries, the writer is silenced by fear and intimidation. And we call for vigilance, testimony, writing. Let’s use the power of literature. The initiative launched here will be structured in the coming months, will welcome the reflections of the writers who will join us and put them in the network, will communicate them to the press.
We are not building a power but an expression of hope.
Bernard Comment (Switzerland)
Patrick Deville (France)
First signatories present in Saint-Nazaire
Ardian Marashi (Albania)
Asli Erdogan (Turkey)
Elsa Osario (Argentina)
Karla Suarez (Cuba)
Jakuta Alikavazovic (France)