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A tous les Alexandrins, tous ceux qui sont passés par la ville ou qui y passeront, à mes compagnons de voyages…
I’m actually reading a book. If you want to know more about my Alexandrian life, you must read this book. All the foreigners who passed by Alex read it. It’s like Mussa (Moses) stick that pass from people to people, to learn more about our city, to create link between the people who read it : it could be the community of the people who read the story. You must ask what is this book I’m talking about. What is this mysterious story that transform you, that help you to understand your city and the way “she” was working. She is not what she was in the 40’s but she is still the same. We all recognize her when someone talks about her.
“She” is Alexandria, the alive city that (n)ever sleep. The door of Africa, middle east and Meditteranee in the same time. She is a mix and she was proud of it. Now, she is more and more struggling between all here identities.
“She” is “Justine”, the young women who was born a long time ago but don’t have any wrinkles on here beautiful face. She is passion, she is poetry and nostalgia, she is love, affair and tears. She is icon, untouchable, unattainable. She is what people expected from her, and she is the contrary.
She is improbable friendship, mutual aid, tribe. She is family, lover and friend in the same time. She is what we miss. She miss what we had.
She is the excess, that push you into land never explored. She is the deficiency that surrounds you with fears and frustration.
She is war, she is life continuing whatever will happen, because we never know. She is the joy of the moment.
She is stucked in a period, dreaming of the past and hopping for the future but running away from the present. She is paradox.
She is gossip, we know everything about everything inside her without never asking. She is different characters that seem to be completing each other. She is a part of the system without being totally inside it.
She is what we could never explain to whom never lived with. But she is yet so predictable that she makes us asking ourselves where is our identity when we are with her. Are we all made in the same cut and acting in the same way to be here? What is our hope with her? Why are we all convinced that she can find something special inside us?
She makes us live what we never lived before. She is adventure. She made us think that we are unique.
You could be Justine, and I could be her too. Because we are here, trying to explore ourselves more than exploring the city. Because we are looking for something that maybe do not exist, or is very rare. It s like the Golden eggs’ chicken story. I will tell you this one another time. What we are looking for maybe is not what we think. But what are we looking for? Why are we leaving our family, lovers and friends, to come in this country, in this city, in this community? Why are we looking for something difficult, different and extraordinary? Why are we challenging the norms, crossing the borders, trying to open different doors?
All the people ask me those questions before I came here. I’m still thinking about this question and looking for the answer. There is a lot of answers. We all have the key inside us.
Just read the book and tell me…
Lawrence Durrell, Justine, 1957.