My maternal uncle had left Algeria in 1961… I was then 13. Since then, I had no contact with him or his family. Nor did I go to his funeral, ten years ago… Yet, I loved him.
It was not he whom I was boycotting but the country he had chosen… Israel.
During those 50 years, what then prevented the Algerian communist Jew I was from going there?
My daughter, Naouel, wanted to accompany me, and I accepted.
A debt I owe her.
I – KIPPUR
A forgotten family, Algerian Jews, lost from sight, I having transmitted nothing to my children, preferring to remain in ignorance myself.
Shall I be able to rid myself of my faults?
For, I must admit it immediately, I knew nothing. Neither of its past nor of its present.
A mysterious forgotten word that my mother often used,
Suddenly opened doors to me: “Tcharbeb”…
II – HANUKAH
But why was the world interested only in Arab refugees?
In Algeria where I had lived until 1993,
only the misfortune of the palestinian arab had a name: the “Nakba”.
Had not the Arab Muslim world purged itself of all its Jews…?
And if there had been, not one, but two “Nakbas”?
Each day, I narrowed the gulf between what I had been and what I was becoming…
And little by little I reconstituted my family, till then a phantom…
Near his tomb, would I obtain my Uncle’s pardon?
III – PURIM
Suddenly I became aware that if all peoples had been massacred
At one period or another,
The Jews, alone, had been so at all periods.
Was there another people in the world that had always been forced to fight, just to exist?
Refusing however to give up so quickly my dream of fraternity,
I decided to continue our trip…
Arriving in Israel, I believed that the issue of Peace would be a problem.
I was mistaken.
From North to South of Israel, Jew or Arab, each one had his solution,
Or his way of living “the conflict”, as they say here…
IV – PESACH
And if my hostility to Israel had only been an attempt
to escape that word so short yet so difficult to pronounce: Jew…
And if it were the same for all humanity?
Yet, the multiethnic society of which I had dreamed in Algeria, was it not here?
This world-people, who was it?
Our voyage continues… Voyage of all dangers…
Relieved of the narrative which had made me, would I not lose myself?
And my daughter, Naouel, what would she do with this belated transmission?
Once all of our family was restored, would my Uncle’s ghost cease to haunt me?