Raising a voice over the suffering


I am currently working on writing a new story. I write in spurts, groping. I would like to put a voice on a news item dating back several years already: a child of eight years martyred, that her parents will end up abandoning dead under their blows, in the cellar of their family home.

“Asking a voice” is perhaps the only recourse that literature offers us. It cannot be a question of telling, worse of romanticizing, and yet our desire to tell is put to the test. It is above all a question of depositing a breath by the writing on the incurable scar of an event. We have, for a long time, dissociated the writing from the voice, the trace of the breath. But writing has not always been separated from the voice. It is, a bit like in musical writing, tracing the effect of breath on bodies and the world. The sound that the event produces on us, in us. Writing years after the tragedy and after the parents’ trial cannot do anything justice and rest. I feel that I then stand at the border of the story, of the novel as well, while refusing to do so. Because I vaguely guess that this border is not simply a poetic, literary border, but that it speaks of the obscure distinction of the worlds that exist within us. From Light to Darkness. Of the world normal as they say lazily, but in any case with that confidence and tenderness that make the world possibleto the world of fantasy and violence.

I speak to the living. I want to remind you that somewhere in us, at home, there is what we can call a another place which is not the familiar and everyday world in which we think we live, and which nevertheless belongs to it. In everyday life, we are not always aware of the calm in which we try, somehow, to keep. Others among us, who have been able to know and go through such and such a disaster, live permanently with the terrible knowledge of theanother place. The one where justice is not done. The one where help seems impossible. A dread such that sometimes, it is said, God is dead, that he remains silent. I write with the feeling that I must remind these people that they are not alone in theanother place. That we also know, in the memory of their sufferings, that there exists in us this other infernal world. And let our voices rise not to be heard themselves but to make the voiceless pain of others heard.


I remember the words of a rabbi who was asked about God’s response to the countless terrifying events that we can experience. He said : his silence. To write would then be to pose a voice not on the silence itself but beside it, around it, as if to detach from it the impossible cry of horror and supplication. And I want to understand this word of silence as being also that of the mute victim, lost in theanother place. Our cries in this world make heard the inaudible cries of the victims since theanother place. So the silence of God is the silence in which we abandon the victims. To hear them, you have to be silent. To hear them, we must drop our tears around their silence. This is how God responds to the tears of Hagar sent back to the desert with her son Ishmael (Genesis, 21): “Hagar lifted up her voice and wept. God heard the child’s voice, and the angel of God called Hagar from heaven, and said to her, What is the matter, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the child’s voice in the place where he is. » Hagar raises her voice to the child’s distress. God hears, not the voice of Hagar, but, from her silence, the inaudible voice of the child “in the place where he is”. L’another place.

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