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Chants de mutants

Aux rives de Gibraltar*

 Songs of the mutants
On the shores of Gibraltar

Are they already dead, the living of whose Eldorado we sing?

As seen from the South Shore. On the great evening of departure.
Hungry, desperate, adventurers, thieves, good and bad flock to the routes of exodus, to sit astride implausible ships toward the shores of life. The second life, in a New World made of expansive greenery, of sumptuous delights and of freedom. Ready to change roofs, skin and eye colour. Ready to embark on a one-way journey between worlds.

These mutants, sometimes huddled, sometimes arrayed, forever tacking back and forth, are afraid. But they are roused. Misfortune behind them and the here and now as a diktat, a veritable Styx! A veritable tomb for this crossing to the flourishing grief of memories!

As seen from the North Shore. The next day, on TV.
Deep in the mist, the encroaching ship looms in the grey shadows, stands threatening, coming close to us. Masts, spars, ropes and bodies emerge from the belly of the ocean like phantoms that, with a single spurt of imagination, are created on sails stretched between heaven and hell.

Rowing creatures and misshapen silhouettes advance beneath a sky that seems to dawn on their faces lit up like so many dusks. Here looms the iceberg of cataclysms to come. Huddled creatures frighten us. Time to turn off the TV.

As seen from out at sea. A few days, or weeks, later.
The huddled creatures are no longer afraid, they are rowing. Here they swarm, on these makeshift rafts, unwieldy dots that surge from the corner of the waves, clinging to the foam and to the dreams that haunt them.

Fleeing their deserts of sand and war, the mutants are now wandering in this desert of cursed water that the Mediterranean is becoming for them. Some are rowing and praying, others are rowing and cursing. And sometimes, to the rhythms of the waves and of the shimmering mirages, all the rowers strike the water and chant, their souls dancing, the songs of the mutants, on the shores of Gibraltar.

As seen from the FMA, 19 years later.
Walls of waves or stones emerge here and there, at borders from Mexico to Jerusalem, or on the seas that no Moses is coming to part. Nearby, in the neighbourhood, stones of damnation are piling up to separate two throngs governed by the same fear.

O Gibraltar that lies dormant in us…
How to cross this strait that still inhabits our migrant-mutant souls, shaping it until it becomes second nature. Migrants one day, mutants always, suspended between two deserts, lost on side roads that lead nowhere, stuck between two shores that keep tightening to engulf us.

We are also those migrants, children common to the imagination and to the violence of the world. The same fear lives in us, and our exalting songs tell our epic tales… From ancient Berber and Gnawa songs to qudud-flamenco, the two shores come together and coalesce, in the course of an FMA, on a road paved with dreams and proud illusions, in a comforting burst of music, dance and improbable adventures.

Enjoy the festival!

* An edition dedicated to migrants of every era, especially ours.