MOHAMMED AÏSSAOUDI, member of the Renaudot prize jury.
“Writing is a permanent fight for peace. This is what the resistance fighter Albert Camus led when he wrote Plague, to evoke Nazism in the form of an allegory. His hero fights with dignity, without despair, against the invasive disease, explains Mohammed Aïssaoui who built himself with this tutelary figure. “Camus fights against nihilism, that is to say indifference to man and to life. When we see what is happening in Israel and Gaza, where everyone only counts their own dead, where every word is worth being assigned to a camp, I miss him terribly. He proposed a dignified, courageous course of action, asking for a truce during the Algerian war, demanding that civilians, women, children be spared. He had the courage of nuance in a world that lacked so much. He knew how to show the victims, the invisible, the massacres. Like the Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievitch today who, in the East, hands the microphone to people that we do not hear. Literature, whether story or fiction, can do a lot for peace because the time of writing allows us to decipher the spiral of evil and hatred; and it engraves a memorial in our history. I was very marked by the concentration camp stories: Primo Levi, Jorge Semprun, Claude Lanzmann… Without them, we would not know so intimately what evil produced. Thanks to these writers, to Camus, we are informed. And they show us a path to follow.” Muriel Fauriat.
His latest work: Albert Camus’ Love Dictionary (Ed. Plon, 528 p.; €28).