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Edmond Amran El Maleh, born into an old Jewish commercial and rabbinical family in Essaouira on 30 March , was given all the trappings of a real state funeral on 16 November. He had specifically requested to be buried there among "all these graves which, exposed to the rank growth, the wind, and the ravages of the ocean, silently enclose the Hebrew inscriptions and mysterious symbols. El Maleh's headstone merely adds to the linguistic confusion.
He insisted on having four scripts: Arabic, Berber, Hebrew and French. During the interview, he was confronted with the leading statement: "I hope you did not take any action against France. In his response, he neglected to say that he left Morocco after King Hassan II's bloody suppression of the uprising in Casablanca on 23 March with the remark "agitator and nationalist" on his file.
Nor did he mention the fact that he had fought against the French colonial regime as head of the politburo of the illegal Moroccan Communist Party between and It seemed clear enough — "Moroccan Jews don't get involved in politics. In recognition of the fact that he — like Morocco's legendary left-wing opposition activist Abraham Serfaty — , who died only three days after El Maleh — did not stick to this golden rule of survival, he was presented with the National Order of Merit by the King in El Maleh, the thorny humanist and lateral thinker, critic of Zionism and supporter of the Palestinians, is highly respected in the new Morocco for the fact that he, a French assimilated Jew, never denied his Arab-Berber roots.
In their search for a lost era, all these novels evoke a multi-layered, multi-faceted, multi-voiced Morocco, with hints of Kafka, Canetti, Proust and — repeatedly — Walter Benjamin. El Maleh's magnificent, exuberant love of storytelling never clouded his sharp, all-appraising eye for the present.
The scenes and sites of all these stories are the places of his childhood — Essaouira, Safi and Azilah — and the customs and traditions, words and scents, legends and anecdotes of Moroccan Jewry.
The author, who sees himself as a thief of stories and a protector of words, unexpectedly weaves words and phrases from Jewish-Arabic, Berber, English, and Spanish into his work. According to the Spanish writer and intellectual Juan Goytisolo, a great admirer of El Maleh, the Moroccan dialect is like a tattoo on the skin of the French used by this author, this Nestor, this great outsider on the fringes of Franco-Moroccan literary scene, an author who remains to be discovered outside Morocco.
At a time when art criticism in Morocco was still in its infancy, he was writing about pioneers like Ahmed Charkaoui and discovering talented artists like Khalil El Ghrib. It is not really surprising, therefore, that art events that took place in December , just a few weeks after El Maleh passed away — and not least the Second International Biennale in Marrakesh — all mutated into acts of homage to El Maleh.
El Maleh bequeathed his material estate, art collections and book treasures to the National Library in Rabat, which is also the seat of the Fondation Edmond Amran El Maleh, set up in to — how could it be otherwise? From 23 March it is presenting his legacy in an exhibition accompanied by an homage. It is a kind of posthumous birthday present; "Hadj Edmond", as many Moroccans affectionately call him, would have turned 94 on 30 March Alfred Hackensberger spoke to its founder and director, Simon Levi, a retired university professor, about the museum and the history of Jews in the North African country.
For many years now, Azoulay has actively promoted dialogue between the cultures and religions. Rim Najmi met him in Rabat. This work was followed recently by "Portrait of the Decolonised", in which he draws a very sobering balance. Kersten Knipp visited the son of Jewish Arab parents in Paris. For weeks, there's been nothing but news about all things coronavirus.
Cartoonists need no more than a few lines to trigger emotions like fear and sadness, but also hope for the day when this crisis is finally over. By Suzanne Cords. Skip to main content. The Moroccan National Library in Rabat is now dedicating a major exhibition to this anti-colonial freedom fighter and patriot.
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Edmond Amran El Maleh
El Maleh was born in Safi, Morocco to a Jewish family. He moved to Paris in , working there as a journalist and a teacher of philosophy. He only began writing in , at the age of 63, traveling back and forth between France and Morocco. He stated that, in spite of his long stay in France, he had devoted his entire literary life to Morocco.
Edmond Amran El Maleh and the Cause of the Other
Edmond Amran El Maleh, born into an old Jewish commercial and rabbinical family in Essaouira on 30 March , was given all the trappings of a real state funeral on 16 November. He had specifically requested to be buried there among "all these graves which, exposed to the rank growth, the wind, and the ravages of the ocean, silently enclose the Hebrew inscriptions and mysterious symbols. El Maleh's headstone merely adds to the linguistic confusion. He insisted on having four scripts: Arabic, Berber, Hebrew and French. During the interview, he was confronted with the leading statement: "I hope you did not take any action against France.