Testimony : Paris, 16/03/2008, Salon du Livre.

Article published on March 31, 2008
Article published on March 31, 2008
Rain over Paris. The chronicle of a missed attack.

Une heure avec David Grossman, the event I would have like to attend on this 28th Paris Book Fair, was scheduled at 6 p.m.. At 5 p.m. I was still on the RER B to the Cité Universitaire. Fortunately, the tram passing there headed right to Porte de Versailles. It seems that a whole crowd of people had the same idea I had had. Everybody to Paris Expo that these days is hosting many initiatives among which the Salon Du Livre. Once  I came through the tram’s throng, I made for the entrance. After a while, I realised I was going against the stream, everybody was going out. Why? I heard somebody saying that it wasn’t possible to get in, that we’d all rather move towards the sortie: “For today, miss, you’ll have to give up your literary walking”, tells me a smiling-eyed policeman. Had it happened in Italy, it would have been a total panic, a mass suicide psychosis, no doubt. A middle-aged lady met my eyes accidentally and told me: “You know, maybe there’s a bomb”, with the same tone of somebody saying: “You know, maybe it’ll rain in Paris today, at least that’s what the weatherman says”. Conscious that something could have actually exploded that very moment beneath my feet, I found myself following patiently and sensibly the police’s directions. The underground had been shut down as a precautionary measure. I preferred not to take the tram because if I had been a terrorist I would have placed the bomb right there, where thousands of people were be crowding to go home after attending, or trying to attend, what was or should simply be a cultural event. So, with the newspaper under my arm and my pastel colour umbrella, that is boldly holding out against these days’ Parisian wind, I left Porte de Versailles very sadly above all. An hour later, the alert was called off, but I was already far away, with a crêpe in one hand and in the other a city map, that has never proved so useful as today over these first 15 days of my Parisian Erasmus. The event will end on March, 19. There are still many initiatives on schedule. And many polemics have been aroused by those criticising the role of Israel or, better (at least I think it is right to say) , of the Israeli literature in this cultural event…I’ve heard that on the next few days the weather will get better and a pale spring sun will warm Parisian roofs, at least that’s what the weatherman says…

F. A.