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Le grand révélateur, by Fabrice Humbert

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Faced with the coronavirus and the containment it causes, Gallimard publishes one or two " Crisis leaflets "UP' has chosen to offer you each day an excerpt from a selected text and author. 54 titles have been published to date, and UP' has chosen to offer you each day an excerpt from a selected text and author.

At the age of eighteen, during a chaotic period of my life, I dreamed of going to prison to be quiet, separated from everyone and reduced to myself. Many years later, I am confined there. And in the rare moments of calm, between our young children who explode thirty times a day, the permanent domestic tasks and a "pedagogical continuity" to be ensured somehow, I try to reflect on the situation.

In the intimacy of the family, of the couple or in the withdrawal of solitude, each one is faced with himself, with his past and with the life he has built for himself, with the part of luck that there is to it. I have learned nothing that I do not know, but obviously, the lines are sharper, the light more raw. In the brief horizon of the apartments, in the concentrated sum of gestures, words, feelings, in the sketch with the innumerable features of a confined day, here we are paying for our past, or that our past pays us. It is the wage of our life, whether it is just or not. The injustice of violence, the injustice sometimes of the love that we receive, but also the part of just choices, in conscience, since that also exists. To love the being or beings with whom we live, to be loved, here our horizon stops first at these first evidences.

And suddenly also, in this narrowed but also concentrated and intensified horizon, the space of the apartment becomes the supreme space. Every meter counts, every space of withdrawal, every window, every place for children. The garden saves (in our case would save, The place we have chosen - our place in the world. The place that has been imposed on us. The streets around the building, the house. The almost oppressive intensity of the street below the building, of the landscape before us - unchanging, hour after hour, day after day, week after week - since this same street that I used to see only distractedly on my way to and from work, is now absolutely and totally my street, the one I will walk down in my hour-long rounds, circling my block.

What the virus offers us is our life - overexposed by the eager lights of eternal return. But this virus also X-rayed beings beyond the intimate circle, themselves made translucent by the blinding light. Shopkeepers become imposing creatures - they are the ones who hold the food supplies, they are the ones who hold the ticket to Ali Baba's new caves since the commodity is vaguely threatened, it is in any case no longer in evidence of an uninterrupted flow, and sometimes it lacks, in the fugitive, inconsequential form of a jar of cream, which awakens a more basic anxiety. The figures in the street acquire another form of presence, again vaguely disturbing (don't get too close), while some reveal their natures as self-proclaimed cops or lesson-givers - a minority since, on the whole, people follow the rules, without excesses or flaws. Friends

If the pandemic is revealing of our own existence, is it revealing of the world that surrounds us? The world around us is very often offered to us in the form of a small screen with news, a small object that tells us about the greatness of the world in this strange moment where the whole world shares the same thought, where half of humanity shares the experience of confinement. We listen to doctors and then we become doctors, epidemiologists, virologists, but also economists, politicians, universal specialists. The articles are truncated due to a lack of subscriptions: the start of inflamed editorials, definitive editorials: this virus is serious, it is not so serious, the number of deaths is frightening, it is nothing compared to tobacco, we must change the social hierarchy of professions, that traders are worth compared to nurses, supermarket cashiers and doctors, the next world arrives, no it doesn't arrive, nothing happens

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Fabrice HumbertCrisis leaflets" No. 53 - Gallimard, 20 April, 12:00 p.m.

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