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Marseille - The City Of Art

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

By Danielle Verna Dufour

My name is Danielle Verna Dufour. I live in France, near Marseille, a beautiful cosmopolitan city where the shutters slam under the mistral, where the verb stretches, laughing, in front of the stall of fishmongers in the Old Port, where the call of seagulls resounded, where life gradually resumes its course, forgetting about fears and confinement.

I live in France, but I am a citizen of the world. Every country where we suffer, where war wounds and kills; each country where freedom is gagged, each country where the knee of one man crushes the chest of another, each country where the woman is flouted, each country where a child is hungry, where it is cold, each country is mine. I recognize myself in the boat of these refugees lost at sea, in the frightened eyes of this tenant man, son of a dead child, in the desperation of the emigrant, in that of the homeless. I also recognize myself in the strength of Rosa Parks, in the words of Mandela, in the dream of Martin Luther King, in the raised fist of Tommie Smith and in the folded arms of August Landmesser, this June 13, 1936, in the Adolf Hitler's Germany. I cry in front of a little body, thrown back by the sea, abandoned on a beach. I cry before the devastated Amazon, the people sacrificed. I am afraid at the sight of stray bees, panicked birds, yellowed grass. Yet our planet is so beautiful. In front of this race for money, in front of this galloping liberal economy, throwing thousands on the street, forcing thousands of others to beg, a bitter fear invades me.

Nature challenges us. With this virus, the Covid 19, which came from who knows where - but it does not matter - we must take stock of our mistakes. What have we done to the earth? What have we done to our children? However, the leaves of the olive trees, sometimes green, sometimes golden, shine in the sun; the song of birds, even tenuous, is still there. Solidarity has been activated everywhere. A fraternity is emerging, stammering internationally, but real. Doctors from Cuba and elsewhere have joined the hospital teams. At the windows, on the balconies, the songs, the applause crossed borders. At home, the school and the libraries reopened their doors. The theaters, seriously affected by the crisis, present their next season with even more enthusiasm, more inventiveness because what would the world be without culture? Is there still time?

I am a journalist, one of the most beautiful jobs in the in the world, out of a desire to understand and to make people understand, out of a desire to share, out of a desire to learn. But I’m also a writer, a budding writer I must say, because my first book is still in the works, even though it has exceeded more than a quarter century. It's crazy how you can stay young in your head! I hardly start to think that it is time to speed up the writing. Correction, it will be the second. The first appeared in a magazine that we printed in high school. I was 15!