Who is speaking here this aft ernoon, ladies and gentlemen?1 Not, alas,
the little boy who, almost fi ft y- fi ve years ago, entered this very hall wide-
eyed to see and hear, year aft er year, Macbeth, Lorenzaccio, or Mother
Courage performed by Vilar and his comrades against the background of
trumpets and the mistral winds— even if, no doubt, that little boy still
accompanies me. But if you will permit me, today it will be a “dear pro-
fessor” who has strayed far from his offi ce and his classroom. And this is
why I would like to refer to this formulation that formerly served to des-
ignate one of our teachers.2
In June 2006, with many other writers, artists, and teachers, I signed
an appeal elaborated in agreement with the Groupe d’Information et de
Soutien des Immigrés and the Réseau Education Sans Frontières calling
on the government to stop the arrests of students without proper immi-
gration papers, who are sometimes sought out even at school in order to
be expelled from French territory.3 Th is appeal essentially consisted of a
long citation from Robert Antelme’s book Th e Human Race, published
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