I have been working a bit for the Academy and "Prace Komisji Neofilologicznej". I struggle to finish an article in French, about the "topology of the Mediterranean": continuous and discontinuous properties of space between Maghreb and the European shore. This (dis)continuity had been a problem since late colonial times. Already in the opening sequences of Le Passé simple, the problem of duality of East and West, with which the young hero couldn't put up, had been in the limelight. The continuity had been claimed again in Civilisation, ma mère!..., and over and over again. I try to lead my analysis to Meddeb's Printemps de Tunis, where continuity of history, between Bastille and the fall of the Mauer and the Arab Spring had been deliberately accentuated. They are very Gallic, those Maghrebians, they strive to be.
On the other hand, what I personally believe is that the persistence of the French language and the illusion of participating in the French history is one of the multiple disgraces of the Arabs. In Amsterdam, I talked to a very clever young Egyptian, studying in Netherlands and interested in the digital dimension of the Arab revolution. I advised him to read Meddeb immediately. Yet obviously, he knew no French, and any of his readings was conditioned by the existence of an English translation. Or Arabic, and I hope it exists against all the Maghrebian claims of sticking up to French...
This is perhaps the most problematic discontinuity of the Mediterranean, but I'm not sure if I develop this point in the text for my Polish academy. We also stick up to French, and to the idea of civilization, of Civilisation, ma mère...