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La collina delle vette gemelle. El-Alamein al-Alamain El’-Alamain al-Almin El-‘Alamên Tel-El-Alamein…: Un reportage


This text is comprised of twenty short prose segments that seek creatively to approach a historically overdetermined site, El Alamein, located about sixty-five miles from Alexandria, Egypt. What exactly do I mean by “approach”? I seek to grasp the sense of the physical reality of this desert site by the Mediterranean, and at the same time the multiplicity of stratified memories collected there as in a palimpsest. Rather than navigate the floods of ink spilled by historians, my text attempts to convey contemporary impressions of bygone days through the eyes of a visitor accompanied by a few of her friends. A visit to the monuments, and the events that may occur to anyone who sees these sites today with Egyptian drivers and guides, are also part of the picture. The text is meant to have a mobile structure, based on the technique of variation (most often employed in musical composition), so that the twenty segments may eventually assume for the reader a configuration different from the one momentarily assigned to them here. They try to tell the story of El Alamein as if El Alamein spoke for itself, through its sea and sand, and through the ghosts that still live in that strip of desert facing the Mediterranean. These are also prose pieces of “approach” in the sense that they try to get closer to the meaning of the story of those sites in the years of the Second World War, and to the meaning of going there in the summer of 2008. Therefore in a way they also constitute a kind of reportage.

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