At les anciens établissements Fratacci B.B. Modi, it is our pleasure to wish you all the very best for this New Year, 2019. A new year that we hope will be full of good fortune and happiness in Djibouti and elsewhere in the world.
To mark the start of 2019, we would like to share with you a short animation, made specially for les anciens établissements Fratacci B.B. Modi: “The Sleeper in the Valley.” Through the medium of CGI, dramatic adaptation has been made of Arthur Rimbaud’s famous poem; this superlative work of nineteenth-century French poetry is dedicated to the French soldiers who fell on the battlefields.
Turning to another emblematic figure in Djibouti, we are also offering you the “Making-Of” of the legend of Lake Ghoubet, which you can download for free in PDF format, where Captain Cousteau shares top billing with a strange aquatic creature who lives in the “depths” of Ghoubet al-Kharab, a mythical spot that is truly Djiboutian!
The Sleeper in the Valley – Arthur Rimbaud.
Arthur Rimbaud, French poet, adventurer, and first and foremost, an emblematic figure in East Africa and especially in Djibouti, even if the cursed poet made longer stays in the neighbouring cities of Aden and Harar.
“The Sleeper in the Valley,” a powerful, lyrical, and solemn poem, has often been read and interpreted in much later times as an antimilitarist ode, yet this shows poor understanding of the rebel poet, engaged as a mercenary in the Dutch army and making great efforts, during his sojourn in the Horn of Africa, to sell arms to Negus Menelik II.
“The Sleeper in the Valley” is above all a powerful contemplative statement, a hymn to the life that has just been extinguished and to the death that has just come into being amidst idyllic, almost Elysian natural surroundings.
Les anciens établissements Fratacci B.B. Modi, known to most of the armed forces personnel who pass through Djibouti (and there are many of them!), dedicate this symbolic ode to all those who have fallen on the field of battle.
It is a green hollow where a stream gurgles,
Crazily catching silver rags of itself on the grasses;
Where the sun shines from the proud mountain:
It is a little valley bubbling over with light.
A young soldier, open-mouthed, bare-headed,
With the nape of his neck bathed in cool blue cresses,
Sleeps; he is stretched out on the grass, under the sky,
Pale on his green bed where the light falls like rain.
His feet in the yellow flags, he lies sleeping. Smiling as
A sick child might smile, he is having a nap:
Cradle him warmly, Nature: he is cold.
No odour makes his nostrils quiver;
He sleeps in the sun, his hand on his breast
At peace. There are two red holes in his right side.ARTHUR RIMBAUD
“The Sleeper in the Valley” Collected Poems (1962), translated by Oliver Bernard
“Larry” B. Modi, of les anciens établissements Fratacci, Djibouti dedicates this poem to all the French soldiers who have fallen on the field of battle.
The Legend of Lake Ghoubet
The monster of Ghoubet is a little like that of Loch Ness in Scotland, a myth long nourished by humanity’s natural fear of the submarine depths. The recent Hollywood blockbuster The Meg (or En Eaux Troubles [In Troubled Waters], as it was titled in France) was not a big hit. That may well be because the formula seems a little stale or because the dramatization was rather lacking in credibility.
A very Djiboutian urban legend has valiantly, and for decades, kept alive the legend of a “giant monster” living in the “depths” of Lake Ghoubet.
The author of Le Secret de la Mer Rouge [The Secret of the Red Sea](in the singular …) wished to offer us the “Making-Of” of his novel, where, via more than seventy illustrated pages, the true mystery of a rumour that has spread through the European circles of Djibouti, in particular, and has even had its followers on the other side of the Atlantic, has finally been pierced …
Click on the image above to access the download page of the “Making-Of” (only available in French) from the novel Le Secret de la Mer Rouge.