La Croix: You will host a time at the Vélodrome stadium before the mass presided over by Pope Francis, what will your message be?
Mehdi Djaadi: With Gad Elmaleh, we want to instill joy and humor. He comes from a family with a Jewish tradition, I come from a family with a Muslim tradition. We questioned and appropriated, each in our own way, Christianity. We want to express a message of unity between religions as brothers in humanity. My DNA is Muslim, but my soul is Christian and I live it very well.
I want to bear witness to this but also to urge us to tirelessly meet the other in their singularity, concretely by inviting each other, by not being afraid of what the other can do to us. say of God.
What does this visit of Pope Francis to Marseille for the Mediterranean Meetings represent for you?
M.D. : It’s very strong to have him in Marseille. I perceive this visit as a form of culmination of his pontificate. I have the impression that this is a strong signal and almost a summary of the last ten years where he has tirelessly traveled the world to promote peace and raise awareness of the migration issue since his first trip to Lampedusa.
At the heart of these issues, it is as if Marseille should be the laboratory of what we will perhaps experience in the coming years. Because migratory movements will continue, particularly with climate refugees. This is going to be the big question of the next ten years. In this context, how can Marseille be a beacon of hope?
On a personal level, Francis is the pope of my entry into full communion with the Catholic Church in 2013. He worked my heart with these two pillars of fraternity and ecology. It has guided my spiritual life.
How does the theme of the Mediterranean affect you personally?
M.D. : I am a child of the Mediterranean, coming from a family history with movements from both shores between France and Algeria. My father in particular came to France, still bearing the scars of colonization and the Algerian war to offer a better future to his children.
I see the Mediterranean as a bridge between cultures, between the East and the West. I give thanks to this Mediterranean which allowed my parents to settle in France, while keeping a culture that they transmitted to us. In their luggage, they only had a piece of their culture and a piece of their religion, that’s all. I was able to appropriate this culture and, at the same time, discover another.
The more believers in this Mediterranean region are engaged in dialogue, the more there will be spaces for meeting and appeasement at the heart of the political tensions that the Mediterranean is experiencing. Believers, and especially Christians, must be peacemakers; they have a role to play in a world where there is very little hope.