is also Derrida's name, the name Shatila, the name of a place that like Moriah, then and today, is a brutal and explosive encounter between the three Abrahamic religions? What if this is indeed the name of the Abrahamic?
my birth, as one says, should have made closest to me: the Jew, the Arab" (66, n. 13) . Here, then, if he could, Derrida would tell his story—something h e may have done, or not, later on, on that day in which he remembered the name of II Signior ("Monsignior Mourning" as David Farell Krell recasts Cinders's "His Highness Mourning"),85 the day he recalled God and what he had read long ago in "mon compatriote" Augustine's Confessions ("Tiens, je me rappelle Dieu ce matin, Ie nom, une citation . . . "). Derrida would tell his story, then, if not his life, to himself perhaps. On this day, which has not yet, or perhaps already, come, Derrida would perhaps speak, and speak his non -avoidance, of the question (but what does it mean, not to avoid a question?). Derrida would say something, and yet, this does not mean that his story would speak—nor of what—for by the same token, "nothing in this narrative would start to speak of the thing itself." This story, Derrida's story, would not speak, not at least for as long as Derrida did not—not address, but, rather, fall, stop, or rest upon, as if by chance ("Mes chances") stumble upon and knock, "si je ne butais sur" (not contre, not simply "come up against") the fact that he cannot, that he has not been able to speak.86 And speak of what? Of that which should have been given to him. By what or whom? By what is called his birth. If Derrida was able to tell his story, then, and in order for that story to be able to speak, at least to start speaking of the thing itself (and it may never), it would have been necessary for "his birth"—what is said to be his birth—to give him something. What is called, was heißt, "his birth"? And what gives birth? What does birth give? What is called his birth would have had to, it would have been obligated to give him something, to give him that which should have been the closest. What one calls, speaks of or names "my birth" ("my birth, as one says") would have been under the obligation of giving Derrida the ability to write, perhaps in "chrétien latin français;' his Confessions, and that which was, or rather should have been, and therefore is (not) the closest to him, of giving him therefore what it/he does not have but comes or remains in the proximity, that also goes by the name of "religion;' the Abrahamic, the Christian, Derrida, the Jew, the Arab.87 And, "I am not even speaking of a Jewish-Arab psyche."88
85. David Farell Krell, The Purest of Bastards, 142.
86. On the word buter see Derrida's extended comments in "Lettres sur un aveugle: Punctum caecum" in Jacques Derrida and Safaa Fathy, Toumer les mots: Au bard d'un film 91 , n. 1.
87. The Arabic expression, quoted earlier i n the epigraph, also means "to learn (or, to remember) by heart." It is quoted in Jacques Derrida's "Che cos' e la poesia?" (Reprinted in Points, 290/F304). It can also be found in handwriting on a loose napkin in Box C.66 of the Derrida archive at the Critical Theory Library, University of California-Irvine. I cannot tell whether the Arabic handwriting is Derrida's. About Arabic, which is not quite reducible to—not entirely identical with—the language of Islam but is also that language, Derrida once spoke of how he came not to speak, not to speak it while remaining, one could say, proche, not too far: "Thus I was raised in a monolingual milieu—absolutely monolingual.