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Mimoun, fils de Harki (English translation)

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English translation

Mimoun, son of the Harki

Mimoun, he makes holes in cardboard boxes
Every morning he heads off to
The foul-smelling factory
Where everyone does nothing but cough
He’s not too sure where he comes from
All he knows is that he’s not French
He’d have liked to be all the same
But the guys just avoid him
So, he just stays planted there
Talking to the milling machine
Who tells him “Keep it moving son”
 
Mimoun, he’ll soon be forty
But he still lives at his mum’s
It’s because she’s been a bit unwell
Ever since she lost his father
And as he was the eldest son
He went off to work
At school he did pretty well
And would’ve liked to continue
It’s as if life sat itself down on him
Telling him “don’t you move
The good things aren’t for you”
 
Mimoun, he imagines that he’s already dead
It’s his way of escaping
And as he no longer really believes it
He says that one day he’s going to slit his wrists
Rather than leaving
To be a stranger somewhere else
Who frightens the housewife
And keeps the police busy
So he just stays planted there
Talking to the milling machine
Who tells him “Keep it moving son”
It’s as if life sat itself down on him
Telling him “don’t you move
The good things aren’t for you”
 
Submitted by Gavin on Thu, 09/11/2017 - 14:00
Last edited by Gavin on Fri, 10/11/2017 - 18:27
Author's comments:

The title refers to the Harki, volunteers who served in the French army during the Algerian war of independence.
Considered traitors in their homeland and hardly welcomed in France after the war they ended up as unwelcome immigrants struggling to gain recognition for their services.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harki

French

Mimoun, fils de Harki

See also
Comments
petit élève    Fri, 10/11/2017 - 17:22

The most depressing song the band has ever written, for all I know Teeth smile

son of the Harki -> maybe "a Harki" ?

Raconte des trucs à la fraiseuse -> I think "fraiseuse" is the machine itself (a milling machine).
The thought of him finding someone to talk to beside his ailing mother would be way too comforting Teeth smile

Gavin    Fri, 10/11/2017 - 19:19

Yes, could be "son of a Harki". Maybe that's better...I was thinking of them more as a group so it's like "son of the desert" or "son of the Vikings".

Ah I wondered whether it was the machine or a female operator of said machine. It's funny how machines that do a job are usually feminine - tondeuse, pelleteuse etc...
Regular smile

petit élève    Fri, 10/11/2017 - 18:46

I was thinking of them more as a group -> yes, makes sense. I hadn't seen it that way but that's probably better for the historical context.

Well some machines are masculine too. I couldn't really say why. Maybe it's like for cars, depending on the name of the generic device they relate to (machine / engin or something?)

Gavin    Mon, 13/11/2017 - 10:14

It's more tools or machines that are composed of a noun or verb plus - euse
like this one here:
Fraiser = To mill
Fraiseur/fraiseuse = milling machine operator
Fraiseuse = the machine itself.

...and this always seems to true I think. Unless there are some machines that end "eur"?

Just a little observation. Regular smile

petit élève    Mon, 13/11/2017 - 10:47

well you have things like marteau-piqueur, sécateur, décapeur, extracteur, motoculteur, tracteur, perforateur
Still that seems to be rather the exception than the rule.

Gavin    Mon, 13/11/2017 - 10:51

Ah yes - thought there had to be some exceptions - aren't there always? Regular smile

Gavin    Mon, 13/11/2017 - 10:58

There was an old sketch - possibly "Not the nine 'o'clock news" where the royal couple of Charles and Diana kept having exchanges on the line of:
- Where's the bottle opener?
- It's his day off.
- Where's the coat hanger?

etc...
Wink smile